Australia Rules!

Dear Friend,
We have some workshop announcements but … I can’t help it!

First I shall praise our colleagues and friends Australian iconographers! It’s an unbelievable coincidence, to have so many events in a row, but they are all the fruit of much long and hard work. CONGRATULATIONS!  And here are the reasons for such praise (in the chronological order the news reached us):

A Celebration of Living Light. Exhebition and a Reception
A Celebration of Living Light. Exhebition and a Reception

First: an Exhibition and Reception “A Celebration of Living Light” at the Mercy Mission, Spirituality and Action Hub in North Carlton, Victoria. The exhibition was attended by a large number of Sisters and guests. The work of four Australian iconographers: Margaret Broadbent RSM Margaret McHugh RSM, Pauline Pervan RSM and Mrs Alice Vaughan.

We know that it took a very long time to get everything ready, but we are happy to hear that all went well. The photographs and a video are available here.

Icon exhibition Images of the Divine in Canberra. Sue Orchison (in red) who organised things, Richard Charlwood and Apostolic Nuncio, Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana.
Icon exhibition in Canberra. Sue Orchison Richard Charlwood and Apostolic Nuncio, Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana.

Second: About 80 people attended the opening, and several hundred guests in total saw The Images of the Divine, an exhibition organized by Sue Orchison displaying the work of 17 iconographers. 70 icons were produced and shown at the administration centre of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Australia. Some photographs from the opening are available on Sue’s  Facebook Page, and her speech can be seen and read  on her website:  https://www.thelittlegate.com/

We are very happy and proud of our friends and students’ progress. Olga and I both appreciate and know how hard it is to progress and move forward so successfully!

Eastern Iconography in the contemporary Protestant West
Eastern Iconography in the contemporary Protestant West

Third: this news is less visual and rather verbal. However, we consider it may have great importance for all of us, especially in the long run.

This morning I received a letter arrived from Peter Blackwood, Australia. He was invited to a conference where he gave a lecture: Eastern Iconography in the Contemporary West.  Peter kindly agreed for us to share the text of his speech on our website. It has been added to our text collection and we hope you will gain some important insights and knowledge from it.

Corsi fi iconografia a Milano Italia
Corsi fi iconografia a Milano Italia

Fourth: future workshops

The first ones will be in Italy. Continuing on from last year’s “Corso di Perfezionamento” there will be two courses at the beginning of September. The first one is for those who have professionally worked in iconography for a number of years, and the second one is for other students who have just started on their journey in iconography.

It’s been almost 20 years since I last went to Italy as my father’s workshop interpreter and assistant, and it came around again! Last year I was contacted by some of his students who want to continue their education. I attempted it last year as a special challenge – to figure out the most crucial problems, and share the solutions with the “veterans”, who know almost everything. But what inspires me is that, even though they are so experienced, they are still open and still want to learn!

The US workshops are steadily filling up, and it looks like we are going to have both groups in September. At the New Skete (with the icon of “Angel with Golden Hair” as the chosen image) and at the Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, where we will continue a series of lectures on icon drawing.

At last, but not least, finally … so late, what a shame!! we can announce our January workshops in Melbourne!

Icon of Our Lady Igorevskaya for Icon Painting Workshop
Icon of Our Lady Igorevskaya for Icon Painting Workshop

We are really sorry for the delay. However, it took us a while to figure out what should be taught to people, who organize their exhibitions and lead their own icon schools all over Australia!

After discussing possible topics, and trying to find the answer for months, here it is:

The first one (as always) will be open to everyone. The chosen image is the icon of the Mother of God “Igorevskaya”. This means that students will have to study and paint two large faces, but we feel this is doable.

Model for Icon Painting Workshop Image of Crucifix
Model for Icon Painting Workshop Image of Crucifix

The second will actually be a double one.  It is has been chosen for those students who have previously painted icons.

We have to confess, it’s for the first time ever that we have decided to make a workshop as a two-session series with one model, and we are very excited about this.

We will use an image of the Crucifix for painting an icon of the Crucified Christ without other figures. However, both sessions are planned to include many studies and research results,  so we are sure it will be a fruitful time.

The plan is to work seriously, i.e. with lots of investigations and routine discoveries, so that the whole workshop could be experienced as a real immersion in a professional iconographer’s work. Please share this opportunity with others you may know who would like to join us.

The gessoed boards for the workshop icons will be made in the form of a cross. We have planned this so that these icons, when they are finished and varnished, can be used for church or personal veneration. We believe it will be a valuable practice and inspiration for everybody.

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Mosaic detail for iconostasis
Mosaic detail for iconostasis

To finish all the practical news, we will only share one tumbled stone and glass mosaic image as our fresh “production”. It’s a small section of a future iconostasis decoration by Philip Davydov. Other images are still in the planning stages.

Olga and I are both immersed in extensive projects which should be finished within several weeks or a couple of months.

Thank you very much for being our valued subscribers!

With warmest regards,
Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova

A short one

Dear Friend

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.

Icon writing course model. Drawing the Full Figure.
Icon writing course model. Drawing the Full Figure.

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.

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Mosaic for iconostasis
Mosaic for iconostasis

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!
Yours sincerely,
Philip and Olga

July 2018

Pontifex University
Pontifex University

Dear Friends,
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
    Icon drawing workshop
    Icon drawing workshop

    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.

Sacred Murals Studio Instagram Incorporated

  • 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:

Annunciation icon
Annunciation icon

Multiplication of bread and fish
Multiplication of bread and fish

Contemporary Image of Crucifix
Contemporary Image of Crucifix

Icon of Mandylion
Icon of Mandylion

Tumbled Glass and Marble Mosaic
Tumbled Glass and Marble Mosaic

Icon of Holy Mandylion
Icon of Holy Mandylion

More  – later!

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With warmest regards,

Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova