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