View Full Version : Settle Down with ICONS
12-01-2008, 01:21 PM
Hi Ho one and all -
I thought it would be fun to have a go with Icons. Look at 'em, copy 'em, create 'em.
By definition ICONS - Greek - eikon - to resemble
1. a usual pictorial representation
2. a sacred image venerated in churches, homes
3. a sign that signifies by virtue of sharing a property with what it
On the surface Icons are simply constructed. They are however meant to speak to the "content of consciousness" . They focus the inner person on an idea. This unbeguiling approach dispenses with unnecessary searching. It invites a quiet contemplation.
Here are some links to various religious icons.
Gallery - http://www.goarch.org/resources/clipart
Hindu - http://www.geocities.com/mohan_ayyar/
Archive - http://www.mit.edu:8001/activities/ocf/icons.html
Feel free to contribute to the thread however you wish. Share your favorite icon. Copy or create on of your own.
An interesting train of thought occured to me. Hopper in an interview gave his opinion that the art stream would eventually return to classical ways,
he had no particulars on why or when.
Another author I've been reading has suggested that after the dis-realization of the world that began with the renaissance and culminated in radical sensationalism unable to return to primitive realism because of the centuries of criticism, doubt and suspision would perhaps turn to the imaginative......hummm.....icons can stimulate the imagination and reach the inner mind.............whatcha think?
Here are some icon images -
12-01-2008, 01:53 PM
Super-duper. I will do some research...soon I hope.
I believe that some icon-making traditions have very specific guidelines/standards for their making. For instance, the Buddhist icons have specific measurements you have to adhere to in making an icon. That's the extent of my knowledge...I'd have to look up sites/references to find out what the requirements are.
I am interested in finding out more about the various icon traditions. Many thanks for this very exciting and different project, azul.
12-02-2008, 12:21 AM
That's an intriguing idea! Ok, if I give it a go, too? The little I know is in the Roman Catholic vein - and the iconographer spends much time praying & fasting prior to even putting anything on canvas or paper....W/b fascinating to learn more about all the various types of icons. I'll try to see what I can find as well.
One thing, with Christmas coming & all - is there a time frame here? (some of us are reaaaaalllly slllooooww! :D )
12-03-2008, 08:57 AM
Yes, June and Sooyen - these new bits of knowledge will contribute to the making and study of icons fuller.
Time frame???? December is a busy time, Don't want to have to squeeze this in...... I'm up for keeping it open thru January.....that should give everyone a chance to participate if they like.
Here is a little icon that falls into the third definition catagory. (please disregard the blue line --me finding the shape)
12-03-2008, 01:05 PM
There's a lot going on in December OK. So keeping this project open for longer is good. I'll probably need to FAST before and after Xmas anyway!! Maybe that'll help my art icon process. Anyway my waistline sure needs it!
12-03-2008, 08:50 PM
Here is paper I completed for a Cultural Anthropology course with references. Greek and Russian Orthodox Iconography is a very specialized field with traditions dating back over a thousand years. See attachment
12-04-2008, 10:34 PM
welcome birdhs (on wheels) - and thank you for your paper - I read the whole thing and learned alot . Now I'm gonna search for an icon painting to copy
12-08-2008, 12:22 AM
I have my icon...from a medieval manuscript...now to find the time to do it. I was thinking of using gouache.
12-10-2008, 11:01 AM
Oh, this looks like fun, can I play too? I saw the icon challenge and thought of just the religious type, but i see you intended that the other definitions could be used also.I enjoy peeking in over here occasionally, but haven't posted in this forum yet. Glad to meet you all. Tievoli
12-10-2008, 11:57 AM
Hello tievoli and yes please contribute what ever falls under the definitions - looking forward to it.
June - I think gouache would do nicely.
I used the back of a box of cold cereal and coated it with gesso and watercolor. Had a fun time- it's still wet. I'll post it tommorrow.
This is the one I copied. Rublev's Saviour. Rublev is one of the famous icon painters from the aaaaah - don't know what century - gotta look that one up:wave:
12-10-2008, 01:50 PM
After Rublev's Saviour
Rublev facts - Andrei Rublev (Andrew Rublev, Andrey Rublev, Andrey Roublyov, Russian: ?????? ??????) (c.1360 or 1370 - 1427 or January 29, 1430) is considered to be the greatest medieval Russian painter of Orthodox icons and frescoes. (wikepedia)
This was so much fun. Can't wait to do another:D
12-14-2008, 12:15 AM
I like Medieval art too. I have a book of medieval book illuminations...mainly English and French illustrators. The Russian orthodox icons are treasures. You did a great job with the icon. You captured the serious expression. It must have been very interesting to do.
12-14-2008, 02:59 AM
At one time, many years ago, I thought I might be an iconographer but then realized I wasn't called to do that sacred work. Anyway, searching through some old work of mine, I found these images to share.
12-15-2008, 12:59 AM
HI Loretta. I love your icons.
12-15-2008, 11:52 AM
Azul - Wow - I really like your style. Less is definitely more - & you capture a lot of sensitivity.
Loretta - These are both lovely. I particularly like the first. His expression conveys so much....
I can't wait to see more. This is a great learning exercise - If I can manage to pick & finish just one. I tend to be too fussy about things that I am learning are just not necessary. What we leave out of a piece is just as important as what we focus on in the composition.
Did that make sense? lol, off to get more coffee :D
12-15-2008, 12:08 PM
Thanks you for your compliments. There's a lot involved with creating religious christian icons - there are "rules" and/or "canons" to be followed, i.e. the colors you can use for certain subjects, the perspective, and the image itself - size and shape of eyes, nose, mouth, body, clothing, hands, etc. etc. etc. Each has specific meanings. It's quite interesting.
12-17-2008, 04:29 AM
Oops ... forgot to post a very good link for anyone interested in icons.
12-17-2008, 08:01 AM
Loretta...what a marvellous link to Byzantine icons. I'm going to exlore the site.
Here's a link to making icons. I found the link via Loretta's link above.
And here is another
12-17-2008, 10:51 AM
June - thanks, yes I am liking this strain of art more and more. Doing this icon was so peaceful, I felt like I was touching the thinking and hearts of many generations. And thank you too for the links. Will check'em out soon.
Loretta7 - oh, those are beautiful, I the way the light is coming over his shoulder is stunning. I like hearing about the search and honest listening for your call. Thanks alot for the links. I'll pursue them soon. I had been looking for that information.
Sooyen - Thanks, and I hope you are enjoying doing an icon. Please post your artistic adventure, I'm looking forward to seeing it.
In addition to doing Icons I just happen to be reading a biography of Thomas Merton. This was not a conscious move......just sort of coincided.
Here is one I did last night - St. George slaying the dragon. I gessoed some cardboard from a cereal box. After it dryed I watercolored on it.The hand in the sky (upper right corner) was really hard to do
12-17-2008, 12:51 PM
Really beautiful azul. This looks very medieval. I love it.
12-17-2008, 05:16 PM
12-22-2008, 05:00 PM
Lawrence, this is great- the humanity and warmth surrounded by the staid, simple garment and background speaks a beautiful language - Your portrait skills heighten and edify and fill what the empty icon surrounds.....love it
12-23-2008, 05:17 PM
Thanks azul. That one was based on the photo of a real woman, unlike today's, which was just out of my head.
This one strikes me as being a bit Ethiopian.
12-24-2008, 03:01 AM
Dramatic and expressive work, Lawrence.
12-25-2008, 04:09 PM
Not exactly a classical icon but very close, this is after Rouault's "Head of Christ," 1937, now in the Cleveland Museum of Art.
12-26-2008, 07:16 AM
I've always liked Roualt's work. This is a lovely copy Lawrence. You caught the expression very well...kind of thoughtful and sad.
12-28-2008, 07:05 AM
Inspired by everyone's Icons posted here. Hope I have time to try one. My husband painted an Icon many years ago on wood and hung it up in a corner near the ceiling. Don't know the significance of hanging it there, but will read the links here and maybe get a clue. He was Swedish, if that has anything to do with it. A Swedish Icon? I do remember he used a lot of gold leaf.
Found a class in Icon painting in my area, but still a little too far to travel at night. Taking a class would have been great-Janet
12-28-2008, 04:56 PM
trafford, hope to see your icon soon.
This one is after another of Rouault's very icon-like paintings, "Christ Mocked by Soldiers," 1932, now in the MOMA in NY.
12-28-2008, 05:32 PM
There are a number of "icon-like" images that are attempts of primitive art. Most of them, imho, look kind of clownish. Sacred icons are something completely different and not understood by everyone. Sacred icons are not viewed as art in the sense that other artistic disciplines are. In the Eastern Churches icons are an important part of their Liturgy.
Janet, I don't know why your husband's icon was hung near the ceiling. Many homes have what is called an Icon Corner where a small altar is placed with candles, incense, and icons - Christ in the middle, Mother of God on the left, and John the Baptist on the right. Ideally the corner should be on an east wall, so that those praying at the altar will be facing the east.
12-28-2008, 06:51 PM
Lawrence - Jesus with an a 'fro is so straight forward but the lips and eyes and robe look so real. This one is my favorite of the three. Thanks for the introduction to Rouault. His work reminds me of some of Picasso's. You have done a good job on the copies.
Loretta - thanks for all the input on icons.
Sometimes working on one thing leads into another. Yes the Rouault's do have a clownish look. Clowns are really sad figures. And thought provoking not icons in the strict religious vein. Things tend to cross over and back and forth and you learn more that way.
Janet - I'd love to see your icon if you get around to it.
12-29-2008, 12:51 PM
Lawrence - I like the way you've expanded the concept and am impressed with your Roault studies. It is interesting to see how things inter-relate (sic?) and how we learn/grow/are influenced by different facets of art. I particularly like the last two - very strong, fresh & expressive.
Loretta & June - thanks for adding these links, what a huge help it is. At night when I come home from work (nurse), it's been very soothing to sit **quietly** learning.
Hope to get my chance at this next week, when I'll be having some much needed time off (insert appropriate exhausted *smiley* icon here).... You guys are all an inspiration and provide a much needed kick in the pants :D Happy New Year all!
12-29-2008, 01:52 PM
Sooyen- glad you keep stopping in. I'm looking forward to seeing your icon when you can get to it. I know what'cha mean by exhausted expecially in that line of work. One of our daughter was a nurse/technician for a while.
01-02-2009, 01:24 PM
Here's my icon. Don't know how the frame got so crooked. Didn't measure correctly, I guess. This was fun, I think I'll try some more.
01-02-2009, 11:33 PM
I love it Trafford. It really has that 'medieval' look.
01-04-2009, 03:35 PM
Well done, trafford, really beautiful.
01-04-2009, 04:54 PM
Thank you June and LG. Everyone I showed it to, told me how beautiful SHE was. SHE? I guess I'll have to work on my jaws and adam's apples.
LG....I was thinking about Roualt. He would make a good challenge some time.
01-05-2009, 07:58 PM
Oh, Trafford that is so pleasant. Is it okay of I slide it on my computer desktop file?
01-06-2009, 07:22 AM
Of course Azul....I feel flattered.
Want to do more icons. I have all this gold paint that I want to play with. Maybe I'll buy some bronze too.
01-06-2009, 10:09 AM
Here's half a drawing for an icon of 'The Annunciation'. I posted it to show I was 'playing'....but not sure when I'll finish it. Hopefully by the end of the month.
I still have the angel to draw in on the left. I like the elongated style and the colouring is beautiful in the original.
Its from a 12th century illumination from Flanders, held in the British library. (I have a book on medieval illuminated pages in the British library):wave:
01-06-2009, 12:29 PM
Oh, June, this is really lovely. Can't wait to see the rest of the picture.
01-07-2009, 05:46 AM
Here is a bit more of this icon. The angel and the city in the background. Now to colour in.
01-09-2009, 12:38 AM
June - this is lovely, coloring it in will be fun
01-09-2009, 05:43 PM
I'm going to try colouring it in egg tempera.
01-11-2009, 02:15 PM
One of my first paintings, a copy I did 4 years ago.
50 X 40 cm., acrylics on board.
01-12-2009, 11:27 AM
Top version is gouache, 5 by 7 ins, watercolour paper. Bottom version is egg tempera, 8 by 12 ins, smooth bristol board. The gold backgrounds are in ink.
The top version took one session and the bottom one took me ages and ages.
I prefer the top one as it looks more Byzantine.
I am not keen on the bristol board (as in the bottom version) as it gives a flat result...but that could be because I was going too slow and the egg tempera didn't want to co-operate. At least, I got in some practise with egg tempera.
01-12-2009, 05:10 PM
Way to go, June, though I must say they both look equally Byzantine to me.
Egg tempera!! That's what it's all about.
01-12-2009, 05:41 PM
Hi lawrence. Egg tempera is a whole world of its own. It probably needs a bit of practice to get it doing what you want it to. I'm going to do something in a 'faster' medium next...to recover from the slow snails pace of my ET.
Your acrylic version of the Madonna is a beauty. Acrylics works well here. I particularly love the infant's little feet!!:thumbsup:
01-13-2009, 08:30 AM
Wonderful, LG and June. Always wanted to work with egg tempera. Is it really that difficult?
01-13-2009, 02:43 PM
Hi Trafford, if you've used watercolours its not a big step to working in egg tempera.
As a test try out, you can add some egg yolk to your watercolour and try the effect.
Mainly you have to use smaller strokes and the paint dries almost immediately so you can overpaint to give wonderful rich layers of colour.
We had a class on egg tempera painting in classical a year or so ago.
I think this is the correct link
01-14-2009, 12:52 PM
Here's a link to a thread on portraits in egg tempera. I am just going to read it.
01-14-2009, 12:57 PM
Lawrence - the madonna and child is joyeux - first rate
June - maybe I'm the odd man out here but I prefer the egg tempra version. The depth and contrast and the rich colors
Thanks for the link June, I'll read it this evening - gotta dash to the laundrymat.
I hope to get one of the Hindi religion done before January is out.
01-14-2009, 01:15 PM
Hi azul, I am growing more fond of egg tempera. The paint is very different to other mediums...kind of delicate and sort of 'sophisticated' looking. Hard to explain.
01-18-2009, 05:54 AM
Am I too late to join in???
Here is the story behind this painting which I call Iconic Madonna.
About 4 years ago a lady asked me to paint her two icons, she did not specify of what. Though I had a book on icons I loath eggs, the smell and feel just makes me feel blach!!! So mine were going to be done in oil paints, A4 size as the lady did not want to pay too much.
so I made a blue Maddona and a red Madonna, but when she saw them she did not like them. I was stuck with two paintings. Had them framed simpley, had them on display in an exhibition... not takers, no comments. Baught them home. Needed the frames for something eles, destroyed the red madonna.
In September 2008 my gallery asked for paintings for an exhibiton called IN CLEBRATION OF WOMEN. Wanting to do my best I painted three paintings of women, and then pulled out the blue Madonna, gave her some gold foil on her halo (which radicaly transformed her, cathing the light) spent some big bucks hving her installed in a grand frame.... and she looked soo beautiful I did not want to part with her.
Come the gallery delivery day and I asked a very high price so that she would come back to me. The gallery added 100% commission, so I was confident that she was not going to be sold.
End exchibition Gallery did not want to give my Madonna back, no, they felt it would sell and they wanted to keep it on permanant display till it got sold. Guess what...Its on reserve!!! some one is interested in it and is gathering the money to buy it. Sigh, well, at least I have the picture of the painting.
I know what you are going to say - paint nother one. It will not look like this one. And yes I have other ideas for another two Madonnas but dont know when I will get around to them
Now whats wrong?? Picture will not load!
01-18-2009, 07:42 AM
This is an icon I'm working on. It's only the first sketch.
The verticle background lines will be gold. There has to be a double line on the side rays and top ray within His halo (have to put these in), for a total of nine lines indicating the nine orders of angles. O WN is Greek for The Who Is. The fingers of His right hand which is blessing the vewier are spelling IC XC - His name. His nose is long depicting nobility, His mouth is small, and His eyes are engaging the viewer. The mantle on His right shoulder depicts a temple high official. The book in his hand is in inverse perspective.
Well there's a lot more to work on. Thanks for viewing.
01-18-2009, 10:37 AM
Hi tereza, I admire the colours on your Madonna icon. What a beautiful blue. And what an interesting story to go with it...congrats on that sale/reserve!!
Loretta, I love your sensitive drawing/cartoon for your icon of Christ. (With the book in his hand, will this be Christ as a teacher?) I am so looking forward to seeing it in colour. Will you use egg tempera?
01-18-2009, 11:22 AM
Thank you June. The sketch I posted will be Christ the Pantokrator.
Christ the Teacher is used in Western iconography when Christ is holding an open Gospel, inviting us to come learn about Him. The name Pantokrator (Judge of All) is usually reserved for depictions when Chirst has the Gospel book closed, signifying that the time for repentance is over.
True icons have symbolic canons as to the colors, poses, features, etc. Western interpretations very a lot according to an individual artist's choice.
01-18-2009, 03:04 PM
Hi Loretta, icons are indeed a rich and fascinating subject to explore. And most of us here have only touched the surface...and only the Christian iconology at that.
I wonder if maybe we could keep this thread open for a little longer. What do you think, azul?
01-18-2009, 05:51 PM
You mean you were thinking of closing it? Whatever for?
01-18-2009, 07:18 PM
;) Don't panic! The projects usually run for about 1 or 2 months. But its not a hard and fast rule. With interest, a project like this one can run on for as long as its wanted...:thumbsup:
01-21-2009, 02:27 PM
Tereza - That is a great story and the icon painting is very unusual...she has some kind of the current daring attitude in her look. I know Mary was a brave young women to undergo all the criticizim and ridicule was no doubt subjected to.
LorettaZ - that sketch is beautiful,
Hey, I'm all for continuning this thread. Loretta you should be leading this. I can't seem to find much info on it....admit I have been trying to copy more than find all the little details..... Lets keep it open thru March......that okay with you June?
Here is a drawing for the Hindu picture posted on first page of the thread. I want to do this in colored pencil. The paper is not the best . ... sigh.....it measures 10" X 11 1/2"
02-03-2009, 02:58 PM
adding color with colored pencils
how much I could get done if I had this many hands!!!!
02-03-2009, 03:55 PM
The coloured pencil is very effective. I need that many hands too!!
02-11-2009, 01:20 PM
here is somemore color - I think I am taking to long with this but will finish
02-13-2009, 12:49 PM
this is my last go on this piece. I didn't finish but am not wanting to put in anymore time on it.
02-13-2009, 01:12 PM
I think it turned out beautifully. I love the colours you used..they have a shimmer. very Indian.
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