It is Good Friday for some of you and for others it’s still the profound time of Lent. We will not say anything special except that we feel deeply compassionate about the tragedy with Notre Dame cathedral. May God help the restorers and guide their hands in a good way!
I am sending out this Newsletter because I promised to announce two workshops in the USA I was unpredictably asked to make some days ago.
THE FIRST one this time will be at the New Skete Monastery, where we will paint the Angel with Golden Hair. (Here is the description on our website: http://sacredmurals.com/…workshops_new.html Last year we had good responses about the location – it’s a remote Orthodox monastery with beautiful hills and a very special church. Last year we all enjoyed the meals with the brothers and the contemporary chants at the services. We all thought it was a rare opportunity to live in an enthusiastic monastic community. The climate and atmosphere of the place were very peaceful and prayerful at all levels. The only problem is it can’t be easily reached by public transport. However, if you need a hand getting there, hopefully we can find a solution together.
THE SECOND one continues the series of Drawing workshops in
the Holy Cross Monastery in West Park.
Compared to last year, it’s at the next level. We will draw a full figure. It’s a four day course but, as always, the time will be fully packed. We will do all kinds of exercises in drawing and form building (see the description: http://sacredmurals.com/icon-painting-workshop-ny.htm so that one can feel really confident in drawing the standing figures after this workshop. It’s made for those who would like to step up from tracing, as well as those who have already done lots of freehand drawing. This time we will study the coherence between the forms of human anatomy and the rendering of the human shapes required for an icon.
It’s our third workshop at the Holy Cross Monastery and I am happy to go there again and again. The solemnity of the services, and the very architecture of the church building, provide an inspiring sense of the monastic tradition, which has been kept from the time of the first church fathers to the monks of our time.
And … I cannot share any photos of our new icons because we are still in the process of creating them. For now I will only share my latest mosaic experiment, which I plan to use in an iconostasis soon. As you will see in the photos, I decided not to finish it because it was just a prototype – to assess the unique qualities of the technique. Hope in a month or two to show more finished pieces and hear your responses.
Thank you very much for your time and your interest in our work and workshops!
Philip and Olga
Life is a great gift and every single day has a bunch of new opportunities, – tempting and waiting for us to explore them. Olga and I – each of us was carried away in a new direction. Olga continues her researches with fabrics (photos below) and I am inspired to combine classic ancient technique of mosaic with tumbled glass.
The image on the right is about 24 inches high and it was the first anthropomorphous mosaic piece. This was a totally new experience of combining traditional technique of little tesserae with larger irregular pieces of tumbled glass, but I feel that it helps to enhance the power of the image. This work itself brought me a bunch of discoveries about art principles in general. and it did not come out exactly what I expected, but it taught me a lot of new skills and drills.
The process itself – dealing with pure colors, textures, and rhythm is incredibly inspiring and we hope to continue sharing it at our website and a designated Mosaic Instagram account. The research is continued and there I am sure that the next one will be better.
Now it is 10 years since Olga started volunteering at our parish embroidery studio. She was invited to make drawings and to set up the integrity of the vestments, choosing appropriate fabrics, threads, stitches, and other details. After drawing, projecting and planning several vestments Olga decided to make some herself, applying a wide range of printing techniques on traditional hand-made fabric. The image on the right is a pair of orthodox banners (Khorugvi) with the central part made by Olga and frame with hanging parts produced by Yaroslav Starodubtsev’s team.
Inspired by immense possibilities Olga continues to work on other projects, similar and larger. If you wish to keep an eye on the process, it may be a reason to subscribe – the photos are posted as the work goes on.
P.S. If you feel your church or home might need a liturgical image on fabric or a mosaic, commissions are accepted with a great pleasure 😉
3. PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE WORKSHOPS
In August – September we have had 4 workshops: 1 in Italy and 3 the US. It’s been a challenge to set up so many different programs and to make so many trips, – but (glory to Our Lord!), all went well.
Now it’s time to choose new models for the new workshops for the next year. It’s very likely that we are going to have some iconography workshops in different locations and a new thing -a true fresco workshop in Wesley Seminary in June 2019. Planning is a hard and a long work, but we promise, – as soon as we have any news we will share them.
In the meantime, 2 of the 3 of our announced workshops in Melbourne (Australia) are full, and there are only a few spots left for the last one, which is dedicated to assist gilding.
4. COLOR CHARTS
As promised, I visited the Kremer store in NYC and finally publish a color chart, – scanned from my own album of charts. I hope to publish more next time and make a kind of a palette eventually, but now I only share our favorite colors, – the most complex and rich. Yes, these are the colors we used and mentioned at all of our workshops earlier this year. These pigments for us are the most interesting now because they contain shades of different colors and therefore wonderfully “complete” other possible colors used in the image.
In CAPITAL letters I wrote the number (if any) and the name of the brand, and below – “commercial names” of the pigments.
I checked the names with online catalogs of KREMER , KREIDEZEIT and ZECCHI, and I was really happy to discover both Verdaccios – it’s on the list again!
5. BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR ICONOGRAPHERS
It’s been a while we promised to publish a Bibliography for iconographers. It was still January when we received two lists from two very dedicated iconographers, who’s names I should probably not list for the reason of privacy. Since that time I always wanted to take my time to review and make a long list myself, but – yet did not make it. Well, let’s make it a “collective mind” project, – like the “Manual“, which is made together as well.
Therefore I hope, that this current version of Bibliography (available at http://sacredmurals.com/texts/bibliography.pdf ) can be taken as a little base for an extensive development.
We invite you and all our subscribers to share with us the titles of your most favorite books so we add them and share with everybody. Please consider, that these should be most decent and serious studies, as well as uncomplicated and well reasoned original books. They should help people to enter the world of Christian iconography and to see right benchmarks and values right from their very first steps.
We also plan this to be a hub for professionals to share and obtain information about the best texts, helping to understand their work in a deeper way.
6. ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT
As you probably know, I love sharing resources. This time it’s a IX century English manuscript, known as “Harley Golden Gospels”, digitized in British Library. Click the link: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Harley_MS_2788 , click the “empty page” and use little arrows on the top right to navigate. Hope you find something for inspiration!
Wishing everybody lots of creative energy and time for it!,
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: