Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Writing an Icon - Take Two

Several weeks before the Dormition fast began, I decided that I was ready to give painting an icon a second try.

My friend, Phyl, has been of great help, encouragement - and patience! She is working on an icon of Christ the Bridegroom (a commission) and I am working on this icon of the Theotokos.

When I first decided on a subject for the icon, I looked around for about a week to find a prototype which would not be too difficult, one which I found to be beautiful, and one which would be of help to me (if it turns out!) as I grow in my own relationship to the Mother of God. I scoured books and the internet searching for just the right image, yet nothing seemed to be just what I was looking for.

One day while I had some down time at work (work is often a bit slow in the summer) I was continuing my search and finally took my eyes away from the computer screen long enough to look at the wall above my desk - and there was the perfect prototype: a simple yet elegant icon of the Theotokos, which I had hung there a long time ago.

I found this icon one day about 5 years ago, while I was helping BossPastor clean out some cupboards in his office. It was neatly nestled in a stack of books. I remember asking him, "What's she doing in here?" He said that he didn't know he even had it or where it came from. It was a little faded, but I lthought it was beautiful from the first moment I saw it, so right then I took the icon into my own office and hung it over my desk, where it has been for the past several years. It was right in front of my face all along (there's sort of a metaphor here, I think).

Anyway, Phyl and I worked a little on our icons last night, as DearHusband and the boys are out of town for a couple of days visiting his mom for their town festival, Watermelon Days. (It is easier to work when it's quiet here - but it seemed almost too quiet - distractingly quiet!) I still have alot of work to do on this icon, but I glimpsed the light at the end of the tunnel for the first time as I finished up last night.

Tonight I hope to lay a second coat of paint on Mary's garments and perhaps a first coat on the garments of the Savior. With any luck, I'll be able to begin the build up of color which adds depth and brightness to the fabric.

Pray for me!


Mimi said...

Oh my goodness, you are such an amazing icon writer. Congratulations.

DebD said...

That is looking quite lovely. I am in awe of someone who can create such a thing of beauty. I've taken one icon writing class, but am definitely not ready to go it alone. I look forward to seeing the finished project.

-C said...

Thank you both for your kind words. It's coming along, but I still have a long way to go.

I'm afraid, Mimi, that I am no iconographer...not even an icon writer - but maybe someday. I am simply the most nervous painter of icons there ever was (my friend Phyl would attest to this, I think!).

I'm not really going it alone in the true sense, Deb, nor am I ready, either. This is just practice. I'm trying to get a better handle on and keep in memory some of the things I learned in the class I took last year, so that I don't forget them before I take another class.

But I will try to remember to post a photo when it's all finished - if it turns out.


Michelle Melania said...

That is very beautiful. I would love to be able to do this, but I don't think I the patience or the skill :) Can't wait to see the finished icon!