Exciting Pentecost Icon Dedication

Hello Fellow Iconographers and Friends:

Last Sunday, in Pentecost, the beautiful eight Icon panels for St. Vincent’s Church in Albany, NY, were unveiled and dedicated.  It was a glorious celebration as they were warmly and enthusiastically welcomed into St. Vincent’s Church! Father Richard Vosco reminded us that as we are looking at the Icons, they are looking back at us! This invitation to draw near to God is a striking quality of Icons._MG_3841

“Gradually the Icon will re-educate us, correcting any inclination we may have to think of God as harsh or distant (Psalm 103:8).  It will call to mind his loving kindness and infinite humility.  We should ask, like the monks and mystics of the East, that a ray of uncreated light-God’s transfiguring grace-may shine in the darkness of our hearts. Then a spring of compassion will rise up in us to flow out to all who are in need.”  The Glenstall Book of Icons, Gregory Collins, OSB

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Certainly the Saints depicted in the Icons speak to a life of compassion for the poor and downtrodden: Saint Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Dorothy Day, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kateri Tekakwitha, Pope John XXIII, Saint Francis, and Rose of Lima. It was an honor and a  privilege to work on the Icons for a church like Saint Vincent’s who’s motto is “radical hospitality” and unity.  The scale of the 48 x 36″ Icons fit perfectly in the arched alcove and worked with the placement of the altar in the center of the worship space to convey the feeling that we were worshipping with “the communion of saints”. Betsy Rowe-Manning, church administrator, created a beautiful sheer gold veil that was pulled down during the worship, allowing for a clear view of all the Icons for the first time. Breathtaking moment! I was blessed to have my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in attendance, along with Iconographer friends from the St. Luke’s Guild present. Special thanks to Thomas Nelson for his expert installation of the Icons!

This coming week – June1-5, I will be taking a course with Russian Iconographers from St. Petersburg, Philip and Olga Davydov, held at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC. They have a unique style and vision which is well informed since Philip learned Iconography from his father, a  Russian Orthodox priest.

Here are scontemporary_icon_of_holy_mandylion fresco_mural_mother_of_god_in_altar_apseome quotes from their website that give me the impression that theirs is an evolving genuine sacred art, working to create a contemporary visual language for today’s Iconography: Sacred Murals.com

“One can say that Philip and Olga typify a new generation in icon-painting in the sense that they relate to a new stage of its development.”

” they have developed their original style, while upholding strict canon rules and deep tradition. In the modern Orthodox art these qualities often do not blend. ”

saint_john_the_divine_fresco_in_altar_apse“Meanwhile, modern copies attain neither the depth of spirituality, nor the artistic quality of the ancient monuments. The period of replicas has been exhausted; nevertheless some iconographers persist in cloning old masterpieces.”

The “New generation icon painters proved to be more creative and free. Even though young artists were mastering traditional icon-painting technology, following the canons, and referring to the ancient samples, they nevertheless have quickly realized that copying, once useful at the time of studies, prevented them from creating a genuine sacred image. Based on a centuries-old tradition, it must express today’s faith and acquire a language of its own. ”

Don’t Forget the upcoming Introduction to Icon Writing Retreat on June 12-14 in Hillsdale, NY.  The total cost, including lunch,, snacks, and materials is $215.00. Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon schedule. We have a limited amount of lodging available from the Christian Community church so reserve now. Email:Christine@newchristianicons.com   72040c31c54a5fd74d8d44b2675e79ac

This month’s featured Iconographer is Veronica Royal, a fellow Iconographer I met in Washington DC.  She works primarily in acrylics and travels widely with her writer husband, Robert Royal while at the same time maintaining a popular weekly Icon writing workshop on Saturday mornings.

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Veronica is sponsoring Romanian Iconographer Daniel Necula, June 22-27. His Iconographic style incorporates both the Greek and the Russian styles. She agrees that teaching Iconography is a big responsibility and can only be done through prayer and incorporating all the Canons so that people can read the Icons correctly. That is especially important when creating prototypes for new Icons. Studying with Iconographers from Russia, Greece and Europe, is one way of maintaining an Iconographic practice that allows for creativity and honoring the traditions.  Her website is:  Royal Icon Studio in Annandale, VA.  Veronica is part of the worldwide Iconographic renaissance, maintaining a studio in the Washington DC area.ea3a3e4745f331ac96cef816fa641f90

 

 

Bless you all, please keep my work in prayer, as I do yours! One of Dorothy Day’s mottos was “Work and Pray”!  I second that!

Blessings,      Christine

 www.newchristianicons.com

 

 

New Beginnings

Hello Friends and Iconographers:

Celebrating the end of a long cold winter by starting new Icons! I’m hoping to get started on my Saint Brigit, one of the most remarkable Irish Saints of the fifth Century,  by the first of May.  Brigit saw God in nature and was said to have believed the dew, particularly in the month of May,photo was holy and cleansing.

I’ve finished a Christ”Not Made with Human Hands” Icon that will be in an exhibition of my landscapes at the Chatham Bookstore, opening May 8.

_MG_2146 (1)We’re hoping the eight large – 4’x3′ Icons for Saint Vincent dePaul’s Church in Albany will be installed on Pentecost, May 24 this year.  I will send out an invite when it is finalized.

 

FEATURED ICONOGRAPHER  

Each month in this blog, I hope to feature an Iconographer and his/her work, so that we can become familiar with the depth and breadth of Iconography as it is being practiced today. This month’s featured iconographer is Peter Pearson, the author of “A Brush With God: An Icon Workbook”.  I always love seeing his recent Icons- truly  beautiful expressions of his life in prayer and community.

 

vladimir doc 3From Peter:      “For the last 45 years, Byzantine icons have been a passion and driving force in my life. I love looking at them, studying them, praying with them, and painting them. Even now, after all this time, I’m pretty sure I’ve only scratched the surface. Rather than seeing icons as some lost and tragically frozen art form, I see them as a dynamically evolving part of the Christian witness through the ages. They have been a part of my contemplative practice, especially in the painting. That’s the place where I dissolve and there is only the brush stroke and the prayer. Through the icons I paint, the books I have written, and the classes I teach, I get to share this amazing adventure with others and I love it.joseph finished
As an iconographer who uses contemporary materials (acrylic paints), I am often challenged to defend my practice and that’s a bit exhausting. The witness of the centuries testifies to the fact that in every age, iconographers have used many different media to created these holy images. For me, as well as for many others, the point is prayer and not what the paint is made of. Like one of my teachers, Phil Zimmerman always says: “You can make a religion out of anything, including eggs.” I prefer not to and it’s working for me.” 

4 revised (2)For information on his workshops and full bio visit Peter ‘s website : peterpearsonicons.com.

Just a passing news note: My FB friend Dylan Hartley posted that he and Aidan Hart are in Rome visiting the Pope in honor of an Icon Aidan did for him.  Praise God!  I’m so excited for them!

And lastly, I’m offering a weekend Introduction to Icon Writing retreat :

INTRODUCTION TO ICON WRITING June 12-14
Dates: June 12-14 Christian Community, 10 Green River Lane, Hillsdale, NY 12529
We will be writing the Saint Michael Icon in the Russian/Byzantine tradition with egg tempera and gold leaf gilding. We will be painting Archangel Michael.   Weekend Retreat: Starting Friday night 6-9PM, Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 1-5PM Mid morning and mid afternoon break, lunch provided, It will be fast paced, with demonstrations and individual teaching instruction. Cost : $215.00 Includes meals and materials. To register email: Christine@newchristianicons.com, or chales@halesart.com.

“Those who have cleansed the eye of their soul and are capable of seeing beautiful things make the visible become a springboard for the contemplation of the spiritual”  Gregory of Nyssa

Blessings and love,

Christine

www.newchristianicons.com

www.christinehales.com

www.kingdomartsministry.com

 

January New Beginnings

Dear Fellow Iconographers:

Even through the freezing temperatures and snow storms, Icons are still being made in New York!  I’m about half way through the series of large Icons for Saint Vincent’s Catholic Church in Albany.  There are eight panels, 4’x3′ in egg tempera with gold leaf gilding, _MG_9706__ (2) _MG_9698__ (2) photoof Holy people- some of them like Dorothy Day, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Louise De Marillac, Pope John XXIII, and Kateri, have not often been portrayed  through Iconography. It’s exciting!  And exactly what I’m interested in -creating Icons for contemporary (within the last 150 years) Holy people who perhaps have not had Icons created of them yet.  Here are a few work-in progress photos: Saints Louise de Marillac, Rose of Lima and St. Francis drawing, and Pope John XXIII.

CURRENT AND UPCOMING  ICON WRITING CLASSES

Albany: Ongoing Advanced Iconography Workshop, meets weekly, Monday evenings 6- 9pm, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Albany, NY

Hillsdale:  Christian Community Church, Hillsdale, NY, Beginning Icon Writing Class, Thursday evenings 6-9pm

New York City: Saint James Episcopal Church, NYC, Introduction to Icon Writing Retreat, Fri-Sun, February 20-22.  

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Troy, New York, Arts Center of the Capital Region, Introduction to Icon Writing Wednesdays 2-5PM, Feb. 25-March 25

The Museum of Russian of Icons is having an exhibition of Ethiopian Icons from January 23 through April 18.  We hope to have a field trip sometime in March.

EthiopiaX14-smallRecommended book of this month: Danny Silk: Culture of Honor-Sustaining a Supernatural Environment.

Until next month, Blessings and prayers,

Christine

Christine Simoneau Hales

Icons

Paintings

Christmas and Joy!

Dear Fellow Iconographers and Friends:   photo copy 14

This is a time of year for all of us to truly participate in Christ’s Presence amongst us.  I am starting a new icon of the face of Christ (from a Byzantine model) to carry me through the Christmas season with prayer and thanksgiving to our savior.

The other icon I’ve started recently is that a of Saint Benedict, from a Fra Angelico model.  photo copy 13

In the weekly  icon class I teach in Albany, New York we have been reading Esther DeWaal’s book “Seeking God” as a way of incorporating a Spiritual rule within our fellowship and practice.   “..writing his rule with a community of laymen in mind, his very clear grasp of the principles underlying the commitment underlying the vows remains applicable and valuable to all who are trying to follow Christ.” We are studying this book and its possible applications to iconography.

Here is my Saint Benedict – about 3/4 finished.    The best part is the finishing!

My website about teaching Iconography has just been updated with a new materials page for those who want to take class and are curious about what materials are needed.  There are useful links for purchasing materials on the site.

Recently one of my spiritual mentors, Randy Clark blessed two of my icons at a conference in PA.  Here is the video that my husband, Mick, took of the moment.  Randy Clark is a non denominational Pastor and teacher with a world wide ministry of healing.  He was praying that God’s healing grace would bless people through the icons. One of my icons is on the cover of his wonderful teaching on Communion.

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One of my early teachers-Vladislav Andreyev has created a lovely instructional video on how to write an icon which I highly recommend.  Here is a link to a promotional video which shows some of the steps of icon writing and describes his dvd.

 

That’s all for this month.  Have a wonderful, Christ filled Christmas!  As always I look forward to your comments and iconography events.  If you email me with icon information I will try to post it in the next blog.

Blessings,
Christine Simoneau Hales

www.newchristianicons.com                  www.christinehales.com