The Holy Face

As a spiritual, rather than a religious person, I approach the subject of icons from an artistic perspective & I am drawn to their beauty. On Saturday, I attended the first part of a two week workshop to paint an icon using egg tempera.

It was the end of an exhausting week at work & I really didn’t relish the thought of having to get up on Saturday at the same hour I would during the week – but it was certainly worth the effort.The workshop was tutored by iconographer, Ian Knowles,

In addition to the icons, the other aspect of this course that interested me was that we would be making our own paints. Regular readers of this blog will know that this is something I have tried before & the account of my previous attempts at this can be viewed here. I’m pleased to report that the results were much more successful this time. With support from Ian, we made our own egg tempera, a magical blend of egg, vodka & raw pigment. I have to admit that, for me, the vodka was a surprise ingredient!

Once the paint was mixed, the painting process began…..
Below is the icon so far. It already has 5 layers of tempera on the face, although the background will remain as it is, covered with one layer of variegated wash. The face is built up progressively, working from dark to light – it’s fascinating seeing it gradually appear.

I am very excited about Saturday’s workshop & shall be out of bed before the alarm this week! I promise to report back with an update.

Please take a look at Ian’s exquisite work, which can be viewed at Elias Icons

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