Iconography: Something Completely Different

Some of you might be wondering why you haven’t seen me on the causeway this week. Well, dismal weather aside, I have been attending an intensive iconography workshop at the All Saints of Alaska Orthodox Church, and I will be away from the Harbour until Monday, May 18th because of it. (My wife, weather permitting, will set up our booth this weekend as well as on Friday afternoon.)

Prague #1As many of you are aware, I grew up behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ in what was then Czechoslovakia, during a time when religious expression was actively suppressed. My family– like most others– did not openly adhere to any religious rites  or make any public displays of faith. Mass was completely foreign to me. However, we lived in Prague of all places, a city which boasts some of the most impressive churches, synagogues, and cathedrals in the world. Of course I became enamoured with them and found myself incredibly drawn to religious art, architecture, and especially religious icons.

Prague #2My lifelong fascination with places of worship is already evident in many of my paintings; entire series of my artwork feature churches and cathedrals, and I also have multiple sketches of synagogues, mosques, and temples waiting to become paintings at some point in the future. This iconography workshop, however, allows me to explore the area of religious art from an entirely different perspective.

This is the second iconography workshop I have taken at the church with instructor, Heather McKean. In my first workshop, I created an icon of Jesus:

This is a picture of my finished icon last November

This is a picture of my finished icon last November

In this latest workshop, I am attempting an icon of John the Baptist:

As you can see, I still have a number of layers to go before I can complete this icon! Traditional icons in the Russian style are painted by adding many layers of lighter, nearly translucent pigments to a base of shadow and darker pigments.

As you can see, I still have a number of layers to go before I can complete this icon! Traditional icons in the Russian style are painted by adding many layers of lighter, nearly translucent pigments to a base of shadow and darker pigments.

The process of painting an icon is very different from my usual painting techniques; we use different materials (egg tempera paints and pigments, gold leaf, etc.) and a very different method of layering the colours to achieve the overall effect. I am thankful to be afforded this incredible learning opportunity, especially given that I am not a practicing Orthodox Christian, and I hope to see everyone again soon down by the water!

–Marty

Advertisements

~ by martycultural on May 13, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: