08 November 2018

Dear Friends,

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.

Mosaic image
Mosaic image by Philip Davydov

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.

A pair of khorugvi by Olga Shalamova
A pair of khorugvi by Olga Shalamova

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 😉

Advanced Icon WorkshopIcon
Advanced Icon Workshop

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.

Kremer Pigments NY
Kremer Pigments NY

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!

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.

Harley Golden Gospels
Harley Golden Gospels

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!,

With warmest regards,
Philip (and Olga)


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