Icon Painting Workshop:


Due to construction works on the Seminary Campus the workshop is postponed to the 2018.

 Model for Icon Painting Workshop
            Icon Of Christ Emmanuel

Location: Henry Luce III Center for the Arts and Religion. Wesley Theological Seminary (4500 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC).

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Housing possibilities: see the bottom of the page.

The Workshop times:
Monday 5th - Friday 9th of June 2017, 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

One hour lunch break is planned to be at about noon. There will also be short breaks for during the day.

Workshop description:

This workshop is suitable for beginners and experienced students of iconography wishing to develop their drawing and painting skills.

The purpose of our workshops is to introduce the visual language of traditional Christian iconography and share our experience and way of thinking.

Our workshops encourage creativity and at the same time remain faithful to tradition. For example, we never trace images but instead, teach participants drawing and painting techniques practiced by the most respected iconographers of our time.

We show participants how to divide complex tasks into simple ones and the strategies required for completing work. During a five (5) day workshop participants learn to plan the painting of an icon from the first to the last step - from the general to the specific, from sketches to drawing, from drawing to painting, from one detail to the next.

Each day starts with prayer followed by a lecture and/or a practical demonstration.

Then, participants begin work on their icons with personal supervision from us. At the completion of each step, Philip gives a detailed demonstration of the next stage to the whole group. This process will be repeated until the icon is completed.

Icon writing workshop The workshop day starts at 9am, we urge punctuality in consideration of all participants.

During the day there are lectures, visual presentations, Q&A and discussions that include sharing experiences and ideas – an important forum for iconographers.

Traditionally icon painting has been performed in a focused and concentrated way without distractions such as conversation or music.This enables the icon to evolve at a slow pace enabling us to live and understand each step deep in our being; this is done best in a tranquil and silent environment.

We have selected this image of Christ Emmanuel - detail of an icon of the Mother of God Blachernitissa from the monastery of Saint Catherine on mount Sinai , because this year, we decided it's time to learn painting the face of Baby Jesus. We will dedicate some special time to study the proportions and specific highliting schedule for this type of image.

This image fits the task perfectly and provides an opportunity to learn a variety of hair construction and painting techniques. Although the image has a gilded halo, we will not be including gold work in our instruction. The only exception will be a demonstration of the “garlic juice" gilding method.

Payment options:

To see detailed information about the payment options and housing and to register for the workshop, please, follow the link: http://luceartsandreligion.org/2017-icon-writing-workshop/.

Registration payments will be refunded in full if the workshop is canceled due to lack of participation. Space is limited to 10 students. Students will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis.

Things to be taught during the Icon Painting Workshop:

  • main purposes and goals of icon painting - linking the verbal and the visual

  • to plan the image: composition, values and colors

  • to define the basic forms through free-hand drawing and painting techniques

  • to understand methods of mixing and applying the egg-tempera

  • to use basic colors, to make shadows, highlights and glazes

  • to control the finer highlights and to practice writing proper lettering on the icon

  • to apply the final varnish on the surface of the finished and dried up icon

  • Icon writing workshop

    Who should attend:

    Even though this particular workshop is mostly made for advanced level students, who have had at least some experience in icon painting, it will also be OK for beginners and anyone drawn to practical and theoretical study of Medieval art in general, including Byzantine and Early Russian. Previous experience is not required but any art background can be very helpful.

    Topics of lectures and discussions:

  • Main purposes and goals of icon painting. «Functionality» of the image.

  • Main terms: Iconography as “Theology in Color” (linking the verbal and visual). What makes iconography spiritual art? Liturgical art vs Religious art.

  • Traditional liturgical arts (icons, frescoes, manuscript illumination): differences in characteristics and requirements.

  • Parameters for drawing / under-painting.

  • Ways to identify essential characteristics for the future image (sketches and other types of preliminary visual studies).

  • Composition, - building and binding the image together.

  • Values and scales: how to make them work.

  • Professional use of: pigments (synthetic and natural), wood, gesso, gold and other materials.

  • Latest period of history of iconography in Russia (XX – XXI century)

  • Iconography as actual art: possibilities for correlation with environment and time.

  • Canon and creativity.

  • About the instructors:

    Icon writing workshop

    Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova are founders of Sacred Murals Studio (Saint Petersburg, Russia). Philip, M.A. in State Fine Art Academy of Saint Petersburg, faculty of Theory and History of Art, is a professional, second-generation iconographer with more than 15 years of experience, teaching professor at the Institute of Theology and Sacred Arts and head of Sacred Murals Studio in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Olga Shalamova, M.A. In State Fine Art Academy of Saint Petersburg, faculty of Theory and History of Art, Member of Union of artists of Russia, chief artist of embroidery workshop at Feodorovsky cathedral in Saint Petersburg, active participant of exhibitions of contemporary ecclesiastical art.

    Philip's goal and the goal of his studio is to create icons and murals within the Christian tradition, while being contemporary works of Christian sacred art. Philip shares this creative and responsible approach as well as his own experience and professional discoveries with his students at his workshops.


    To register for the workshop, please, follow the link: http://luceartsandreligion.org/2017-icon-writing-workshop/.

    For all questions regarding registration and payments please contact Amy Gray artsandreligion@wesleyseminary.edu or 202-885-8637

    Possibilities for housing:

    On campus On dormitory style housing will be available. Wesley Seminary is located at 4500 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

    Campus parking permits will be available on arrival for $25