Windows into Stillness
Sacred Art Workshop Iconography
Mariandale Retreat Center on the Hudson River April 12 to 17.
Grains of sand painting an Ocean of God: That’s What Icon Painting in New York offers
Is there a fundamental relationship between what we cannot perceive and the material world we participate in? Most of us, have asked at least once, why are we here? what’s the point of being? and are we being what? I found a way to rest from my constant questioning mind through the painting of icons.
Painting Icons is an organic and dynamic piece of tradition dating back 1,700 years, The practice of it has quietly endured through time and continues to speak to us across generations even today. As a contemporary iconographer, my physical, mental and spiritual strengths are reflected in the art form while my attention is tuned to an inner silence. It has proved to be a wonderful discipline, one I would like to share with others.
Perhaps you have heard of outsider artists. I call myself an outsider iconographer. I try to paint what I cannot see as a spiritual journey, this is the traditional part, but what inspires me is the million year old dirt I paint with. I believe the earth was divinely created, not sure how or the details, but one thing is undeniable, the earth governs a wide array of infinite color and diverse forms. Our spiritual life is delightfully mirrored with equally vast, limitless expression. I am always astonished when the physical activity of painting with earth pigments releases image through the strokes and movements accomplished by my hand. The mind witnesses and suddenly realizes there is matter as a result of the activity. Gazing attentively at any square inch of the painting, mine or your own, you will find a world layered in meditation, color, mystery, time and space.
A Connection through Time and Place
“I am” is an ancient concept of the divine. So like unto an icon,(meaning image). Painting images in egg tempera is limitless meditation; the process seduces you into looking at what is obvious, “I am” the matter and the mind. Painting with egg tempera has enabled me to grasp the significance which unifies matter and spirit. The delicate membrane around the egg yolk holds the essence of life within itself, liken to humans whose flesh holds the consciousness of God. The potential for spiritual awareness is trapped in million year old dirt and watching it move around as it forms image has changed my world, one inch at a time.
Can anyone take my class?
Less experience is sometimes better; it is difficult to fill a cup if it is already full. The artist who is proficient in oils or acrylics will find this experience to be new and exciting, while the bigger will have a childlike experience of surprise. For 20 years I have been painting these images and now as a teacher The Mariandale Center for contemplation will provide an environment for others to have an experience of their own. Mixing dirt and mystery is amusing, every brush stroke reminds you of the moment in Genesis where breath and creation meet. Anything can happen. In the class, the painter gets to be the creator and created.
While the work is done in solitude and contemplation, we listen to our deep human interior dialogue. The practice crosses cultures and faith traditions. Million year old dirt is trapped and suspended in egg yolk (the raw potential for life), for me it is a symbol of my own relationship with God, I am trapped in God. The process is simple, moving paint. Imagine a small consciousness shift as we blur the lines between who we are as humans and who we are as divine light all because of paint?