Meditation and Contemplation

Dear Fellow Iconographers:

How do we meditate and contemplate God through the Icons?  A good question now that at least more than half the world I live in here in upstate New York associates the word “meditation” with Eastern philosophy.

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But Icons have a long history of being used in contemplation and meditation, and we specialize in bringing the valuable truths of the past into our present time.  Mystical Eastern spirituality has as its aim for the Icons “to open the heart in contemplative prayer to the transforming vision of God’s Glory.” The Glenstal Book of Icons.

Carl Jung wrote extensively on the power of symbols on our unconscious minds.  Symbolic imagery in Icons helps to bypass our intellect and send a message straight to our hearts. For example, I can’t see an image of Mary and the Christ child without immediately identifying with the the Christ Child, and sensing what it was like to be mothered by the gentle, sweet Mary, or identifying with Mary and deeply experiencing what it was like to hold Christ in her arms and nurture him so that he could flourish.  Whenever I see that image I think of my newest painting or Icon and ask in prayer, how can I be Mary to my painting? How can I be the Christ child in Mary’s arms to my art work?  Each time, in contemplation and meditation new facets and ideas come as a result. Ideas I would not have had otherwise.Top Met Paintings Before 1860 04 Duccio di Buoninsegna Madonna and Child

“Through the symbolism of the icons, access is gained to the absolute otherness of God in the silent union of mystical prayer: one goes through the sense of sight to the one who is beyond all vision. The meditative work demanded in absorbing the imagery of the icons is essential if  prayer is to reach such a state beyond ideas, images, and acts- beyond the work of the head.  Only thus can the prayer we make with the body and the mind become a real “heart work”, a deep transforming union with God in love. The mystical traditions of Christianity, East and West, all teach that such prayer is the only source of inner peace and stability.  It is the pearl of great price, the treasure hidden in the field, of which the Gospel speaks. Matthew 13:44-46″  The Glenstal Book of Icons, Gregory Collins, OSB    IMG_1580

The Saint Luke’s Guild of Iconography will be sharing our newest Icons with outreaches to the community this spring and early summer. We will try to share the stories of each saint in our Icons as well as have dialogue with the public about prayer and meditation with the Icons.  The first two venues are planned to be: Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany, 1st Presbyterian church in Hudson. We plan to create a traveling exhibition so if your church would like to host one, and perhaps hear a lecture on Icons, let me know.  “Never forget the joy of spreading Icons throughout the world”!

RECOMMENDED SOURCE FOR ICON MATERIALS:

Natural Pigments  is an excellent source of tempera materials, gold leaf, anything you need to make Icons- they probably have.  They also have a section called “articles” another page on their website that is full of useful materials information.

UPCOMNG ICON WRITING CLASSES:

Albany, New York Westminster Presbyterian Church, Chestnut St., Monday evenings 6-9PM. Class size is limited-email to ensure space.

Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY  May 6-8 Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon, Introduction to Icon Writing.

Here is a video that my husband, Michael who most of you know, made recently about art and the Creator.. Hope you enjoy it!

Until next month, be blessed!

Christine

ADVENT

Hello Fellow Iconographers:maryChrist.small

Yesterday was the lighting of the first candle of Advent. Hope! And today the President is in France and Pope Francis is returning from Africa. So many things to pray about in addition to our more intimate family and friends as well as for our own intentions.  You can see why life as an Iconographer is always a full one!  Praying and painting, painting and praying.

The Albany Advanced Icon Writing Class will be focusing on drawing in the New Year. Beginning February 8, there will be some new suggested readings as well as exercises and teachings to deepen the understanding of how prayer and drawing of the Icon work together.  We will use the Egon Sendler book “The Icon, Image of the Invisible” for 2016, exploring the chapters on inverse perspective and geometric structures with an understanding of how these relate to contemporary Icons.takeoffJPG

The three worlds of theology, art making, and science come together in the creation of an Icon to give it it’s transcendent quality. These three spheres of creativity open up the viewer to a new way of seeing things, through faith and contemplation. Understanding  the role these elements play in the creation of an Icon is increased through prayer, fasting, and practice.kahndetail

Many of the Icon students in the Albany class are deeply involved in faith communities and social justice. It is an ecumenical group with Methodist Ministers, Episcopalians, Independent Catholic priests, and regular Holy folk who are able through love and fellowship to discuss a variety of theological and social justice issues in a mutually supportive way.

Some of us are reading Walter Wink’s “The Powers That Be“, Theology for a New Millennium. Wink talks about how Jesus broke the spiral of violence through His death and resurrection and showed us a new way of living through non-violence. “Nonviolence leads not just to a new politics and a new society, however;it also involves the very personal task of forgiving our enemies.” Paraphrasing, Wink states that Jesus’ teachings of non violence and love of enemies will hold a central place in the re-forming of American culture. “Not because they are more true than any others, but because they are crucial in the struggle to overcome domination without creating new forms of domination.”burnignbush.web

Back to Egon Sendler’s reminders that the creation of an Icon is threefold- theology, art, and science.  How to create an Icon that functions with the power and faith that Icons did in the Byzantine era?  Pray for us! God will help us, because our century needs them too!

Here is a link to Natural Pigments – a good source for Iconography supplies of all kinds. This link is actually to a page that George O’Hanlon produces which has excellent technical information on painting practices.

UPCOMING CLASSES:  Holy Cross Monastery, May6,7&8 Introduction To Icon Writing

Arts Center of the Capital Region March 3-31, Thursday Evenings 6-9PM

 

May God bless you and keep you save and in His Love all through the Christmas season!

 

Christine

www.christinehales.com

www.newchristianicons.com

www.kingdomartsministry.com

Travels to the UK and Italy

Hello Fellow Iconographers:photo 1

The Beginning of September was the start of our trip to the UK for a family wedding in Leeds, but we were able to make a detour to Shropshire and interview Aidan Hart, Iconographer and author of the book we use in Icon writing class: “Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting”,  for Yale University Radio.

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I was so happy that Aidan could make time for us, and upon leaving he said that he had just completed a large Icon for a church in Leeds! We were in Leeds at Michael’s sister’s home about 15 minutes when we realized that church was a fifteen minute walk- so off we all went. The icons were beautiful, and Father Michael of St. Urban’s invited us to come the following morning to his other church, also in Leeds,  to see another Aidan Hart Icon. Once there, we were amazed to see the 16′ fresco of the Transfiguration that Aidan had recently completed – in ten days according to Fr. Michael. It is the largest commissioned fresco since the Reformation, he told us.

Here’s the interview:    photophoto 2

 

Our next travels took us to Venice to see the Biennale and the wonders of the Byzantine Cathedral of San Marco.  I’ll be giving a gallery talk this Saturday, Sept 26, 6-8pm at the McDaris Gallery on Warren St. Hudson that will touch on the Biennale and Byzantine art.  (You’re all welcome to attend!).

 

From Venice, we got to Rome, where we stayed at a convent within walking distance of the Vatican-our destination! God blessed me with achieving my heart’s desire to give Pope _MG_0831 (1)Francis the portrait I had done of him! At breakfast, the nun suggested that I might give my portrait of the Pope to him if the guards would help me. By God’s grace, we met a friendly Italian music composer at breakfast who offered to walk with us to the Vatican. after Mass, he began asking the guards around the Vatican if I could give my portrait to the Pope. He pleaded eloquently, in Italian, to seven sets of guards! Finally I was able to write a note to accompany my gift and the last guard _MG_0218 (1)promised that he would personally deliver it to the Pope the next morning! I was the happiest I could be! We had such a wonderful trip but that was the highlight for me. Seeing the Sistine Chapel again and the architecture in St. Peter’s Basilica, too, impressed me with a sense of excellence that can only be experienced in that place.photo 2photo 3

So, back to earth, the Albany advanced Icon writing class has changed venue and is now held on Monday nights 6-9PM at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 262 State St., Albany, NY.

Also coming up is the Introduction to Icon Writing Retreat at St. James Church on Madison Ave, in NYC, Oct 16-18. Registration is still open, email Grace Beecham at: GBeacham@stjames.org to register.

A Few Notes of Interest:photo 3

Stephan Rene will be lecturing at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts on Coptic Iconography.

British Association of Iconographers will have its annual members exhibition October 14-16 at St. Saviour’s Church, St. George’s Square, London.

Until next month, be blessed,

+ Christine

“”A full reward will be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:12

www.newchristianicons.com

Saint Luke’s Guild of Iconography

Hello Fellow Iconographers:

Such a beautiful summer.  God’s creation is never so felt and experienced as in the beautiful summer months and upstate NY has been in a sweet weather pattern for most of august with beautiful sunny warm days.

Our Saint Luke’s Gild is comprised of eight students, several of whom have studied Icon writing with for several years. The emphasis that I bring to the sacred art of Icon writing is that of color theory, fine art , and sacred geometry principles in composition.  The work of the guild members is unique and interesting, bringing both the spiritual qualities of prayer and sacred reading in an integrated approach to the creation of an icon with good fine art principles as well. _MG_3831

The Guild has a Facebook page: We are an ecumenical community of artists and artisans who are committed to making art that is reflective of a deep Spirituality and Faith in God. We do this primarily through the practice of writing Christian icons and studying the historical background and hymnody, and lectio divina relationships within the visual imagery of iconography. We believe in the didactic value of icons and engage with prayer as part of our painting practice and have exhibitions of our work in order to engage our community with God’s presence and action of His Holy Spirit at work in our Icons.

This month I wanted to mention one of the guild members: Jennifer Richard-Morrow, who is a fine artist, specializing in pastels, oils and icons. She is a long time member of Saint Vincent’s Church in Albany where she serves as a member of the funeral ministry, helping with the funeral services, particularly with elderly people who have no relatives or few friends left.pastels 023

Jennifer has also had a lifelong interest in local New York history and has worked as an historical interpreter for the State at upstate Historic Houses and museums. She is currently on staff at Thomas Cole House in Catskill. Her Icon of Kateri Tekakwitha is one of the most historically accurate ones in existence today.

Richard-Marrow_fnl_downsizedJennifer and the other Iconographers and members of the Guild live a life of prayer and service to their local churches and  communities.

On September 14, we will be moving the location of our Icon writing class to Westminster Presbyterian Church on State Street in Albany, NY. We meet on Monday evenings and it is recommended that interested people take an introduction to Icon Writing class with Christine before starting the Monday evening class.

UPCOMING INTRODUCTION TO ICON WRITING CLASSES

St. James Episcopal Church   Fri evening, 6:00 – 9PM, Saturday, 9-5PM -Sunday, 1:30-5:00PM  October 16-18th  Cost $215 includes materials and lunch Saturday.  Email Grace Beecham to register: gbeecham@stjames.org or christine@newchristianicons.com._MG_3841

INTERESTING ARTICLE ABOUT GREEK ICONOGRAPHY

The following excerpt is taken from The Orthodox Arts Journal blog, and I include this because internationally many of us Iconographers have a similar approach – that of bringing forward the good from the past, but not slavishly copying. The task of creating a fully authentic 21st Century Icon is before us.

“Kontoglou and the rest of the 30’s generation where not turning to the past out of conservativism, but as a step to redefine the path of Greek art.

He was interested in reviving the orthodox aesthetic that had been heavily compromised by Western naturalistic ways of expression. In this aspect he was a real revolutionary; he managed to overturn the established church painting norms of the time (which was heavily influenced by the so-called ‘Munich painters’) by letting in, a “strong breeze from the east”. It was much later in his career, I believe, that his teachings were over-systematized. This led many of his followers to a stagnant and uninspiring way of painting icons based on mere copying with lack of artistic personality.”

Another Greek Iconographer in this article is Spyros Papaloukas who has another interesting approach to the creation of an authentic contemporary Icon, and here again, I quote from the blog :

Spyros Papaloukas saw in Byzantine art elements that were critical to the modern art movement and in many cases realized that solutions to artistic problems posed by his contemporaries were to be found in Byzantium. In several cases these gave him the answers to formal problems that were vital to painters of his time. Flatness and the adherence to the two-dimensional character of a painting, the possibility of the coexistence of multiple view points, the vital part that color played as an expressive and not merely descriptive element – all these were characteristics that modern painting shared with Byzantine art. This has been noticed even by modern painters whose art had no obvious religious focus such as Malevich and the other Russian avant-gardes, or like Henri Matisse. Matisse made a statement very much in accordance to Papaloukas, about 20 years later, in 1947, when he confronted for the first time Byzantine icons on his trip to Russia: “It was before the icons in Moscow, that this art touched me and I understood Byzantine painting. You surrender yourself that much better when you see your efforts confirmed by such an ancient tradition. It helps you jump the ditch.”  You can read the entire blog and see the color illustrations here.

These ideas and issues help us here in America to join with our international counterparts in thinking and praying our way to what God is asking us to do with His Icons today.  st lukeprint

Thank you all for reading, and we ask your prayers for us in this work.

Many blessings,
Christine Simoneau Hales

www.newchristianicons.com

www.christinehales.com

Principles of Iconography: Sacred Geometry

Dear Fellow Iconographers:

This month I want to focus on one of the important (to me) principles of Iconography: Sacred Geometry.  I think that as Iconography evolves into a twenty-first century authentic expression of spirituality for our time, one of the principles and traditions that is important to bring forward is that of incorporating principles of sacred geometry in our composition and colors.

What is Sacred Geometry?  

It has its roots in the study of the mathematical principles in nature, i.e. the hexagonal cells created by honeybees, the chambered nautilus, are just a few examples. This reflects the belief that God created the universe according to a geometric plan. Geometric rations are often used in architecture as can be evidenced in the works of Leonardo DaVinci, and Michelangelo.  It’s interesting that back in 500BC, Pythagoras discovered that an oscillating string stopped halfway along its length produces an octave relative to the string’s length, while a ratio of 2:3 produces a perfect fifth and 3:4 produces a perfect fourth. The belief was that using these harmonic rations gave music and art powers of healing that could harmonize the person experiencing them.christinglory

How does this  manifest in Icon writing?  

Composition, figure placement, relative scape and body proportions all benefit by having the principles of sacred geometry as the underlying structure. In a simple portrait Icon, the triangle is the basic geometric compositional structure. It produces a feeling of centeredness, grounding and balance. In order to avoid a static appearance, the face is usually a 3/4 view, or slightly turned.

George Kordis, in his book “Icon As Communion “ addresses the issue of stations and gives excellent examples of how to additional incorporate directional flow outwards toward the viewer. George Kordis also speaks of how a composition is purified and refined when the compositional elements are arranged symmetrically around the vertical axis, and this can produce dynamic balance. There is a sense of unity and energy that radiates out towards the viewer when these compositional elements are observed.BaptismofJesus18

I think one of the very best sources for clarification of sacred geometry in the Icon is Egon Sendler’s “The Icon, Images the Invisible”.  He provides an analysis of many classic Icons as examples of geometric structures for composition and explains how to use right angles to obtain the four points of a square as well as explaining the cross, grid and circle compositions of festal Icons.

The two images above: Christ in Glory and Baptism of Jesus were both written in egg tempera by myself and are based on sacred geometry principles handed down through the centuries.  You can see clearly the vertical axis in the Baptism Icon as well as the slightly turned faces.  The symbol center top is that of God the Father, the radiating gold rays symbolize the Holy Spirit, so that, symbolically, the vertical axis is the Unity of the Trinity.

I hope this provides material for thought and helps to create understanding as a community of Iconographers, of what principles are and are not important to retain in our work. To each his own, and I look forward to hearing your comments.

Blessings and prayers,

Christine

www.newchristiancicons.com

www.christinehales.com

www.kingdomartsministry.com

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

 

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

PS Don’t forget to sign up to receive this blog for free.

 

 

 

 

 

August News

Greetings Fellow Iconographers:   1932216_686372508136394_3658146590349146209_n

August has been filled with amazing weather, good friends and lots of house repairs!  Storm damage added to the list so it’s been challenging keeping to the teaching and painting schedule that is my regular studio practice but it’s been working out – with a little help from my friends.

Here are some Icon Classes that are ongoing or coming up that I am teaching – all egg tempera:   Here’s a photo of last Saturday’s class in Philmont

photo copy 12

  • Monday evenings 6-9pm Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Albany, NY next class is Sept. 1 . We will celebrate  Labor Day – anyone know of an appropriate patron saint of Labor Day 🙂 ?  The class meets every Monday night in September and October, except October 20.
  • Thursday evenings 6-9PM  Cathedral of all Saints, Albany, NY meets August14, 21, Sept 4,11,18,25 and Oct. 2
  • Icon Healing Retreat, Saratoga, Sept 5&6 Fully subscribed  October 25 &26 some openings  available. Email  Catherine Lanci for a brochure and application: nurselanci@hotmail.com
  • Tuesday Evenings 6-9pm , Introduction to Icon Writing -5 weeks, Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY.

rumson7

A photo from the opening reception for my landscape paintings  at Beauregard Fine Arts was fun and well attended- contact Kathy Donnelly for purchase information on the paintings.

WHERE DO THE ICONS GO?

Some of my students have their icons go to some very lovely people and places- here are some examples: Dahlia Herring’s Theotokos-Hodigitria is at St. Francis Catholic Church, Albany and her Teresa of Jesus Icon is at the Mount Carmel Convent in Maryland.  Michael Shirk’s Holy Father Augustine Icon is with the Augustinians of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Philadelphia, PA and Jennifer Richard-Morrow’s Elouisa Madonna is in a private collection.

Michael Shirk, one of the Albany Icon students is a gifted musician and also editor. He has created an English Book of Votives and several other prayer books that are available on Rene Villate Press.

I leave you with a quote from a painting I am working on this next week. It is from the book of Joshua 1:7  “Be strong and very courageous.  Obey all the laws Moses gave you.  Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything that you do.”       May God bless you and the World with His peace and love.

Christine Hales

www.newchristianicons.com       www.kingdomartsministry.com

www.christinehales.com      British Association of Iconographers

 

April is Holy Fool Month!

According to Mathew Woodley, who wrote “Holy Fools” , the main qualification of a Holy Fool is following Jesus with reckless abandon.  “Only a fool would attempt to change the world with a simple message of love and peace…” St. John Chrysostom.

photo copy 15 Saint Anthony’s ability to apply spiritual discipline was so extreme as to manifest in  victory even over the demons!  He demonstrated that , according to poet Kathleen Norris, asceticism is “a radical way of knowing who, what, and where you are in defiance of those powerful forces in society…that aim to make us forget..”.   (Holy Fools, Woodley).  I think that icon writing, as a form of spiritual discipline, helps us on that path of spiritual discernment and asceticism, a confidence in who we are in Christ, that brings us closer to “a heart overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.”

The Icon Talk at Saint Gregory’s Episcopal Church was well received and the exhibition is a lovely collection of 32 beautiful icons, different stylistically, but all radiating the same holiness and beauty.  Worth seeing if you can get to Woodstock on a Sunday morning.

Coming up in Woodstock:  WAAM  April 26, 4PM.  “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”  I’ll give a talk connecting Icons with Matisse, Chagall, Kandinsky and the Blue Rider School and speculate on how that plays out in the New Renaissance in Iconography today. Free and open to all.

Woodstock Icon Writing Class:  Mondays, 1-4 PM Beginning June 2; See my website for more details on Icon Writing Classes

 

This Saturday is the opening Reception for this faces exhibition I curated and partnered with Columbia County Arts Council and Columbia County Chamber of Commerce to present some great art and we will hear from some talented writers who will share their readings on April 12, too. Free and part of Hudson’ below 3rd Dine Arts Celebration – Come and See!

Faces announcement low res 72dpi

 

Here is the most recent video with Sister Vassa:  All Iconography students will gain important information – a must see!    It is well done and humorous.

Coffee with Sister Vassa Ep 24, ( Week 5 of Lent)

 

Here is a link to a beautiful art/faces video.    Really a treat to watch!   stlukeweb

I’m unveiling my newest, favorite icon at the opening reception and it shall remain a mystery until this Saturday!  I’ll include it next month for those who can’t make the Hudson show.  This one of Saint Luke is also a recent one.

The Vatican is apparently digitizing 41 million pages of  ancient manuscripts: click here for more information on that one.

NEWSWORTHY

Art News article in the April, 2014,  issue: “Icons on the Barricades” by Konstantin Akinsha refers specifically to Kyiv anti government clashes where artists created various forms of interactive art to participate in the protest.  Interesting that they would use the word “Icon” in the title, but they were referring more to contemporary artists. However, there have been Orthodox priests carrying icons on the battle front too.  Food for thought.

One last note:  David Clayton’s Blog :The Way of Beauty” has an interesting post on naturalism in sacred art.  Worth reading to clarify that important issue.

photo copy 13

Blessings and prayers to you all. Please keep our School of Iconography and Saint Luke’s Guild of Iconographers in your prayers as you are in ours!

Prayerfully,

Christine Simoneau Hales

www.iconwritingclasses.com

www.christinehales.com

www.newchristianicons.com