Exhibition & Manual +

Dear Friends,
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:

  1. Saints of Undivided church Exhibition in Minsk
    Saints of Undivided church Exhibition in Minsk

    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).

  2. Icon workshops in Auckland and Melbourne
    Icon workshops in Auckland and Melbourne (January 2018)

    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.

  3. Menologion of Basil the II
    Menologion of Basil the II

    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.

  4. Iconographers Manual
    Iconographers Manual

    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!

  5. After numerous recommendations we have opened an Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/sacredmurals/ and started sharing our photos.
    Welcome to subscribe, comment, like or dislike :). 
  6. And as always at the end, our latest icons:
    Icon of The Mother of God "Umilenie" (Tenderness)
    Icon of The Mother of God “Umilenie” (Tenderness)
    Icon of Christ
    Icon of Christ
    Icon of Mandylion - Image of Christ not made by Human Hands
    Icon of Mandylion – Image of Christ not made by Human Hands
    St. Alexandra of Rome
    St. Alexandra of Rome
    St Elizabeth the Martyr
    St Elizabeth the Martyr
    St Stilian
    St Stilian

    St Lev Egorov
    St Lev Egorov
The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love
The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love

To be continued 🙂

With warmest regards,
Philip and Olga

Published on: February 18, 2018

November 2017

Hello, dear Friend!,

Shepherds. Detail of Contemporary Graphic Series Nativity of Christ.
Shepherds. Detail of Contemporary Graphic Series Nativity of Christ.

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.

  1. This time instead sharing all images at the end, we will start with some and finish with some. First: Olga’s latest graphic works:

    Nativity of Christ. Contemporary Graphic Series.
    Nativity of Christ. Contemporary Graphic Series.
  2. 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…
  3.   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).
  4. Drogheria Del Zio
    “Drogheria Del Zio”

    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”.

  5. 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!

  6. Utrecht Psalter
    Utrecht Psalter

    We also wanted to share one of our latest internet discoveries, – Utrecht Psalter, available in full resolution: http://psalter.library.uu.nl/page?p=10&res=2&x=0&y=0

    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.

  7. 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

    The Holy Cross Monastery (NY) September 18-21

    The New Skete Monastery (NY) – September 25-29.

    Iconography Workshops in the USA
    Iconography Workshops in the USA


  8. Two small size icons by Philip:
    Saint Nicholas, Saving Sailors
    Saint Nicholas, Saving Sailors
    Saint Andrew and Saint Catherine
    Saint Andrew and Saint Catherine

    And more to come!

    Thank you for being our Subscriber!,
    With warmest regards,

    Philip and Olga


Dear Friend,

Exhibition in Hannover
Exhibition in Hannover

Our latest Newsletter came out in July, but news are rushing and we have to share them before they get too old. Here are some recent things we wanted you to read about and see:

First: We are SO HAPPY to spread the word about Exhibition of our friend Todor Mitrovic and his exstudent Nicola Saric in Hannover! It opened 25th of August and will be on till the 30th of November 2017. Some information can be see on the church web-site http://gartenkirche.de/ and on a flyer http://www.gartenkirche.de/dms/kg_gartenkirche_hannover/Einladung-zur-Ausstellung/Einladung%20zur%20Ausstellung.pdf?1502302317

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

Iconography workshop in New Zeland
Iconography workshop in New Zeland


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.

Visual Literacy
Visual Literacy

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 :).

Medieval Reliefs
Medieval Reliefs

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 centuries work 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,

Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova

July 2017

Dear Friend,

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.

  1. Icon Drawing Workshop in Holy Cross Monastery in West park NY
    Icon Drawing Workshop in Holy Cross Monastery in West park NY

    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.

  2. General Icon Painting Workshop
    General Icon Painting Workshop model

    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.

  3. 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)
    Rosso Pozzuoli
    Rosso Veneto
    Giallo MargheritaIII. Kremer we 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 )
    Verdaccio Chiaro
    Verdaccio Scuro
    Herculanum red
    Green Umber
    Raw UmberPigments with different or unidentifiable sources :
    1. Titanium White
    2. Shunghite
    3. Ocra Roma (Light Yellow Ochre)
    4. Golden OchreAnd hopefully there are more to come…
  4. Eight of our latest icons:
    Icon of Christ the King
    Icon of Christ the King by Philip Davydov
    Icon of Christ on red background
    Icon of Christ on red background by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of Christ 2017 by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of Christ 2017 by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of Holy Mandylion by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of Holy Mandylion by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of John the Baptist by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of John the Baptist by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of Saint Anastasia by OLga Shalamova
    Icon of Saint Anastasia by OLga Shalamova
    Icon of the Mother of God Nicopea by Olga Shalamova
    Icon of the Mother of God Nicopea by Olga Shalamova

    Icon for St. Leonid church in Il'ichevo by Philip Davydov
    Icon for St. Leonid church in Il’ichevo by Philip Davydov
  5. 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.

    Video: Varnishing the egg tempera
    Video: Varnishing the egg tempera

    Another video to share, – our Australian friend Sister of Mercy Margaret Broadbent was interviewed almost two months ago: https://vimeo.com/218884778.

    margaretInterview with iconographer Margaret Broadbent
    margaretInterview with iconographer Margaret Broadbent

    And third one is an audio interview with a gentlema, producing pigments:  http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/conversations-david-coles/8595382

  6. At our latest workshops I spoke about variety of ways reality can be rendered to become natural part of an image. Here is a good example of how one can study the garments : https://www.flickr.com/…
  7. And last but not least, – Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg has recently published their collection of icons in hight resolution, – enjoy!  http://rusmuseumvrm.ru/collections/iconography/index.php?lang=en***
    With warmest regard,
    Philip (and Olga)

Tons of Models + Workshops

Dear Friend,

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
    Iconography Workshop models to learn iconography drawing
    Iconography Drawing Workshop Models

    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 one is 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 >>


  3. A little Icon of Christ
    A little Icon of Christ

    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.

    Icon the Last Supper
    Icon the Last Supper


  4. 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!

    With war,est regards,
    Philip and Olga

March News

Dear Friends!,

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:

Contemporary Icon Transfiguration of Christ
Icon of Transfiguration of Christ by Philip Davydov

And a Last Supper by Olga Shalamova:

The Last Supper by Olga Shalamova. Egg tempera on wood.
The Last Supper by Olga Shalamova. Egg tempera on wood.

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.

Exhibition 85 years of Saint Petersburg Union of Artists
Exhibition 85 years of Saint Petersburg Union of Artists

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

Exhibition Passions of Christ in Art
Exhibition Passions of Christ in Art

Passions of Christ (March 5 – April 10).

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!

With warmest greetings and wishes!!!,

Philip and Olga

February 2017

In this Newsletter:

  • Photos from icon painting workshops in Melbourne
  • Icon workshop(s)
  • Exhibition “From the Star till the Water”
  • New icons

Dear Friends,

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.


Photographs from our last workshops (and exhibition) in ACU can be found on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/25669502@N07/albums/72157677715164470.

NEXT ONES are planned for June 2017 (Seattle and 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:

Graphic image Prophet Isaiah, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Graphic image Prophet Isaiah, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Graphic image Prophet Micah, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Graphic image Prophet Micah, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Icon of Saint Irina, 2016 by Philip Davydov
Icon of Saint Irina, 2016 by Philip Davydov
Icon of Our Lady with Christ Child for Marist Brothers, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Icon of Our Lady with Christ Child for Marist Brothers, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Icon of Christ, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Icon of Christ, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Icon of Saint John the Baptist, 2016 by Olga Shalamova
Icon of Saint John the Baptist, 2016 by Olga Shalamova

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 one, he especially loves is this one, which will include a visit to our studio:

The “Russian Icon” tour

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/

Detailed itinerary available upon request.

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry-Merry-Merry Christmas, dear friend!,

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
The Year 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 >>

Saint John the Baptist. Model for Advanced Icon Painting Workshop.II.

Today we have finalised details and now we can to announce the Advanced Icon Painting Workshop in Calgary (Canada), – we have already got some students who signed up for it, – please feel free to register >> (This time we also have a russian version of the page >>)



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 :


And Merry Christmas again!!!

Philip and Olga


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November 2016

Dear Friends,
So good to stay in one place!cleaning_lapis_step
No special events, no serious trips, just work!

In these three months we’ve been working in four different directions: – mosaics, iconography, some images on watercolor paper and copper. Besides, Olga dedicated some “free time” to purify some Lapis Lazzuli by recipe of Cennino Cennini (See the bottom of the page for a link to a good article about this fabulous substance).

And now…. almost time for the images 🙂 (Even though some will remain unpublished for a while)! But first – some practical workshop info.

Saint John the Baptist. Model for Advanced Icon Painting Workshop.AUSTRALIA – For those who registered for our 2 workshops in Melbourne: please, let us know if your circumstances change. We have some people on waiting lists and if you cancel before the 1-st of December we will be happy to make a full refund.

USA We finally announce our Advanced Icon Painting Workshop for June 2017 in the USA, – it’s Gage Academy of Art again (Seattle WA) and registration has already began: http://www.sacredmurals.com/icon-writing-course-seattle-wa.htm. Please, note, we have 10% discount for returning students! And make sure to let us know if you have any questions!

Tumbled Glass Mosaic Altar Table in Saint Leonid Church
First – most monumental ones: – in September we continued our work in St. Leonid church in Saint Petersburg region and covered altar table with tumbled glass mosaics: http://sacredmurals.com/mosaics-saint-leonid…

We used the same type of tumbled glass as on the wall, but this time we put tiles closer to each other to make surface more consistent. The colors and tones instead are more muted. The goal was to underline a special meaning of altar table in the church space, but not to make it too bright.
Mosaic cross on the eastern side of the altar table at st Leonid churchWe have to be very careful about existing visual balance of the interior, bringing every new component in harmony with the image of the Mother of God and with the peacocks in the altar apse.

The next two steps should be the Royal and Diakonicon gates and the two main icons on both sides of the altar. We hope and pray God that the work in this church may be continued and brought to a harmonious but powerful result. This little church interior may become a great place for services and prayers in inner peace.

Just yesterday we discovered, that one of Olga’s icons has many times been exhibited but never published at the website. Here it finally is, – the Transfiguration, painted by Olga Shalamova in 2012:
Icon of Transfiguration by Olga Shalamova

Philip’s icons are put in chronological order. The Nativity of Christ was painted last summer. As you see, the background is a kind of a blueish-grey, and the main color of the mountains has a similar hue, so somehow naturally we started to call this icon a “Winter Nativity”. We are sure most of our correspondents can easily identify it’s main model, but since the actual image is realized in a different technique and it is almost a meter high, Philip decided to make it in a more detailed way. By the way, we’ve uploaded it to “FineArtAmerica“, so, hope you might consider it as an option for your Christmas cards:
Icon Nativity of Christ

A 82 cm (33 inches high)  Crucifix, commissioned almost two years ago by a little parish of prisoners in Perm’ region of Russia:


Icon Harrowing of Hell was made to have one more chance to “speak” about the Redemption. The previous version was good, but the new one is hopefully more powerful.
Icon Harrowing of Hell

And the last image we present this time is icon of Annunciation. And also in this time it is a version of a “Blue Annunciation”, but this time Philip used some local mineral fluorite , which brought up such a wonderful color.
Icon of Annunciation


This seems to be all for the moment, – yet no new conferences or exhibitions to share.

Thank you very time for your time and your interest to our Newsletter!
We look forward to publish more special things in the Christmas Issue……… 🙂

With warmest regards,
Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova

P.S. An article about lapis lazzuli by renowned authority David Margulies

August 2016

Link to the Newest Newsletter:



August 2016

Dear Friends,

That was a loooong silence, – sorrrrry! So much going on, NO time for typing 🙁

_DSC9637_cr_2And it’s the middle of August already! Started to put together the text and images for publishing… – it’s simply too much for a “Letter” in it’s usual form. What to do, we added WordPress module to our website, for our news to be cooked in a better oven.
(Yes, – they are still too many for one Newsletter, I just hope you may check the sections gradually, one after another, especially since there almost 2 hundreds of photos)…
So, here they are in chronological order:

    1.  exhibition_and_workshop_in_abingdon02Last May Olga and myself were invited to make an exhibition of icons and teach an icon workshop in Saint Helen’s church in Abingdon (Oxfordshire, UK).Right for the exhibition Olga painted 5 icons of Early British Saints, one of which was donated to Saint Helen’s parish as a sign of our gratitude. You can see icons individually in a special album, or click the photograph on the right to see them at Saint Helen’s.
    2. 12274471_10203886999214226_4606563841399491656_nRight after Britain we have finally completed an article, dedicated to Exhibition of Contemporary Iconographers of Russia and it was published in Orthodox Arts Journal. The OAJ editors informed me it had lots of views, from our side I just have to say it was a hard work even to put together all these most simple words about such an ambiguous. I have also posted some photos at our Flickr, and use this moment to say I am sorry for the color balance on them, – lighting was bad indeed!
    3. icon_painting_workshops_usa_2016_002In the middle of June we had two scheduled icon painting workshops in the USA, and this was as always a great experience for us. First was in Wesley Seminary (Washington DC, for the third time) and second in Gage Academy of Arts (Seattle WA). I uploaded photos to Flickr to show them larger- https://www.flickr.com/photos/25669502@N07/albums/7215766954437647
    4. Overwhelming quantity of trips and different events was not good for thoughtful icon painting process, so we made a tumbled glass image of a peacock (with Lev’s help), that brought an idea of adding special “mosaic” section to our “Gallery of Murals” – (right below the frescoes). Picture on the right shows the working process, click it to see more.
    5. _DSC9733In the middle of July we were invited to an event near Moscow, called “Laboratorio de Arte Sacra” (because originally this initiative was started by some italian artists in Sicily) – a conference, combined with an exhibition. The participants were mostly artists from Russia with a group of the Italians, who also showed their artworks, architectural projects and shared thoughts. There were lots of icons, mosaics and other images and projects demonstrated, great thoughts discussed: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25669502@N07/albums/72157669560668483
    6. Contemporary-christian-art-russia-july-2016-087Right after this conference Olga and myself visited were honored to visit studio of Irina Zaron and Sergej Antonov. After that – a couple of churches in Moscow, decorated by a famous mosaic master Alexander Kornoukhov, so i decided to put all these images together to keep together contemporary Christian art – 117 photos in total:
    7. _DSC3283Few days after this trip we visited our Fine Art Academy classmate Svetlana Sorokina, who is our old friend, being also a great old fan of Romanesque art, and currently living in France. Her family hosted us and lended us a car, so we had a wonderful opportunity to visit numerous Romanesque churches, see medieval frescoes and carved tympans for almost three weeks.romanesque_images-043I have uploaded just a few, – please, let me know if among our subscribers there is any serious interest to their most powerful expression and spirituality…
      And if the interest is serious, I am happy to say, that  we know another person with same love to Romanesque art, and happily he also is a good tour guide! – Here is a little text I am happy to share if anyone wants to see this art in situ.
    8. romanesque_images-008Our friend and Sacred art fan fr. Ilya gotlinsky is planning an icon trip to Russia and trip of Romanesque monuments in Europe in season of 2017. He would like to know how much interest there is as he is currently working on the schedule of his travels for next year. For detail please contact him directly at gotlinsky@msn.com. All updates will be eventually posted to his website www.orthodoxtours.com. all of fr. Ilya’s trips are open to all. He is looking for a fruitful and edifying collaboration with our studio and our students. We personally would like to recommend him as a good friend and courteous and reliable professional we have dealt with.
    9. At the end a little diptych of wedding icons by Philip Davydov, painted in spring but only published now:
    10. And at this moment I finally say a Good by. Thank you for your time and patience and hope you enjoyed reading and watching! Please, let us know your opinion, questions and comments!With warmest regards,
      Philip Davydov (and Olga Shalamova)
      19 August 2016.