Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Without Me You Can Do Nothing..."

The icon of the Theotokos which I started during the Dormition Fast last month was blessed after liturgy today.

This was the second icon I have painted and the experiences in painting each were vastly different from one to the other. In the structured classroom setting, I was able to learn a little about technique, the use and meaning of colors, I learned about some very famous icons, and in the meantime, class participants painted an icon. Painting that first icon was difficult for me in lots of ways.

Nearly a year later when I decided that I wanted to try again, I dropped a note to my priest to seek a little advice about how or whether to proceed. He encouraged me to try again, but reminded me that iconography is best learned one-on-one at the feet of a master (of which there are pitifully few in the Twin Cities), but that of course practicing the things I learned in the first class I took was important, too. So he suggested that until I take another class, I should go ahead and paint and practice if I was so inclined, remembering that "what makes one spiritual approach blessable is not so much the form, but the spirit. If you don't like the result, you burn it reverently and try again. If you do like the result, seek to have it blessed as an honest attempt."

So I was glad to receive a blessing and to have this icon blessed after liturgy today. The prayer which I prayed each time I sat down to work on the icon ("A Prayer at the Beginning of any Undertaking") begins this way: "Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of Your eternal Father, You have said with Your most pure lips: Without me you can do nothing..."

I learned while working on this second icon just how true these words are.

6 comments:

William Weedon said...

How beautifully written your Ikon is! May it ever bring you the joy of our Lord's enfleshment!

Michelle Melania said...

Wow. That is beautiful. I really like the beginning of that prayer as well. How humbling...

Philippa said...

Well done. Glory to God!

This is one of my favorite icons.

Thank you for sharing your process and prayer. That was helpful to me.

Mimi said...

Gorgeous, thanks be to God! And, thank you for sharing it.

DebD said...

-C that is lovely. What a blessing to use your talent thus.

Don said...

You did a beautiful job. The more icons I see, the more I appreciate all that goes into them.

Glory to God!