One of the highlights of Easter school for me this year was the opportunity to try out icon painting in the Orthodox style. We had a lovely guest from Romania with us who had come to teach us about iconography. As part of the workshop programme she had planned a group project of a huge Anastasis – Resurrection Icon which we did in panels layer by layer. We were using egg tempera the traditional pain used for icons, pure pigments in an egg medium which produces an amazingly opaque and glossy paint. Working from the darkest bottom layer you gradually add light and shading, and as if by some miraculous process ( some would say it is..) the icon comes to light and life! It really doesn’t seem that you would be able to “cover” the darkest shades with light ochre and other pale colours – but it works! You can see some wonderful pictures of the process here taken by one of the STETS staff.
IN addition some of us were able to paint our own individual icons during any spare moments we had in the week. Carmen was wonderfully helpful, often at times when she could have been out of the makeshift studio ( aka a classroom!) and doing something different.
Doing smaller individual icons was amazing – we got to experience all the stages in the process, which we didn’t as part of the group project, and also it was a very intense experience personally. I loved it, and I’d love to have another go sometime – I feel like I learnt a lot of ” how not to do it” !
anyway – here’s my icon, a Hodegetria ( Gk=She who shows the way) Theotokos and Christ. In this style of icon Mary is pointing to Jesus as the source of salvation. He often is holding a gospel or scroll of some sort too. ( you can see the corner of that in his left hand)
now it’s home the next job is to mount it on a wood block or find a suitable frame, I quite like the block idea as properly icons are painted on woodpanels not paper or canvas – this is hand made paper.