26 March 2014

Righteous Rebecca

Righteous Rebecca. Acrylic and gold leaf on birch panel, 5x7"
Private collection.

I was recently commissioned to paint an icon of Saint Rebecca, wife of the Patriarch Isaac, whose life is recorded in the book of Genesis. She is wearing the earrings and bracelets given to her by Isaac's servant as a pledge of betrothal (Genesis 24:22). She is also holding a pitcher, from her prophetic encounter at the well with Isaac's servant (Genesis 24:15-21). Her pitcher is based on contemporary Mesopotamian pottery. This event foretells Christ's encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well in which Christ finds his bride, the Church (John 4).

This commission has been a welcome opportunity to return to paint my wife's patron saint. On left is an icon of St. Rebecca of the Old Testament that I just completed. On the right is an icon of the same saint that I painted five or so years ago. It's amazing what a difference five years of continued practice and learning makes!

20 March 2014

The Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God

The 700-year-old, wonderworking Kursk Root icon visited our town's Orthodox churches today, and what an inspiring icon to behold. Here it is at my own parish, St. Mary's Orthodox Church, yesterday. You can see some of my own icon wall murals of the Theotokos mirroring the Kursk Root icon. Learn more about the Kursk Root icon here: http://www.kurskroot.com/

19 March 2014

The Holy Protection

I finished this icon of The Holy Protection a few weeks ago. I plan to use this icon as the subject of an icon painting workshop I will teach this Fall. It depicts the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in prayer holding her veil as a protective shield or covering. This feast is known as Pokrov (Russian/Slavonic) or Agia Skepi (Greek), and is celebrated in October.

"Most holy Mother of God, today we Orthodox joyfully celebrate thy coming among us. As we gaze at thy icon we cry with compunction: Shelter us under thy protection, deliver us from evil, and pray thy Son Christ our God to save our souls." - Troparion of the Feast

18 March 2014

St. Vincent of Lerins

I recently completed an icon of Saint Vincent of Lerins. The colors in his clothing are inspired by Father Gregory Krug, a mid-20th century Russian iconographer who worked in exile in France. The thin, translucent layers of color are muted by a complementary under painting and the highlights move from warm to a cool white. A leading theologian of the Church in the 5th century, Saint Vincent is celebrated for his definition of the Orthodox faith in a time plagued with errors and heresies: "Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus, creditum est." Or in English, "That which has been believed everywhere, always, by all people." His defense of the traditions of the Fathers and his condemnation of innovation and novelty in the Church are as appropriate today as they were in his time.

"The Church of Christ, zealous and cautious guardian of the dogmas deposited with it, never changes any phase of them. It does not diminish them or add to them; it neither trims what seems necessary, nor grafts things superfluous; it neither gives up its own nor usurps what does not belong to it. But it devotes all its diligence to one aim: to treat tradition faithfully and wisely; to nurse and polish what from old times may have remained unshaped and unfinished; to consolidate and to strengthen what already was clear and plain; and to guard what already was confirmed and defined. After all, what have the councils brought forth in their decrees but that what before was believed plainly and simply might from now on be believed more diligently; that what before was preached rather unconcernedly might be preached from now on more eagerly." - The Vincentian Canon in "Commonitorium"