Painting an Icon of a Contemporary Saint, written by Aidan Hart

8 04 2011

I wrote a piece a while ago about the creation of an icon of a contemporary saint. I learnt about this from directly from my teacher Aidan Hart. I can remember once when I was visiting him he had created just such and icon – of New Martyr Elizabeth: a member of the Russian royal family who was murdered by the Bolsheviks. I thought I would ask Aidan to describe how he created this icon. What follows is his reply. Note how he is very clear that he is not aiming for a photographic-like likeness, but rather an image that infuses her physical characteristics with those elements of the iconographic form that will reveal more fully the true person.

Aidan wrote as follows: Read the rest of this entry »


The Relief Carving of Jonathan Pageau

25 03 2011

Here is some relief carving by Jonathan Pageau, an artisan based in Canada. Jonathan is Orthodox and is working very much within the iconographic form, the principles of which he will not compromise, as one would expect. However when I chatted with him about his work, it struck me that as well the more familiar Eastern forms, he has an interest in traditional Western forms of iconographic art as well.
He is happy therefore to consider the portrayal of some Western types that are not part of the usual Eastern canon. He works in wood and a soft soapstone from Kenya called Kisii stone. Read the rest of this entry »

The Brussels Academy of Icon Painting

5 03 2011

As a postscript to the article about the work of Irina Gorbunova-Lomax, a reader has sent me information about two more websites with more up-to-date work of hers on display. You can see them here and here. I was also contacted by an old friend of mine from Oxford, a Catholic, who is studying with her. As ever, I am delighted to receive this additional information from readers and, in turn, happy to pass it on to you. Originally from the Ukraine, Irina studied in Russia. She is married to an Englishman and lives in Brussels (she is not based in France as I first thought). She runs a 4-year, part-time course in icon painting (38 three-hour lessons over this period). She is an excellent teacher by all accounts and, I was told, she is respectful of the Catholic Faith and many Catholics are already learning with her. Read the rest of this entry »

Icons by Irina Gorbunova-Lomax

21 02 2011

Here are some icons by a Belgium-based Russian icon painter. She has and exquisite touch in the graceful flow of the line that conforms to the prototype and describes form beautifully. Also, she skillfully handles the delicate overlay of washes of colour retaining a freshness and giving the sense that they were produced by a sure, well-guided hand. Her gallery,here, has examples of works done on paper or parchment, some having the appearance of studies for other works. These particularly highlight her drawing ability. I have shown a few examples below.

Over the years I have been to many icon painting classes where people signed up because they felt that because icons are so highly stylised that the need for skilled drawing is less than in naturalistic styles Read the rest of this entry »

Creating an Icon of a Modern Saint

5 02 2011

With the announcement of the beatification of John Paul II someone sent to me this icon of him in which Christ presents the world to him. Painting an icon of a well known figure raises a number of considerations for an artist. How should an icon painter represent a likeness, especially when the person is someone whose face is so commonly recognized from photography, which doesn’t conform to the iconographic form?

When painting someone for whom there is already an established prototype in the tradition, such as Christ or the Apostles, the artist relies on that. Read the rest of this entry »

..and here is a newly discovered 15th-century Coptic icon

30 01 2011

Shawn Tribe who writes at the New Liturgical Movement website just posted this image. It is a newly discovered ancient icon.

Having described  Stephane Rene’s neo-Coptic style as a more polished form of the ‘folksy’ original Coptic style, here comes something to disprove my point! Read the rest of this entry »

Two More Neo Coptic Icons by Dr Stephane Rene

29 01 2011

Further to the recent posting about a Coptic style Stella Maris icon, here are two more icons by Dr Stephane Rene in his ‘neo-Coptic’ style. They were sent to me by two people who read the previous article. St Joseph of the House of David and Mary Mother of the City are in St Joseph’s Catholic church, in Bunhill Row in the City of London. I remember this Church because it is just around the corner from the offices of the Catholic Herald, where I once worked. They come courtesy of a reader who brought them to my notice. So if you’re reading thank you Martin Pendergast, and to you Sr Jean for supplying the images. Read the rest of this entry »