Archangel Michael – Proplasmos

Oh-ok. Here is the next stage, once you've got the drawing right. I'm assuming that you have a properly prepared board with no pin-holes, sanded satiny smooth (that takes a few hours. Why do people think icon painting is quiet and non-energetic? Answer: they've never prepared a board). This shows the plain colours that form the underpinning of the painting - you can see all the colours here and you can also see that the ochre I've used on the face is a bit dry and lumpy. I 'sanded' it back with the sharp edge of a block of wood to knock of the high spots and then fixed it with two glazes of … [Read more...]

The Archangel Michael

well here's a brief taster: the pencil drawing that the icon of the Archangel Michael developd from. I think it would be quite cool to put up a picture each day, showing how the process develops and changes. It's still changing although today has been a bit dull - washing, dishes, shopping, feeling /really/ drowsy and not getting myself together beyond making a few phonecalls and catching up with people. Anyway, here's the drawing. Once I've posted them all here, I'll put them up on my new Facebook page. Yup, suckered into that one too... oh and I'll rotate the next image so you don't get a … [Read more...]

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

[Read more...]

Sketching and praying

Well, nearly Holy Week, the Feast of Feasts and I got my regular virus! It seems like almost every year I pick up some long-lasting lurgy and this year is no different. It's so boring I won't even bore you with it. However, being confined to the sofa/bed has one advantage: I was able to get some serious drawing and redrawing and re-redrawing done, so that I can make progress on the icon of Saint Alexandra for my god-daughter, Sasha. I will do an entry about the saint and her life later, but while I'm still vertical today (two naps and counting) I thought I'd put up the fairly finished sketch, … [Read more...]

Koya Moments – Edinburgh at its most breathtaking

I make no apology whatsoever for adding this short time-lapse film by Ewen Meldrum, which is the product of great labour and dedication. Honestly, it explains why I don't feel the need to move anywhere, since I already live in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, if not the world. OK, we all know it has its grubby moments but you need to take the long view, like Mr Meldrum has done. Well done that man, someone give him a medal!![youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNXaQFP5amE] … [Read more...]

Caspar David Friedrich – Moonwatching

I hope you enjoy this - CDF is one of my favourite German painters, his paintings full of mystery, religious symbolism, atmosphere and unexplained narrative. Why are this man and woman out at night? Where have they been and why are they standing still, for this second, to gaze at the moon? I love making up their story and imagining lives I'll never know any more about than this one moment. … [Read more...]

The Lamp of the Soul

Here are two icons that I saw in Greece about seven years ago (yikes) and which in different ways I think are wonderful. The first, a fresco from the now deserted city of Mystras, shows Christ holding the Gospel in his left hand and blessing with the other. Although there is a lot of damage to the surface of the paint, the balance of blues, composition of the figure and other features as well as calm, serene expression still visible on the face mean you can see 'past' the missing pieces. The second is very new - I have not been able to find out yet who made it but it can be seen in the … [Read more...]

p.s.

I should add that the previous photo is even fuzzier than the icon itself, so it looks a bit out of focus. No idea why that should happen, but here's a slightly different image which is also slightly clearer. Weird, huh? … [Read more...]

Saint Luke – a new icon

Here, for your viewing, is my latest icon. My second, in fact. The icon is on an inch-thick panel of tulip wood, traditionally gessoed over linen, water gilded (badly) and then painted with egg tempera, using earth and semi-precious stone pigments, e.g. lapis lazuli. The scrolls show the first verses from the Evangelist's Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, translation the NJKV (Orthodox Study Bible). I have used a script style that is based on Greek icons but in English, so that it is legible to most of us here in the UK. It is the first time for many things on this icon: furniture, … [Read more...]

A New Adventure

OK, so this isn't strictly beautiful - but it's appropriate. We leave in a few hours for another trip to the wilds of the Welsh border, Shropshire, where men drink beer and career down the street in rubbish bins pushed by their whooping friends and there is NO mobile phone coverage and NO digital TV. Four channels. Gulp.Anyway, the point of this self-imposed exile is all in aid of my icon painting/writing. Here is the very first one I've done, now complete with all its errors and mistakes (play nice people) but finished. When I come back, I will have a new icon of Saint Luke, complete with … [Read more...]