Life is running fast and we feel honored to share a great news:
We are glad to announce an official Partnership with Pontifex University. From now on each of our workshops can count as a credit toward Master of Sacred Arts degree. You can see a short description at our website: http://sacredmurals.com/pontifex_university.htm . The proposal came from one of our students, who had already had an experience with them, so we decided to try. If you want to know more, please check directly the website of Pontifex University, we hope that a possibility to have knowledge and skills officially confirmed might be a good one
Our Icon Drawing workshop Holy in Cross Monastery is not filled up yet, – there are still some available spots (unlike the one in The New Skete with a couple of people on waiting list). We have had this program in Melbourne and it worked wonderfully, – by the end of the 5th day, everybody gained much better drawing ability, including the instructors. And one more time everybody approved, that even if drawing is a difficult part, one can enjoy painting much more, having set up a good construction.
Olga’s had extremely intense months doing her graphic work, so, that in several weeks we expect images to be published. It is going to be a wall calendar, approximately 40 * 30 cm (16 * 12 inches) and we hope to have some copies to share.
Social Media: On!
– As Olga continues running our main Instagram and it has become a good entertainment. Lately, we decided to incorporate it into our website so that everybody might see the latest updates at the left-bottom coner.
Besides, in October we plan to create a special page for mosaics on our website. To start spreading the word about it we decided to begin publishing little images in a separate instagram page run by Philip.
Five new icons and a mosaic piece by Philip Davydov:
I. The only word I can use – Blessing, that’s what it was! – Our friend Sergei Shikhachevsky invited us with his other friends to join a guided tour to see painted cave churches of Cappadocia. Sergei Shikhachevsky had already visited this blessed country 7 times) and wanted to make one more trip to gather some more materials for a book (hopefully it will be published soon).
In these blessed 9 days we have seen a lot and now step by step we start publishing photos. Here is the first one, – Haçlı Kilise (Church of the Cross) in Güllü Dere (Rose Valley near Cavusin). It’s a cave church, like most old churches of Cappadocia. And with the most powerful impressions to share, – how our medieval colleagues approached their work. They start from spots and shapes, not lines, – covering certain areas with local colors our colleagues added details later. They did not “hang” their images on perfectly studied drawings, they preferred their figures to be born from interaction with the wall and each other. Figures, ground and secondary elements are all bound together so fluently and smoothly, that these murals look like as if they were native to walls.
It’s already our second visit, the previous one was great too, – -we had published photos of Ağaç Altı Kilise then: https://www.flickr.com/
With all the sad news and issues we face, we need to move on and do what we have to do.
May Our Lord help us to find what to do to bring Kingdom of God to the world!
This time we have only 4 news.
First, – we should mention a special event, widely discussed in the Orthodox world: – dome mosaics of St. Saba cathedral in Belgrade have been completed. The project is announced as stunning and genius one, especially because of it’s enormous size and amount of work.
We have to admit that unfortunately this meticulous work can’t be considered serious artwork firstly because of the fact, that the composition itself and because 16 of 20 figures are simply enlarged copies from St. Marc cathedral in Venice. Besides, there are some composition errors, like an angel standing “on halo” of the Mother of God and lettering on the halo of Christ. In order to give more grounded and extended information, we are happy to share an article, written by our friend Sergei Brun and published on our website: http://sacredmurals.com/texts/dome_of_barrenness.htm
Second: Lately, Olga has been working with printing on fabric, we did not publish these images on our website yet, but we are happy to share the first results on our Instagram and in this Newsletter. Instagram indeed appeared to be a nice tool for instant information sharing, and especially good for photos of the working process. Please, subscribe if you use it: https://www.instagram.com/sacredmurals/
Third: Our workshop in Italy is scheduled for 3-7 September 2018 and we have already some people registered. Since Italy has a long tradition of the revival of iconography in XX – XXI centuries we have made a complex and intense program for professionals to break their patterns. The workshop will be taught in Italian, so, if you feel it’s a language you know – have a look at the program and see, if you are interested: http://sacredmurals.com/iconography_courses_workshops.htm
And the last point as always, – this time it’s only one image, – Icon of Saint Patrick by Philip Davydov, – the one, which currently participates the “Undivided Saints” project:
Thank you again for your interest to our work! We’ve had lots of little news, but Newsletter is just for the most serious, and the first one dates back to December 2017… Here they are:
Last June our friends launched a project, named “Saints of Undivided Church“ and we were invited to participate their first exhibition. It took place in National Museum of Belorussia in Minsk (December 20, 2017 – February 18, 2018. It was a great pleasure to be at the opening, – more than 200 visitors and a great bunch of icons, painted by almost a hundred iconographers from different countries. I admired how much freedom can iconographers have without pressure. To share the information I published some photos on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/25669502@N07 and we are happy to share our friend’s video on https://youtu.be… The project continues and different iconographers continue to join it. Let me know if you are interested, – I will give you Sergei’s email (he speaks english well).
Icon Workshops in New Zealand and Australia went well, and this time we publish almost one hundred photos:www.sacredmurals.com/icon_writing_courses…
Now preparing to hold the ones in DC and New York, plus within two weeks we will launch another workshop in Italy. It’s going to be 6-10 September 2018 in Milano, made exclusively for iconographers-professionals and taught in italian.
Our latest internet discovery: A very famous illuminated manuscript of X-XI centuries “Menologion of Basil the II” was recently published online by Vatican Library: https://digi.vatlib.it/ .
Even though many images depict wild scenes of martyrdoms, it’s a great source of visual information, and may be very useful.
For many years we tried to build up a text, which could describe our working process, a “Manual“. Here is a current version of it: http://www.sacredmurals.com/manual.pdf, feel free to download and use it if you like. We hope to update it from time to time, and if you have any enquiries or comments, please feel free to share, – we will consider your feedback very seriously. In the nearest future we will add list of our favourite pigments, – what else should be changed??
Lately we also started to compose a “Bibliography for Iconographers”, as soon as it’s ready we shall publish it too. ANd if you have any of your favourite books, – books or quotations, which you think may be useful, – please share!
Before sharing news we are proud to repeat our CALL FOR EXHIBITION “Visions of Beauty 2018” one more time: – if you have a possibility to bring your image(s) or object(s) to ACU Visual Arts Building (26 Brunswick st., Fitzroy) about 11 AM on Saturday 13th of January, – please do so! We particularly appreciate large scale works, even though smaller ones are accepted with a great joy as well. Even if we can’t guarantee, that every work will be accepted, we try hard to exhibit all what we can.
This time instead sharing all images at the end, we will start with some and finish with some. First: Olga’s latest graphic works:
I doubt anyone likes advertisements in Advent time, so we make it now: we have uploaded all our images of the Nativity of Christ to FineArtAmerica. Some were done in egg tempera, some in colored pencils, the cost of printing dropped for November – December 2017.
Have a look when thinking about Christmas postcards or other prints: https://fineartamerica.com/…/phil-davydov…
Some time ago together with other iconographers we were invited to participate a project, called “Saints of Undivided Church” http://saints.artos.org/en/ . Currently there are more then 100 icon painters from different countries and more than 140 icons completed by now. The first exhibition is scheduled to open 20 December 2017 in Minsk (capital of Belarus), it will last till 28 February 2018. Olga’s British Saints and st. Patrick by Philip were accepted and we hope to get some friend’s photos from the opening and 2-day conferences to share. If you are interested, let us know, – we send you a program (in Russian since the whole event will be in Russian as well).
At the end of October we have spent 7 graceful days in some old Italian cities, looking at great mosaics and icons. We took some thousands of photos (start sharing them below), but the most romantic moment happened in a pigment shop, which I remember visiting 20 years ago…. And it was still there!!! A cosy “Drogheria” (drug store), on Piazza delle Erbe in Padova selling almost everything, including the pigments… As we entered there, we could not find the pigments at first, but the salesman helped me to remember, where exactly in 1990s I enjoyed so much pulling out these ramshackle boxes with colors. We found them, and shared the fun with the new team. I am speaking about this just to remember Michelangelo, who I heard used to say: “The pigments can be purchased in a drug store”.
Visiting Ravenna and looking at it’s stunning treasures we could not stop thinking of showing them to everyone we know. Thank’s God, humans invented cameras and internet! – At least we can share photos and upload them for everyone to see! Feel free to visit our latest Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25669502@N07/albums/72157689660467604, – it’s Mauseleum of Galla Placidia. All images can be viewed and downloaded in full resolution (about 4000X6000 pixels). Enjoy!
Scholars, designers and web-masters in Utrecht University did a great job, – the website gives unique opportunity to read comments to every scene and detail in more then 180 pages with drawings, possibility to enlarge and download page by page. We downloaded them all and if you like to have them downloaded too, let us know.
Forthcoming workshops – very short! All our workshops in Melbourne (Australia) and in Auckland (New Zealand) are full.
Now we announce three workshops in the United States for 2018: Wesley Seminary (Washington DC) – August 6-10
Todor has prepared 6 diptychs of the Mother of God and Exodus, Nikola has other subjects. Unfortunately there are no photos from the opening, which gathered 100 people. But we can see the icons the way they are distributed in the church space, which we think is good: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25669502@N07/albums/72157685959701174
It’s been a long time since we first were asked about an iconography workshop in New Zealand, and here it is! It will take place in Auckland, starting the 5th and ending the 9th of January 2018. We plan to paint an icon of Christ, taking a 13th century image from Mount Sinai as our model.
For those, who live in New Zealand, and have already signed up for our workshop(s) in Melbourne. – I don’t mind you shifting to the newer group, but please, do it in the nearest days since the group is filling up quickly, – we have only 5 spots left.
We have started a new project, – series of Visual Literacy video-lectures on YouTube. The first one is short (only 3’22): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2myJN-yQVPo, but hope it can be a good addition to our workshops, available to everyone. Next one is planned to be about Integrity… What do you think should be other urgent topics?
Looking forward to see your comments, likes and dislikes as well :).
This time we have no new icons to share, therefore we publish 74 medieval images. These are carved wooden sculptures from Novgorod Museum and Magdeburg bronze doors, which for many centurieswork for Saint Sophia cathedral in Novgorod (Russia).
All our students and friends, especially those, who come to our Melbourne workshops, are invited to participate our 3rd exhibition “Visions of Beauty 2018” in ACU Gallery Space. The installation should begin on Saturday the 13th of January about midday. We can not guarantee, that all the works will be accepted, but larger ones are preferable.
More news in the next Issue!
With warmest regards,
First of all, – THANK YOU for your interest to our work and for your time. We love our work and we are grateful for your support! These two months were full of good things and we are glad we can share them with you.
We have recently had three workshops. Two Advanced ones in Saint Mary’s University (Calgary, Canada), and Gage Academy of Arts (Seattle WA). where we painted icon of Saint John the Baptist and a Drawing one, where we draw 3.5 days with pencils and brushes. (See the photos: http://sacredmurals.com/…icon_painting_courses_usa_canada_2017 )
It was a great time, – lots of challenges and, hope, even more discoveries. From the other hand, even though it seems to us, that all the three workshops went well, I feel that when next time we happen to teach one in the Holy Cross Monastery, we should better connect our workshop with worship. And it is not only about adjusting our time to the schedule of services, it’s much wider – about icons “working” in liturgical space, – both theory and practice.
We have already started thinking about the next year workshop in Holy Cross, but I think we will only be able to launch it in October.
It’s only July, but both our January Icon Drawing Workshops in Melbourne are filled up or almost filled up. We talked to the ACU and decided to launch one more, this time more universal, – like we did in the past. We called it “General Icon Painting Workshop” intending to say it’s about painting an icon from scratch to the end, going through all sorts of activities we used go to in our daily work. Planning it we mostly thought of potential students, who’d never attended our workshops before, so they could catch up and grab their piece of experience.
And – an important notice, – if you have already signed up for any of previously announced workshops and want to switch to a new one, please, let us know in the nearest time, before it is filled up.
At our latest workshops I was asked many times about our Sources of Pigments, so instead of spelling the links I have promised to list of our suppliers and our favourite colors in current Newsletter. Each of them has some wonderful colors, so the order is just alphabetical and I hope we may continue investigations and share some more in the future.I. Agulis, – armenian colors, sparsely sold in Saint Petersburg. We ordered some their pigments last year, – you can read about our experience in our latest Christmas Newsletter. Our favourite color in their palette is:Violet Light (here is example of this color, used for background: ..annunciation.html)II. Poggi – an italian company with 2 stores in Rome and as we talked to them some years ago, they said they could ship internationally. The prices are also given in euros per kilo, so, it might have a sense to order a package to share, since pigments are nice and finely grinded.Our favourite ones by now are:
Terra Verde Antica (which now I don’t see at their website)
Giallo MargheritaIII. Kremerwe buy in Saint Petersburg, also in kilos and the favourites are:
Green UmberII. Zecchi is also sold in Saint Petersburg, we have many things, but really use few:
Coral Powder (see background as an example: (crucifix_2013.html )
Raw UmberPigments with different or unidentifiable sources :
1. Titanium White
3. Ocra Roma (Light Yellow Ochre)
4. Golden OchreAnd hopefully there are more to come…
Eight of our latest icons:
Working with New Media, – our Youtube channel is slowly growing… Here is the latest addition – a better version of Video, dedicated to varnishing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vcucGcwaoA. Please, leave your comments, – it’s a beginner’s experiment, any constructive critique is appreciated. Within a couple of months from now we think of making some more of this kind, and we will take into account every consideration.
Another video to share, – our Australian friend Sister of Mercy Margaret Broadbent was interviewed almost two months ago: https://vimeo.com/218884778.
Thank you for being our subscriber! We value your time and do our best to publish only most essential news and valuable information. This time we are happy to share some archives of models for icons, finally launch our workshops in Melbourne and publish two icons by Olga Shalamova.
It’s always a great pleasure to share good things and we decided to start sharing our models for icons:http://sacredmurals.com/more_images/_icons_from_mount_sinai.html . Largest number of icons was downloaded by our friend from Princeton University website: http://vrc.princeton.edu/sinai/, but there are also other albums as well. And the new feature is following, – you don’t have to click hundreds of images one-by-one, you can download entire archives and unzip them directly on your computer. Check the menu on the left side from the thumbnails and on the right side from the images, – hope you enjoy it.By the way, – always forget to mention! – All large size album images on our website are clickable, – image works like “NEXT” button when you click it.
It’s been an intense time here and it’s only now we are launching our program for our workshops in Melbourne! Sorry for being late, but this time the task seemed so hard, – we wanted to produce a brand new series of workshops, dedicated to drawing and we made it!
The first workshop practically is made entirely to train drawing, from point of view of theory it will include a series of brand new lectures. The second oneis more focused and made for more advanced level students. We also do lots of drawing (mostly different types of garments), but at the end we should come out with a drawings of different half figures and one almost finished image of Saint Anastasia. Please click here to see the details and descriptions >>
It’s a shame have so few new images, but that’s how it is. Researching for new means and ways is a hard and exhausting work, it takes time and efforts, but it keeps us alive and helps moving forward! This time we only can share two icons by Olga, hoping that more images to come in June.
This Last Supper took more then 2 months to complete. As additional note – the one, which we published in previous Newsletter functioned as one of the sketches for this one, and I think it worked well 🙂 Board size is 56 X 99 cm (about 23 X 40 inches), and it’s done in egg tempera.
The last but not least, – sometimes we all need promotion! So, we are happy to promote our friend’s work and this time it’s father Justin Mcdonnell, who makes icon boards in Melbourne (Australia). Here he comes:**********
Traditional gessoed icon boards
“Fr Justin McDonnell-based in Melbourne, Australia.
“Constructed from best quality sustainably/ethically sourced local timbers. All joinery is done by hand using solid timber. Flat or kovcheg, with support struts in the back of the board as required. Boards can be of any size, large or small. Fr Justin is a fully qualified cabinet maker and has worked in a variety of timer related areas-furniture making, wood carving, and is a qualified pipe organ builder. He and his wife, Pani Matushka Lydia, are both dedicated to manufacturing and supplying icon boards of the finest quality to our local iconographic community. We use locally grown timbers and have tried to adapt this ancient craft to the unique conditions present in Australia. We would be very glad to receive your enquiry for any icon board requirements”.
Thank you again for your time and please let us know if you have any questions or comments!
If you are in northern hemisphere we wish the most beautiful spring, if in the southern, we hope you are having an enjoyable autumn!
As the time runs, we have to make some changes in our workshop schedule, couple of new works, couple of exhibitions and a special website to share.
Groups in Calgary and Seattle are filling up well, but last week we have been contacted by Wesley Seminary (Washington DC) and we were informed that our workshop has to be cancelled because of widescale renovation works.
But since every cloud has a silver lining, with a generous invitation of Peter Pearson’s now we happily launch a brand new Icon Drawing Workshop in the Holy Cross monastery in West Park NY,– reachable by direct trains from NYC).
It’s a 4 days course for $650 with lodging and meals included, – lots and lots of drawing! We think it’s essential for all.
Only two works to publish since our previous Newsletter:
One by Philip:
And a Last Supper by Olga Shalamova:
Besides, we are surprised to see constant and unpredictable interest to iconography exhibitions. As always we publish some photos at our Flickr, hope you may find something inspiring.
The first one was a “85 years of Union of Artists of Saint Petersburg“, which included our iconography section not a special one iconography (February 20 – March 10 2017, St. Isaac’s Square Manege, Saint Petersburg, Russia).
The second in Feodorovsky Cathedral (also in Saint Petersburg) exhibition
After this, – at last but not least, as the best desert, we are also very proud of an opportunity to share a brand-new website of our fellow iconographer fr. Silouan Justiniano, constant author of Orthodox Arts Journal and a friend of ours. It’s very minimal, just the essentials for now. Take a look: www.frsilouanicons.com
Thanks you very much for your time, hope next one will have less news and more images to share!
The first word of this newsletter we want to be the word Gratitude!
Though we often wished to say it before, somehow yet there was no special occasion. Now we think it can be a good time. Looking back at our 10 years of workshops in Melbourne and even more in the US, we are happy to say how grateful we are to God, to our friends and relatives. We feel that in these years we had been immensely blessed, helped and inspired, our work – valued.
I know, I should list the names, but it would need many pages and simple listing of course would not be enough… We thank you all very much and wish that this coming year (and many more to come) will bring you the peace, joy and blessings in Christ.
Now we are back home-sweet-home, and thanks to Margaret Broadbent (see the photograph) we had a great cultural program in Sydney and feel very much rested… Time to stir paint for new sketches, time to bring together all we have seen and experienced lately.
NEXT ONES are planned for June 2017 (Seattleand Calgary, – filling up). In addition to them we announce our traditional workshop in Wesley Seminary (Washington DC, USA).
Though yet it’s not sure, but we may as well have one more workshop in the UK, but this should be happening in the second half of the year, – it’s just a “maybe” for now. And to conclude this listing, it’s good to say, – we always look forward to hear your critique, questions, comments or proposals, hoping that our educational methods and principles may be considered as an open system, changeable and upgradable.
EXHIBITION “From the Star till the Water”
With most grateful feelings about the Moscow exhibition “Gifts”, where traditional icons were placed next to contemporary Christian artworks, I decided to share a local one. We only visited it because this Exhibition Center is very close to our home. The exhibition was open for the period between feast of the Nativity of Christ and the Epiphany – 24th of December 2016 till 29th of January 2017. We especially enjoyed some of the objects and images and happily share them with you on Flickr too: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25669502@N07/albums/72157676464356904
As always few ones finished:
And hopefully more to come!
One more time we thank you very much for being with us!
With warmest regards,
Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova
P.S. For those, who like to travel, here is a number of opportunities from our friend fr. Ilia Gotlinsky:
The history of Russian Sacred Art and Architecture through Millennia July 10 – 30, 2017 The “Russian Icon” tour is the first comprehensive study tour that along with all of the major collections of Russian Icons will include many less famous, generally overlooked, but yet very important monuments and collections of the Russian Medieval Sacred Art. The itinerary includes visits to Moscow, most cities of the Golden Ring, Vologda, Ferapontovo, St. Petersburg, Novgorod and Pskov. Travelers will get a real in depth course not only on the History of Russian Sacred Art and Architecture, but also on the History of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian State. Another benefit of this trip is the fact that we will work directly with museum staff and clergy along the way. With many of them we have longstanding and personal friendship that enables us to see and to do learn about the things that usually remain behind the closed doors.
Link to the program: http://orthodoxtours.com/july-10-30-2017-russian-icon-history-russian-sacred-art-architecture-millennia/
We wish you a Joyful and Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year! Let us pray for Peace together, – through the whole coming year! – Let’s make it TheYear of Prayers for Peace!
In the meantime we prepared some our local news and hope you may enjoy reading them and seeing new images…
New Images in all senses… This time we present you a new type of images…
Hmmmmm… What?? Wait a minute…What kind of “New Type” can an iconographer talk about, if the whole his or her life has to be dedicated to the main vocation – painting the Face of Invisible God and His saints???
And, yes, – now we have an answer… For a number of years we wondered about extending iconographers professional possibilities. The question is this – what can an icon painter paint, avoiding to compromise or disgrace tradition and own skills, but trying to make a new type (genre) of image with different goals and functions.
And we found the answer… simply working with our sketches… The answer can be a GRAPHIC WORK. From point of view of the materials, it’s similar to the manuscript illumination process, but since we are not obliged to make it a direct text illustration, we may think of a special kind of visual, recalling traditional iconography, but using a slightly different language and pursuing different goals.
These images were painted by Olga Shalamova, – it’s egg-tempera on watercolor paper with some special tricks and discoveries. I also think these images might be great to be printed on paper, – we will publish them on FineArtAmerica. Size of originals can vary, the largest one is about 30 inches wide. We will look forward to hear your opinion about them, – here they are: http://www.sacredmurals.com/graphics.html >>
A reminder to our Australian Subscribers, especially to those, who signed for the workshop(s) in Melbourne! The first workshop begins on Monday, the 16th of January! Please, make sure you are coming relaxed, fresh and open in your thoughts&spirit, ready for the challenges and for discoveries!
Installation of our collective third exhibition “The Visions of Beauty” is scheduled to be done in the morning on Saturday, the 14th of January. Please, bring your works to participate, – the more and more – the better!
Some years ago our local art supply stores started selling few pigments from Armenia, produced by a little company named “Agulis Pigments“. We decided to check if they have a good palette and ordered couple of packages directly from them. Couple of weeks ago we got the first package and now we are glad to share such a wonderful source! The pigments are finely grinded, and the colors are beautiful and delicate. The price looks affordable, – average cost is about 10 euros for a kilo, some are cheaper and some are more expensive. I think the most expensive is about 23 euros for a kilo. There is someone selling these pigments on Amazon, but the cost is way too expensive. We hope you might like what they make, and – they speak and write english! 🙂
Today we just got from Moscow, where we helped installing one more exhibition in “Tsar’s Tower” hall at Kazansky Railway Station. This one is called “Tender Brush” because only accepted participants belonging to the beautiful half of humanity. Here I am posting some images taken during the installation process, so the position of the images and their actual color balance (it’s bad again, I know, the only solution is to come and see the Exhibition) is not 100% corresponding their actual state. This time it’s only about a dozen of my photos. Please, see them at our Flickr: >>
And last, but lot least – some New icons by Olga :