Traditional Icons – my old fascination

Ever since I studied Russian (especially medieval Russian) history and culture I was fascinated by Icons and their power and symbolism.

I heard the opinions, that icon can not be written by the technique alone. Traditional Icon Writers usually prepare themselve spiritually. They follow the process of preparation, which is more of a constant state of mind and overall healthy spiritual life and practice into which iconography fits. Some of them pray, some of them fast, and of course, they have to familiarise themselves with the life of that saint that they are about to paint.

There might be a certain order that the icon writer often follows. In relation to the symbolism icons (colours, materials and attributes used), there was many attempts to codify iconography. There is only a general agreement and the precedent of tradition. For example, In Eastern iconography, Jesus is always in a red robe, over which is a blue cape. This is to show he is “humanity wrapped in divinity.” Red is a symbol of his human nature, blue his heavenly nature. But some regional schools couldn’t get blue pigment, so they used green earth instead. Martyrs are recognizable by their red capes, a sign of the blood they shed.

Recently I had an opportunity to spent some time at my family home. I came back to old books and albums. They inspired me, and I decided to create some sacral paintings. On the wood. I have already showed you Our Lady Icon on canvas, which I made some time ago using acrylics and mixing them with other techniques. This time I wanted to share with you my work on old wooden planks I have found in the shed. Most of the wood is really old and comes from demolished buildings from my parents farm. As I am far from calling my self Icon writer, I decided to try the technique I have never used before – decoupage. My Icons are only partially decoupaged’ as I always paint them over the fixed image. I use acrylic paints. Often I add other media to make surface look multidimensional. I also use special media to add an effect of painting being old.

You can buy my Icons  from my shop on Etsy.