Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Annunciation Icon is Finished!!

I will now show you a few other photos

Here are some pics of the latest icon as it was written.

The second photo is after I had already completed the background. I had begun with a blank solid board, prepared with gesso and linen and lots more gesso. Then I traced on the "cartoon" of the image. You can see the model I used sitting on the table next to the icon I am working on. I then painted in all the dark base colors. Then, as in creation, where the light was brough out of the darkness, I add in all the highlighting colors.

The gold background represents eternity, and occasionally parts of the image will be bursting out of the border. The border represents our reality. Therefore, icons are meant to break through our reality and introduce us personally to the eternal mysteries being shown in the icon. We are quite present at the Annunciation when we venerate a Holy Icon.

The red cloth at the top left signifies that the scene takes place indoors. It takes place in the Temple. The lily and vines represent new life, springing forth as the world is refreshed by the Divine Incarnation, and all of nature is renewed.

In iconography, there is a process where the images are pulled from the darkness into the light. That is why the faces of Gabriel and Mary are dark. In the first photo I had complelted Gabriel's outer robe and wings, but not his under robe, hair or face and hands.

In the third and fourth and photos I am in the process of working on Mary's robes. In this icon she is dressed in royal colors, signifying her status as Queen Mother. She is seated on a throne, with her feet on a foot stool, which signifies her virginity. Her womb area is highlighted with brighter color to show where The Messiah is.

In the sixth photo, I have finished her face and robe, but have not added the three stars on her robe to signify her virginity before the birth, during the birth and after the birth of Christ. I had also not put in the halo rings and completed the border, but had put the gold leaf on the halo's.

Finally, in the seventh photo, I was just about to varnish the icon. I finished the faces and hands, added the Holy Spirit (the large blue burst with a dove inside). This Sunday I will have it blessed, and it will then be an object of veneration in our home.

You may notice the odd appearance of the buildings - the angles seem funny and off. In iconography, there is used inverse perspective which is opposite from traditional Western art. Rather than having a vanishing point that pulls you into the picture, iconography's point is out in front of the icon, as if to come out to embrace the faithful. The icons are designed to pierce our hearts, and embrace us as we are in the presence of the holy people of our faith.

Last but not least, you may be able to see two lavendar roses in Mary's lap. This was added at the suggestion of my 9 yodd. I had told her I would be working on Mary's robes that day, and she thought I said "roses". So when she came to visit one day, she asked where Mary's roses where. She designed some roses and I added them in, one for my girls, and one for my boys. I love the idea of putting my kids on Mary's lap.

Thanks for taking the time to see what I love to do. I will try to add more about the theology of icons from time to time. Blessings!


Blogger Kate said...

This is beautiful, and thoroughly worth waitingf or all those pcitures to load up. ;-)

What a talent! I wish sometimes that God had blessed me with some ability that would allow me to make beautiful things. In His wisdom he probably knows it would make me insufferably prideful.

Do you only do standard icons (where the poses etc. are according to custom), or do you also do your own 'icon-style' originals, the way Michael O'Brien does? Here's his website: http://studiobrien.com/


April 12, 2005  
Blogger Renee said...

I so far have only done traditional icons, although there are still more ancient patterns and techniques I haven't learned. I admire Michael O'Briens work quite a bit, and owe my desire to write icons to him. I suspect I'll stick to traditional icons, though, at least for a while.

April 12, 2005  
Blogger ~pen~ said...

amazing. i am truly inspired.

April 12, 2005  
Blogger Jamie said...


April 12, 2005  
Blogger Mama_T said...

Wow, wow and TRIPLE wow!

I am a decorative painter, and have longed to learn to do this. There was a lady in the D/FW area that was going to lead an icon workshop at one of the places I used to paint, but there was not enough interest. Boo!

I would so love to learn this art!

April 12, 2005  
Blogger Philothea Rose said...


April 12, 2005  
Blogger Julie D. said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for going to the trouble to show us so much of the process. I am truly impressed.

April 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is really neat! Thanks for showing us! I like to paint too...but haven't in so long.

April 13, 2005  
Blogger not said...

yay! glad it worked...

April 13, 2005  
Blogger Essy said...

Wow..that is truly beautiful. What a gift you have...praise God.

April 14, 2005  
Blogger Adinah said...

I love your icon. I just finished my own, going through a week long very intensive workshop. This was my first experience writing an icon. I must say it was a truly religious experience for me. Have a look see at mine at loryann.blogspot.com

May 01, 2005  

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