A year of Grace

Dear friends, todays second post brings details of my big plan for the coming year.  As you know I tend to only produce icons for commission – I seem to find myself with deadlines looming constantly but I have accepted that God knows I need a sense of urgency to produce work on time.

“The Church in The British Isles will only begin to grow when she begins to venerate her own Saints”
Saint Arsenios of Paros †1877

In spite of this, I have felt for a long time now that there need to be more icons of the Saints of this country, particularly in what is now called Scotland. The icons which are available tend to be more idiosyncratic than ‘regular’ Orthodox icons and I know that there are a few communities within the country who would like icons of these saints but perhaps cannot manage to commission an original, as they are often worshipping in small rooms and have only a few members. (The debate about the priority of good quality, original icons within a parish starting out is for another time).

iona photo
Photo by jemasmith

To that end, this coming year I have decided to ask God’s help – and yours – to paint twelve icons of Saints some of whom are not well known – yet – in order to produce a limited number of very high quality prints suitable for churches and, perhaps, a calendar for purchase by anyone, if resources allow. I will continue to work on commissions so that the icons can be gilded and painted to the same standard but I am considering taking orders for the calendars now via a fundraising page, so that I do not run out of funds or enthusiasm. Not only will this help to raise our awareness of the saints of Britain who came before, it will help to sustain me in the year ahead. I find that I must paint or suffer the withdrawal of that feeling of peace and fulfilment that only comes as I paint or stand in Church.

The saints to be depicted include:

  • Saint Columba of Iona (for a small community in the north of Scotland)
  • Saint Gildas the Wise
  • Saint Kentigern-Mungo
  • Saint Cuthbert
  • Saint Constantine of Strathclyde
  • Saint Mael-Rubha
  • Saint Drostan
  • St Blaithinn (Blane)
  • Saint Serf
  • Saint Ebba
  • Saint Triduana of Leith
  • Saint Teneu (Theneva)
  • Saint Ninian
  • Saint Giles

You’ll notice there are fourteen…. yes. Well, sometimes Saints require us to allow our hearts to expand a little – the Christian life and community should be ever-expanding, ever-growing, giving more than we think we possibly can. All things are possible with God.  I have begun the preliminary work on Saint Columba, who I will paint in January (along with a commission of St Matthew the Apostle and St Alphege – another British Saint!), as I also research the next on my list.

I would be grateful for your prayers in this endeavour, and I will keep you up to date through my new NEWSLETTER! Yes, I am setting up a newsletter which will bring all my blog posts straight to your inbox. If you are interested, please sign up. (I will add the link as soon as I’ve gotten my own little icon off to her bed…)

in XC, Katherine

boards ready for gesso and linen
boards ready for gesso and linen

Photo by National Galleries of Scotland Commons

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