Mary Magdalene * 14x11 in. * Pen and graphite on Pape
During the last four months, I have been living out of our Ford Taurus. Art supplies are limited. Space to work and leave my stuff scattered around is very limited. I am finally down to an 11 x 14 pad of Bristol Paper, a few Micron pens, and graphite pencils.
Zentangle® Inspired Art (ZIA) came to my attention several years ago. Now and then, I have dabbled with creating zentangles and ZIA's, nothing very large. Recently, I decided to give traditional icons a Zentangle try. Here are the first three attempts.
The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.
And yes, I will be back to traditional egg tempera or acrylics as soon as I land somewhere.
St. John Zentangel Icon * 14x11 in. * Pen and Graphite on Paper
St. Nicholas Zentangle Icon * 14x11 in. * Pen and Graphite on Paper
During Lent Madness 2014, I came to know Harriet Bedell. I was overjoyed that she made it to the last round of competition for the "Golden Halo." It was a close battle, but alas Harriet was bested by Charles Wesley whose praises were sung far and wide. Not so for Harriet.
Now while Charles was indeed a great man and wrote great hymns that we still love to sing, Harriet lived an amazing life for others, helping Native Americans from the Arctic Circle to the steaming swamps of the Everglades for over 70 years, often putting her own life in danger.
The more I read about Harriet, the more I love her and want others to know her too.
Searching the Internet every which way, I discovered no icons of this larger than life saint. I vowed that Harriet Bedell will have her Golden Halo, even if I personally had to give it to her. I set to work. Using a photo from the Florida Historical Archives, I created a pattern for her image.
This icon is small, measuring only 9 x 7 inches. I worked in traditional egg tempera and gold leaf. While some iconographers frown on a "frame" for an icon, I decided to add a border that would symbolize her time with the Seminole people in Florida. The design is a traditional Seminole patchwork pattern called crossed logs.
Harriet lived until she was almost 94 years old, working right up to the end. I like this image of her because it shows that her beauty only increased with age and her hands were made more lovely by all the good works they did.
At the Kanuga Icon conference this year, I wanted to add to my skills. After communicating with the teacher Suzanne Schleck, I gathered the requisite supplies and prepared the board so that I could learn to guild with red clay bole and loose gold leaf.
It's a tricky process, but worth the effort because so many more lovely effects can be achieved.
The first day of class I showed the board to Suzanne. She asked what portions of the board I wanted to gild. I showed her. She looked askance at me and uttered a quiet "Ha."
I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound.
At the conference I spent about a day and a half full-time working with the bole and the gold. Yes, I learned all sorts of things involving red clay, water, 24 k loose gold leaf, wax paper, wait time, deep breathing, agate burnishers, prayer, incising, hot tea, hide glue, honey, and peach brandy. Many veterans helped me and offered welcome advice. I suspect they were also praying for me. I never lost faith that it would turn out okay.
Everything after I attached the protective paper I finished at home. Below are a few photos showing the process.
Last Fall a friend at church asked if I would make a presentation to the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) in the spring. If things are a long time off, I will agree to most anything. As the winter wore on into spring, I began to regret my decision. It meant work -- work which I retired from -- getting it together, planning, organizing, coordinating with others for equipment and help.
Of course, everyone was gracious and helpful. Of course, I could talk for hours about Icons, but standing up and teaching a lesson?
Then a few days before the event, the chairwoman called to ask if I would mind if Peggy Dahlberg (communications coordinator) video taped the presentation. Whoa!!! Suddenly, I had to throw everything into high gear.
Fr. Ron Pogue, my husband, led us in the prayers used before beginning to write an Icon.
Amy Robbins-Wilson wrote and sings "Blessed be the Hands" which is played at the beginning and while Ron is anointing our hands. She graciously allowed us to use the music in the video.
Peggy worked very hard taping the event and even harder editing it and putting it up on YouTube. I thank her. Here is the result.
Today I decided to call myself an iconographer. Plain and simple. With no apologies.
Not because I have any credentials. Not because I am particularly good. Not because I have won any prizes or executed any amazing commissions.
But because that is what I do every day. I get up in the morning, go to morning prayer, and then go into my studio to make religious icons. I did not say "write" icons because what I do to make an icon is far more than simple writing. I did not say "paint" icons because all that I do is far more than just painting. Besides, all the controversy over "writing" versus "painting" is irrelevant to what I really do.