I recently completed my icon of St Kentigern (Mungo) of Glasgow and will be sharing a much better photograph of him soon – this is a snap on an overcast day using my phone (as most of us do these days!).
He is the second of my ‘Native’ Saints for this year – mostly painted in March, so I am not too far behind. I aim to complete the icon of his mother St Theneva (Theneu) and St Constantine of Strathclyde before Pascha at the end of April, and so four saints in approximately four months so far this year, along with a few commissions has been keeping me too busy to prepare the baptism robes and things I wanted to sew. As a mother (and chief housekeeper) although this is my vocation and I treat it professionally, there are times when parenting has to come first and alas, March was one of those months where it never seemed to end. We have a possible break for a few months as my little one starts a new school where, we pray, she will be accepted and supported in a way that suits her better. The parents among you will understand that when our children are happier and more relaxed, so are we. We also plan a short break in Dunblane, where we worship at the community of St Nicholas & St Blane, over Holy Week, which I hope will be a real holiday in the original ‘holy’ sense!
The icon of St Kentigern will be available as a high quality print very soon – the ones of St Columba will be here shortly – and I have used a lot of the research sketches from the “Celts” exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland to inform both the decorative work around his robe (spirals and repetitive forms) as well as the decoration of the calligraphy. Although the uncial form isn’t strictly what would have been used by St Kentigern, it is closer than the usual pseudo-Byzantine/Slavonic style I like. The tiny red dots are in fact used in the Cathach of St Columba, although that manuscript uses insular script. I am trying to combine research into what would have been contemporary with our saints along with what is easy to read and appropriate to us: my aim at all times is to communicate that we, now, here, are part of the same Church as these saints, who were human, in our form and not in some distorted, darkened, ‘folksy’ style which distances us from them further. I would love to hear from you and what you think about this project! A detailed newsletter is in the presses and will fly to your inboxes this weekend.