Wednesday, April 18, 2012

icons as spiritual practise

Last year, as a thank you gift for their ministry here in Adelaide, I gave John and Olive Drane an icon I had “written.” They now want to use it as a resource, both in worship and in a class they are running on worship later this year. So they asked if I might shoot a “homemade” video, reflecting on the spirituality of icons.

I thought I’d also place it on the blog, in case any of my readers are interested – why do I “write” icons? what is a “pioneer” icon? how do icon’s work as theology and for spirituality? how to craft an icon?

A short personal reflection on the icon as spiritual practise.

Two most helpful books in getting me started as an icon “writer”:

And for those who can’t access the video, here are my notes in preparation to speak (more…)

Posted by steve at 09:44 PM

Monday, July 25, 2011

mother of God icon: one coat turns it to crap

This is my second icon- Mary, mother of God. (My first, a pioneer icon, is here). I’ve been working on it for about 3 months. A lot of evenings, a lot of weekends. It’s been relaxing and enjoying.

I chose it because of the way Jesus is snuggled into Mary. I love the intimacy and humanity of that moment. As I painted, it felt more and more like the arm of Mary was making a gesture of embrace, inviting me to join the intimacy, to appreciate the humanity and warmth.

Over the weekend I applied the gold halo and finished the final etching. Which meant it was done and so last nite I applied a coat of clear varnish to help protect it.

I don’t know what happened, but it turned to crap. The gold halo is now all tarnished brown, rather than gold and shiny. The varnish has formed bubbles and looks all pock marked. The final finishing coat, after months of work. Sorry mother of God, but you look how I feel. Crap!

Posted by steve at 10:25 PM

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a pioneer icon

Back last century, I attended a spiritual retreat in the the form of a weekend icon painting workshop. It was a fantastic experience, a mix of spirituality, creativity and theology that resonated deeply with me. Spirituality, because icon painting is an act of prayer, of becoming centred on God. Creativity, not in the sense of making from nothing, but in the mix of colour and hands on endeavour. Theology in that icons are God-talk, a careful and detailed attempt to articulate the human understanding of God. (I hope to blog a bit more about this over the next few days.)

One of my hopes in coming to Australia was that with the “ditchchange” (pun on “seachange“) there might be space to pick up icon painting again. Well, it took over 15 months, but an icon was completed last night. It’s one of the simplest icons, called “Christ the saviour.” Being a sort of first, for me it’s become a “pioneer icon.”

I looked around for icon painters in Adelaide, but found little. So in the end I brought a book and simply had a crack (something in there about pioneering I suspect!)

Posted by steve at 09:25 AM