Practice

Dear Fellow Iconographers:
Angel

Teaching Icon classes as I do in monasteries, churches and art centers, the question that always arises at the end of class:  How can I continue with Icon painting?  Practice is what I always say. For that reason, this month’s blog for the American Association of Iconographers is a collection of information and links to help with further studies.

Ideally, someone who is learning to write Icons will choose a style or a teacher which whom to study.  But even with that, one can only realistically take one or two workshops per year.  What to do in the meantime?  Here are my suggestions:

Practice

Using sketch paper and pencil, draw as much as possible.  Copy Icons from books, prints, or the internet.  Drawing is the number one art skill needed in Icon writing, as it is in all painting.  Learning to think on paper is a valuable skill.  A book that I recommend to beginners is: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.  You can copy Icons in some of her exercises and you will be surprised at how quickly your drawing will improve.

Raising of Lazarus Icon Sketch in Black and White Christine Hales
Raising of Lazarus Icon Sketch in Black and White.  Christine Hales

 

 

Simplified Palette
Simplified Palette

Use watercolor paper and the four basic color of Icon writing: red ochre, black, white and yellow ochre.  Make color and tonal studies of Icons on water color paper.  Again, this simple practice will yield large results.

 

 

John the Baptist watercolor sketch Christine Hales
John the Baptist watercolor sketch Christine Hales

 

Icon Retreats and Workshops

For those who choose to study with me, here is a link to upcoming classes.  My teaching method is always evolving and inspired by my prayer life.  I particularly enjoy helping students who have had some experience writing Icons and now want to create their own Icon (still copied from before the Renaissance).  If you do sign up for one of my classes and wish to do this, please email me well before the class date so that we can prepare you for getting the most out of the retreat.

Resources for viewing Iconographic Imagery

Kolomenskaya Versta is a site selling Icon books and materials. It is based in Russia and they regularly post free images to copy as well as links to all kinds of Iconographic information.  Also known as Russian Modern Orthodox Icon, here is a link to their FB page.

Online illuminated Manuscripts from  Open Culture.  Also, the Book of Kells on line.

A beautiful FB page with many good examples of Byzantine Icons- Byzantine Art

Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union Street, Clinton, Mass.  There is an exhibition of Prosopon Icons currently in addition to their permanent collection.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Nikita Andrei
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Nikita Andreiv

Resources for Icon Materials

Natural Pigments  They have pigments, red clay, gold leaf adhesives, brushes, etc..

Kremer Pigments has a shop in NYC but you can also order on linear an immense array of pigment choices and other materials like stand oil, linseed oil, etc.

Pandora- Pigment sets, Painting Tools, Porcelain Palette

Gold Leaf and Gilding Supplies

Sepp Leaf    www.seppleaf.com

Golden Leaf Products  www.goldenleafproducts.com

Gold Leaf Wholesalers  LA Gold

Icon Boards

Pandora Icon Boards, New York

St. John’s Workshop   Icon boards

 

Icon Painting Videos from You Tube

Villanova University– full process of painting an Icon.

Julia Brigit Hayes teaches online classes for drawing and painting Icons

Prosopon School of Iconology teaches workshops nationally. Another short video of their technique.

East X West online Icon Course with Sr. Petra offers many video tutorials and a thorough grounding in Iconographic history, drawing and painting.

That’s all for this month. Please let me know if this has helped you, and I wish you peace and  joy in spreading the beauty of Icons throughout the world!

Christine Hales

Icon Website 

Print Website

Fine Art Website

 

 

Community

Community

Feast Days of the Week Icon in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Feast Days of the Week Icon in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

 

In a community of Iconographers, people share their experience, knowledge and good ideas!  Iconography, like almost any worthwhile activity, benefits from cultivating a sense of community amongst practitioners, admirers, patrons, and students.

Apostles Peter and Paul Icon in the Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Apostles Peter and Paul Icon in the Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

 

We all love and participate in the larger community of Christ’s Church – worldwide.  Within this context, there is astonishing variety of practice and interpretation amongst Iconographers.  Some of this is culturally determined, and some of the variety comes from different approaches to the Traditions of the Church.

 

Tolerance is the buzz word of today.  Since Icon writers (painters) need to avoid egotism and reactionism in order to be authentic Iconographers, it naturally follows that the love of Christ extends to each person, regardless of their “style” of painting Icons.

The Miracle of Saints Florus and Laurus in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The Miracle of Saints Florus and Laurus in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Icon writers are humble servants who are able to keep their eyes on God’s purpose with sacred and Holy images, inviting creativity to partner with prayer to create images that inspire the viewer to a closer relationship with God.

 

Today, while there is a hint of interest in the renewal of sacred art, there is a need for education and training for sacred artists.  I think it would be useful to create a  place on the RESOURCE page on this blog, that lists credentialed degree programs of sacred art that will be helpful for future Iconographers. Please email me with suggestions or links that might be included.  In this way, we can work together to insure the future and quality of sacred art development.

 

SUMMER OF 2020

Archangel Michael Icon with Scenes from His Life
Archangel Michael Icon with Scenes from His Life

This summer my goal for my own Icon writing is to approach the drawing of Icons from a more creative place.   Reading Aidan Hart’s book “Beauty, Spirit, Matter,  Icons in the Modern World”, I found this quote from Paul Evdokimov “ …the icon painters’ community needs to rediscover the creative power of the ancient iconographers and find an exit from the static immobility of the “copyists” art.

 

I still love copying from the great master Iconographers, and so I am using them as my models, just as the secular artist uses nature as her model.  I am also studying from books like George Kordis’ “Icons as Communion” book the concept of rhythm, movement and dynamic flow in Byzantine Iconography. It’s not an easy task!!  But I am getting help from Sister Petra Clare’s tutoring in her online course for Iconographers.  She has created a closed Facebook Group where she posts exercise and examples, and we post our sketches and drawings for her comments.  So, it’s an online community and we are learning together- it’s a lot of good creative fun!  Her website is:  eastxwest Online Studies, and she might have room for one or two more students.

Icon Drawing by Christine Hales
Icon Drawing by Christine Hales

NEW Florida Icon Classes

 

This fall I will be teaching Introduction to Icon writing classes in two locations in Florida.

The first is September 26-28 at St. Patrick’s Church, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and the second is October 24-26 at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Bradenton, Florida. Please email me if you’d like me to save a space for you.

That’s all the news for June, 2019.

Christine Hales Icon Studio
Christine Hales Icon Studio

May God bless your Eyes, Mind, and hearts, and hands, that all that you say, do or think will be honorable and pleasing to Him!

 

Until next month,

 

Christine Hales

 

Icon Website

Fine Art Website

February Icon Resources

Hello Fellow Iconographers:img_5817

This month I would like to give you some  of my resources and links that have a lot of varied information about Icons and creating Icons. Some of these are repeats from last year, but thought you all might like to see them here in one place:

Materials/Pigments

Natural Pigments, Kremer Pigments, Daniel Smith, Guerra Paint and Pigment

These are some of my favorites, and if you’d like to leave a link in the comment section, I’m happy to add any others.

Icon Boards

Pandora, St. John’s Workshop, True Gesso Icon Panels

Icon Websites with Resources :

Versta-K Russia: Russian Modern Orthodox Icon Site: Lots of links and Russian Icon books for purchase

British Association of Iconographers

Icon Classes

Icon Master Class at Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY,    March 21-24, 2017          FB event 

Introduction to Icon Writing Classes: St. James Episcopal Church, Madison Ave, New York, NY  June 9-11

Prosopon School of Iconology

Article About Iconography

Also want to mention the article that came out in the National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 2016: “Iconography Classes Draw non Orthodox in Search of Spiritual Images”.  It is important because it draws attention to the current revival in Icon Writing classes as well as making the point that sacred images are of increasing importance to all denominations of Christianity.

“Experts say the growth in interest — and diversity of religions involved — has been building over the last couple of decades.”

“David Morgan, a religion scholar and art historian at Duke University, said the iconography tradition, which dates to the early centuries of Christianity, is designed to be distinct from more naturalistic art, which became more common in the Renaissance period.

The flatness of the image, its stillness, the large eyes of its figures and the often symmetrical style are all intentional ways of distinguishing between the ordinary world and a heavenly realm.

The two-dimensional image denies three-dimensional presence,” he said. “It says the spirit is not about three dimensions. It’s about a reality that is revealed in the image, revealed in the holy Scriptures, revealed in the sacrament, and it’s something that one needs to recognize as very special.”    There is more in the article and I have included the link above.

It is  hopeful and encouraging that many more people are experiencing the spiritual joys of Iconography. img_5944

I gave a talk this month at Church of the Redeemer, a beautiful Episcopal Church in Sarasota, Florida, that was well attended and the questions afterwards showed a lively interest and an awareness that Icons have the effect of strengthening our faith in many different ways.

I think that understanding our differences as Iconographers and agreeing on the important elements of Icon writing that we share are key to being part of a vibrant community.  Perhaps we can all include the community of Iconographers  in our prayers as we move forward in Faith as servants of God and His Church.

May God bless you all,

Christine

Icon website

Facebook Icon Page

 

 

 

 

Icon Writing as Quest

Dear Fellow Iconographers and Friends:

Last Chance for Introduction to Icon Writing Workshop at Holy Cross!

Mother’s Day weekend – May 6-8, at beautiful Holy Cross Monastery give yourself the gift of prayer and Icon writing!  A lot is packed into a weekend course that is designed for those who are too busy for a full 5 day retreat. You will learn how to paint using egg tempera and experience the prayerful serenity of the monastery.  Last chance to register: call the guesthouse at: 845-384-6660  ext. 3002

Here’s a short video Michael made of the Icon delivery:

So happy to have delivered the beautiful Icons to Graymoor Monastery for their Friary Chapel, exquisitely designed by award winning architect and sacred space planner, Richard S. Vosko.  Once in place, the simplicity of the Icon design worked wonderfully well with the overall design, fitting on each side of the alcove reserved for the altar. The icons are of Father Paul  Wattson, SA, and Mother Lurana White, SA, founders of Graymoor monastery in Garrison, NY.  Working on the two,  gessoed wood panels, eight feet by three feet each with gold leaf gilding, I experienced the spiritual challenge of praying, listening to God’s direction and understanding about these holy people.  As time went on, I came to listen only to Handel’s Messiah while working and to always start the painting day with Fr. Paul’s Daily Prayer:

“Lord God, You have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding.

Pour into our hearts such love for You, that we, loving You in and above all things, may obtain Your promises which exceed all that we can desire.”

In TH White’s book, “The Once and Future King” , King Arthur commissions the Knights of the Roundtable to create a new world order- “Good over might”. Perhaps an International community of Iconographers will rise up to do the same in our contemporary world developing Icons that speak to the issues of our day.

FullSizeRender
“The King” Acrylic Painting by Christine Hales c. 2016
Christ pantocrator
This is an Icon written by Christine Hales in 2010.

UPCOMING Events

Westminster Presbyterian Church Concert and Icon Exhibition  June 24

St. Luke’s Guild of Iconographers will exhibit our Icons during a concert with nationally known composer and pipe organist Alfred Fedak at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Albany, NY, on Friday, June 24.  Save the Date.

St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church Icon Exhibition Currently until June 1, I have ten Icons in an exhibition with Iconographer Ferris Cook at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Woodstock, NY.  Quite an interesting contemporary take on Icons- worth seeing on a Sunday or by Appt.

ADVANCED Icon Writing Class every Monday 6-9PM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Chestnut St. Entrance, Albany,NY. email to register: christine@newchristianicons.com

Prayers and Blessings, until next month,

Christine Hales

www.newchristianicons.com                    www.christinehales.com

www.kingdomartsministry.com

 

 

Intercessory Prayer and Painting

_MG_6742__Intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. One can pray for one’s family, friends, the poor, World Peace, for a nation, while painting or writing Icons. Stories of Brother Laurence praying in the Monastery kitchen while peeling potatoes show us a humble and dedicated way to focus our prayers while engaging in other activities. When we are able to do this, we begin to be able to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) as Paul exhorts us.  I always love the moments in Icon writing class when you can almost hear the prayers in the beautiful silence of students working on their icons._MG_6651__

 

Phillip Schwartz and I visited the Clark Museum in August- eager to see the new photo copy 3renovation.  It was the perfect day to see it -warm sunny expanses of green rolling hills met the shallow reflecting pools in front of the modern addition. From inside viewing the Ancient Ritual Vessels from the Shanghai Museum it was a great contrast of inside-outside, nature-interior modern spaces and old versus new.  Phillip and I are in the same “Artist Way” group, exploring the spiritual discipline of writing morning pages every day along with other exercises to help focus our creative practices.

I lead the first Healing Icon Retreat in Saratoga Springs on Sept 6&7, now another one is scheduled for October 25&26.  _MG_6516__We have a waiting list for a possible one in November, so email if you’re interested.  It was an amazing weekend. Held in the beautiful Saratoga Springs home of Catherine Lanci, we had twelve students who eagerly encountered icon writing for the first time. Egg tempera and gold leaf gilding were demonstrated and each person left with their own individual icon of Archangel Raphael. Catherine and her husband John are gourmet cooks and we had lunch and dinner in the garden. Couldn’t have been better!  _MG_6623___MG_6745__

 

 

 

 

Visit the website:www.iconwritingclasses.com for updated information on icon writing classes. The Arts Center in Troy will be the location of the next introduction to Icon Writing course, starting October 28 and will run for 5 Tuesday evenings, 6-9PM. Give them a call to sign up!_MG_6523__

Last winter I heard a talk sponsored by the Catholic Artist’s Society by David Clayton called “The Way of Beauty” It was a fascinating talk and I thought pertained particularly to classical artists and iconographers. He has now created an interesting online course that I’ve been asked to review.  I hope to have that for you by the next blog.

COMING UP: At the Christian Community Church gallery in Hillsdale starting September 27 I will have an exhibition of some of my favorite Icons and landscapes. I will be giving a talk soon and will email the date.

The Beauregard Fine Arts exhibition is still up – visit if you can.

Kindest regards

Christine

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