It’s hard to believe I returned from Shropshire and teaching a beautiful group of people almost three weeks ago. Let’s say that life is hectic and hurried – I am studying psychology and a full-time parent/homemaker as well as a full-time iconographer so fitting three vocations into one life is rather pressing. I promise that this week I have two icons to complete and once they are done, I will write about the course: teaching is -another- vocation, I fear.
Today I attended our local Church for Saturday of Souls, when we commemorate the departed both by name and those of all generations past, present kollyva or in our case hot cross buns, as well as share our stories of those gone with our friends. There were maybe fifteen people but I was reminded we are surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses” particularly during our worship – the veil feels thin, sometimes.
I was able to venerate a small icon we have with a relic of the Blessed Surgeon, St Luke of Simferopol. I hope to paint an icon of him once my commissions are in a better place and so I am collecting images of him. What’s interesting is when we have photographs of saints – do we paint them to look like the photograph or like more stereotyped images of bishops, nuns, etc. What about glasses? Believe it or not, this can cause huge controversy – do we paint recognisable images (St John of Shanghai and St Luke both wore glasses in the world but as transfigured beings?) and I personally choose not to show their glasses. Likewise, St Matrona of Moscow was blind in this world – I have seen a beautiful icon which shows her eyes closed and, particularly with her, I wonder if we should continue that: God permitted her blindness, in order that He be glorified through her prayers and the blessings people received from Him through those prayers. So why not show her joyful, yet blind?
I’d be interested in your thoughts and opinions.