Images within icons are not executed in the same way as more contemporary art techniques. For one, the source of light comes from within the figure or object. An inner light, uncreated light. What does that mean?
I am not an expert in Hesychasm and the theories of uncreated light but in my meandering, small way during many vigils at my desk writing icons I have experienced little glimpses of this phenomenon. Each one different from the others giving me a tantalising insight into the mysteries of Heaven.
The first time was after spending a full day working on some background scenery for an icon of St Rumbold for St Peter and St Paul's church in Buckingham. I went out for a walk and as I looked at all the trees and shrubs I was overwhelmed by this glowing light that seemed to pour out of the leaves. The only comparison I have are the times when the Sun is just setting and for a brief moment those longer wavelengths of light give this almost rosy glow to the world, especially if there is a large, low cloud reflecting the light. Yet even that is not quite an adequate comparison. There was a vibrancy and energy I could perceive in this inner light. It lasted for a few minutes and filled me with complete joy.