A Very Mystical Process
There are plenty of websites outlining the process of writing or painting an icon. They are far superior to what you would find here, so I am not even going to bother too much about telling you how I write icons from a practical and artistic point of view. If that is what you want then stop reading here [X]. If art and writing the very best and most perfect icons is your thing then I have very little I can add to help you and probably you would be totally critical of my poor efforts to date anyway. [X] marks the point of no return. Artists have to be quite tough to weather all kinds of criticisms. But then again, artists and writers and creators have the guts to stand up and put themselves out there. What would we have done if Christ, our beloved, decided not to show himself?
If you are continuing to read then I can only assume you are curious or just plain nosey. Good. I like people who don't hide their quality, whatever it is, behind holier than thou attitudes. St. Theresa of Avila was often heard to mutter under her breath, "Save me from the pious!"
Taking stock of a number of raggedy icons - carted around over the years having been used for demonstrative puposes - I have started my little icon hospital to help them recover some dignity. I have a great tenderness for them. These icons are not for anyone, so I can take my time, make mistakes and experiment a little.
Currently I am working on icon patient number two (an annunciation), number one being St Clare whom I have written about on my hermit blog. Whilst so engaged I had an overwhelming desire work on a new Christ Pantocrator - sketch above. This is by far my most favourite icon. He almost leaps out of the panel towards me the moment I have him sketched. He is rather a feisty chap. He will not leave me in peace and is constantly urging me on to see in new ways and experience new things. Letting go of past successes and failures is a big step along on that journey. Each day begins anew. We start again. The plain white gesso of the icon panel is fresh, white snow and we make out new marks and begin once more.
I am completely taken by surprise. I was quite prepared to let the art go as I was keen and still am keen on learning more astronomy, maths and physics for a new degree, thinking I had achieved everything I had wanted to do regarding art. But it seems I can do both. What is more surprising, though I have experienced this most of my life, is that time seems to stretch in order for me to fit in what I want to do or am led to do. Since rescuing my poor icons I have found new energy - like an eagle it says in the Bible - to continue afresh. How exciting. They are the most wonderful things to work with, steeped in mystical energy and power. I may share some of those insights and experiences in this blog.