Icon Painting offers that satisfaction – having your work seen?
There is great satisfaction when your work as an artist gets seen by the public. It is the kind of satisfaction which makes you smile when you put your head on the pillow at night; the type of satisfaction realizing you’ve made a contribution to society. It’s that subtle feeling of contentment, like you’ve really added something to the world.
Today, at 60, and 20 of those years as an iconographer, I’ve learned, watched, painted and studied the master iconographers. Writers read the works of other authors, musicians play notes and artist study other people’s art.
Most artists look and think, “well I would change this or that”. Traditional Iconography wants none of that; the whole practice is based on copying those who have come before you. Iconography wants no creativity or individual expression they want service to the church and tradition. But what happens when someone like me comes along to upset the apple cart? Someone whot takes icon painting to a whole other level.
10,000 hours of experience in Iconography before you’re called an expert.
If time was the measuring stick, most of us qualify for being called an expert of something. The other day I mistakenly thought a fine artist had died suddenly in our community, Keith Miller. He did enormous detailed watercolors, hundreds of them in notebooks, painted right into the spiral rings which held them together. I was stunned thinking, if I die tomorrow what would be the headline:
Master iconographer painter dies leaving 1,200 icons under her bed, never seen the light of day! Artists need feedback and an audience, the isolation of working alone every day can be like a vacuum, we wonder if the time and sacrifice has been worth it.
New Image, New Mind, should I or shouldn’t I?
Should I stay in the tradition producing beautiful replicas of the past or should I strike out on my own and see what images present themselves. How can I balance a bit of both? My desire lately has been to utilize iconography’s tested theological precepts and visual language to give the modern mind a little tune up. Old theology spoken again through Modern Icon Painting potentially brings in new insights.
The language series offers eight painted icons, eighteen inches square, all focused on the ways Christ communicates, the way we communicate as well and where are we in that communication. Two icons utilized many hands which frame the face of Christ. I wanted to draw attention to the hand and their capacity to touch and to offer information. The icon series expands to include Christ in Space and Time, Christ in written word, Christ in Astrology, Christ the time clock and Christ at the center of the four cardinal points, earth, air, fire and water, all addressing the universal message; we are timeless Christ consciousness is timeless.
The Russian Saint who defended a town many years ago, whose name we cannot pronounce will not help the prayer life of anyone today who speaks French and lives in the Philippines. Painted Icons must carry a valid message for spiritual growth or they become beautiful copies of pretty pictures absent of the qualities necessary to teach about God. I have done a series of icons titled the unknown saint or simply silent wisdom, or the priesthood of all. The titles help to explain the theology and hopefully provoke a little spiritual curiosity.
The last supper series is perhaps the most provocative and new modern Icon Painting. I am quite aware of the traditional message behind the Last Supper with Christ. It happened towards the end of His life, the moment for the disciples to figure out what was happening or about to happen. For me the message is simple, if we do not learn to eat together we will surely come to an end, spiritually starved and forever alienated. The series highlights the world’s apparent attraction for fast food and drive though windows where we receive nourishment instead of gathering for conversation and community. Are we forgetting how to live together in peace?
Art is a two-way street, view and viewer
I welcome your comments, thoughts and insights to know better if these painted icon images are successful. Art is a two-way street, view and viewer, created and creator. The community of faith practitioners and those “outside” the church have valuable insights and observations about what is truth and new ways to express it. I ask you to comment on this artist’s website; yes it takes up valuable time to build relationship and commonality between us, in hopes of a better world through Modern Icon Painting.