On our spiritual fathers and mothers

One thing that often sounds 'different' to Christians from some other traditions is the Orthodox practice of having a 'spiritual father' or indeed mother. This is a long-standing small-t tradition in Orthodoxy and part of it stems from our close connection to the monastic life. I found out very quickly that it was common for laity to visit monasteries (we use the same word for both male and female religious houses) regularly, particularly during or soon after Lent. This is tricky for those of us in Britain at the moment - not forever, I hope - as the main monastery is the Monastery of St John … [Read more...]

Transfiguration: metamorphosis and change

  Wishing you all a joyous Feast of the Transfiguration, albeit one day late. This year I have kept the blog in hibernation for a few reasons, not least that any time I have outside of teaching and homekeeping has been used preparing icons. However, we have made the decision to send our daughter to a local school that we believe will fit her needs better than staying home, at least for the moment. Being an only child can be lonely, especially if your mother tends to be rather solitary! So next week we begin the adventure of school and I have been given a space above our church to … [Read more...]

Completion.

As the secular year winds down, I find myself being caught up in the rush of making, baking, planning etc that seems obligatory these days. The chance to spend many hours painting and praying gives me respite and allows me to breathe: literally. I have now completed the last icon of this year, although I'm already drawing the next one and planning what supplies I need for the two after that. Next year, I will not be taking any last minute commissions to slot into my list I'm afraid. It's simply too stressful for me and my family. However, I still have some room, given my current work rate, … [Read more...]

Glimpses

I wanted to share a few images of recent work. I take pictures quickly, as I work. We are homeschooling my daughter now so time now feels more precious and recording my work with a DSLR sometimes feels like too much distraction. Time seems to be focused and I like that. I always paint faces first. Even if I put in washes for garments, it seems to me the prayer is easier when I have company. As soon as the eyes are completed, I feel the support and company lacking in solitary work sometimes. Perhaps that's why I don't feel lonely? May the Nativity Fast help us prepare for the birth of … [Read more...]

Daily joy: St Katherine of Alexandria

Just a post of joy: I suddenly looked at this icon today and felt huge, unbounded happiness that this is my vocation and I have found it when, God willing, I have time to enjoy it and keep improving. Many of my friends only discover iconography after retirement, when things like eyesight, arthritis and other physical problems can limit how long they paint for (although I add right now that I'm terribly short sighted and always paint without glasses!). Glory to God for all things, peace goodwill upon earth. … [Read more...]

When we have faces: St Katherine of Alexandria

Finally reached my favourite stage: meeting the Saint i am painting face to face. After a hiatus for school holidays, I had a whole day (!) to paint. As usual, life tries to intrude: chickens need feeding, cleaning, carpets need hoovering, washing piles up. All of it, apart from my feathered girls, has to wait. Sorry it's so blurred and fuzzy. I am nearly finished but a bit more balance is required. I hope, however, her face reflects that stillness & love that I hope to show in each icon. What do you think? … [Read more...]

Half Way: St Katherine of Alexandria

More than half way around the cycle of miniature icons: I adore this way of telling the stories of our saints. … [Read more...]

The Feast of the Annunciation: my soul doth magnify The Lord

Today we celebrate the Annunciation or ευανγελισμος - 'Evangelismos' of the Most Holy Lady, The Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary. This is one of my favourite icons: the Theotokos is peaceful, attentive & agrees readily to God's Holy Will. Let us be the same! http://orthodoxwiki.org/Annunciation … [Read more...]

Sunday of Orthodoxy (1st Sunday in Lent)

As I can't be at church this morning to celebrate, I thought I would share this with you. Sunday of Orthodoxy - or why icons aren't an added extra. … [Read more...]