Testimonials 2005-2017

(See latest testimonials here)

Advanced Icon Workshop in Melbourne (23-28 January 2017)
Dear Olga and Philip
Thank you for the photos, they look really good, especially the ones on Flickr. By the way, here is a link to my Flickr photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/110337459@N08/

Your email reminds me that you asked for comment on the workshop, so here are some quick thoughts. I have written it as a kind of testimonial in case you want to use it for promotions. I think the teaching style with movement from lecture to demonstration to doing with personal instruction is exactly right. It was good having Olga demonstrating. It worked really well hearing her explain in Russian and Philip translating, more comfortable for everyone. Learning from Philip and Olga is stimulating, enriching and challenging. This was not my first workshop, nevertheless the sessions were still fresh. We were fed with a constant flow of helpful insights, so exciting. So what was challenging? Well when you have been painting for 13 years, especially when a group of people look to you to teach this ancient craft, it comes as a shock to be corrected by your teacher all the time. Following instructions and unlearning old habits is hard. But it was worthwhile because I experienced two important things. Correction is always given by Olga and Philip so generously and lovingly. Secondly and very importantly, I think I did learn new skills that will improve by painting. It seemed to me that each of us in the class was being taken to his or her next level of competence.

Since the workshop I have had three days of teaching and I have had made some radical changes to the way our Icon School begins to teach new members to paint their first icon. We have 7 new members this semester.
Thanks again for a wonderful week. Hope you enjoyed Sydney.
Very warm regards



Dear Philip and Olga,
all the photos are wonderful. It is exciting to see them and remember the week spent with you and the class. Thank you for sending them to me. I enjoyed meeting with familiar class members and renewing acquaintances, several of whom I have kept in contact with over the past two years since our first class together. I appreciate very much your feedback. You give constructive criticism which is blanketed in praise. This is a great gift - congratulations. I have not finished John the Baptist as I am still working on 'The ******** '. The class has given me the courage to continue with the faces, hands and feet. Thank you. See attached.
I found the handouts you gave were sufficient. Olga demonstrated beautifully what you explained, Philip. The progressive photos which I took of Olga's Icon was sufficient for me to understand the process and what was being asked of us.
Many thanks for your dedication and care.
Kind regards



Greetings from very hot ***!
I learnt so much in this class, and I especially appreciated all the time spent in composition Not only are you both very talented and generous with your time, but you are both lovely people to know! I look forward to next year


Hi Philip and Olga

.... I do want to tell you that in thirty years of university lecturing, attending workshops and more recently painting, your icon painting was the best course that I have ever done. Your presentation of the ideas and history of icons was extremely interesting, well paced and beautifully illustrated. The demonstrations of technique at the front of the class were clear and concise. The technical help from Olga was very useful and the whole experience was positive. I hope to be able to join you again for the second class.

Kind regards



Dear Olga & Philip,
Just a note to thank you for the valuable instruction last week. It is all still whirling around in my mind.
I liked drawing the image of St John and getting that image correct; the discipline of watching, the doing and correcting.
The photos last year were valuable too and I noticed that painters with ipads could take the demonstration image back to their easels to work from resulting in more accurate images. However for a lazy painter your teaching made me listen, watch and think before doing. Hooray!I hear you both say. I loved Olga's demonstrations and additional comments. Your Russian has a lovely lilt and I begin to understand the extent of your preparation for these classes in English.
Thank you and may 2017 bring you both joy and contentment in beautiful St Petersburg.
With fond regards


Icon Workshop in Melbourne (16-20 January 2017)

Hi Philip and Olga,
It is indeed by God's grace that I got to participate in your workshop in January, making for a wonderful start to the artistic year.
As an artist, I have always lamented the fact that I don't do people well. For years, I prayed that the Lord would reveal His face to me in my paintings. The Lord has gifted me with that and more - not only did I leave with an image of Jesus that I am proud of, but He revealed His face to me through your gentleness, generosity and wisdom.
The philosophy shared through the lectures deepen and affirm my own thoughts of what it means to be an artist, and to produce icons, that the experience of beauty leads one to a God encounter. Your thoughtful approach to creativity and respect for places and people have given me the confidence to work with greater contextual awareness and from a place of authenticity.
The demonstrations were very helpful as it provided an insight into the thought processes and approaches a professional iconographer takes. The skills and techniques you shared are very workable. With excellent teaching on your part, I got to enjoy success.
Practice with a heart of gratitude is the way forward.
God bless you both in all your endeavours,
L.* V.*


Dear Philip and Olga,
I also wish to thank you both for a wonderful course and very enjoyable week learning the basics of icon painting. I found the information very interesting and relevant and the whole experience quite inspirational (and character forming).
I should love to do another course with you, time permitting, as this is giving me the means and tools for communicating spiritually when I paint.
Vozrodit' khristianskogo iskusstva i kul'tury J

Yours sincerely,



Hello Philip and Olga,
I would like to thank you both for the wonderful workshop and the individual assistance you gave me. I am very proud of my icon and I enjoyed very much following an artistic pursuit which has opened up a new world for me. I would definitely like to do another workshop next year so please let me know when you have the details. I don't want to miss out!
Best wishes,



Hi Philip,
I hope both you and Olga are enjoying your time in Melbourne and not working too hard!
I just wanted to thank both of you for the workshop last week. I really enjoyed it immensely and I learnt so much more than I was expecting. I especially enjoyed your lectures, and I actually think you should put some of them on YouTube so that I can view them again!
As a graphic designer my training has always been in making artwork which is aesthetically pleasing, and graphically "perfect". And as a result of this training even my personal art practice has always been to make something pretty/pleasing to look at, rather than meaningful. It wasn't until hearing you speak from your experience that I began to question "why" I should work this way. and yes, I think you are 100% correct! Unless an artwork has a story or message to tell it is really rather boring! There is absolutely no need for me to waste hours reproducing something to photographic perfection, that is what a camera is for! I'm looking forward to really considering exactly "what" I want to say from now on, and producing artwork which feels more alive and meaningful, as well as producing graphic design projects I can be proud of.
Thank you again for offering me this new point of view. It truly has changed my approach to my art practice, my work, and my way of viewing art. And I only wish someone had helped me understand this concept years ago.
I look forward to meeting you again soon, and following your adventures on Facebook :) wishing you both a safe trip home.

With kind regards,



Thank you Philip and Olga!
The workshop was excellent. A perfect balance of teaching and practice. I also enjoyed the short animated films you showed. It was truly a pilgrimage for me. I started my journey excited and full of energy and along the way faced many challenges. At times, I wondered if I could make it. I questioned my ability, my worthiness, my commitment. Gradually my image of Christ emerged. And there he was, looking back at me as I looked at him. Quite profoundly moving. I see him everyday now and am reminded of my pilgrimage in having created his image. I plan to continue my discoveries. I am reading a short book called The Icon by Michel Quenot. It is a very nice overview with with a number of good photographs. And I would like to paint more, as well. Thank you for adding me to your mailing list. I look forward to seeing your newsletters. I hope we meet again in another workshop.
Best regards,


Dear Philip and Olga,
Firstly, I wish to thank you both for the amazing week that you gave us all, learning, delight, anguish, inspiration, wonder, feeling "lost" at times; a wonderful and very intensive five day period in our lives!!
***, *** and I all felt totally exhausted when we arrived to our respective homes, and for many days afterward. For many nights I was unable to sleep without dreaming of Icons and of painting them (still happening sometimes). ***, , *** and I have had an initial sharing, with our small group, of some of our experiences during that week, far too much to be able to share with them, other than over a lengthy period of time!!
I have finally completed entry of the notes that I took during the workshop, with photos of the different stages of our work. They will be an invaluable resource for us as we continue painting our Icons.
Given the intensity of our own experience, I was relieved to hear you say that you would not again aim for each student to complete an Icon during the week (however, we were very thankful to have had that experience ourselves!!). Given the prayerful nature of Icon painting, I found it extremely difficult to "perform" at such speed; at times I felt a bit like a child of whom too much was expected too quickly. Some of the thoughts that you shared, of possibly concentrating on the face only, or on hands or appropriate colour combinations within an Icon etc., sounded very good. I also wondered about having a longer period of time concentrating on the actual composition of the Icon, with regard to spacing, colour, how to ensure that an Icon with more than one person in it is, nevertheless, able to draw the eye to the main subject of the Icon. Whatever you decide, I am sure that we will find it extremely helpful to our learning!! ...
With very best wishes to you both, and great appreciation for all that you have given us,


Dear Philip,
I hope you & Olga have got over the jet lag. I would just like to say how much I loved the Icon Workshop. 1. I am VERY GLAD I was forced to draw! I now see how important it is & I'll keep up with it, whether I'm working on an icon or not.
2. I'm also very very glad we went through the whole process & completed the icon. I know it could be said that it was "too much" for one week, but I found it was wonderful for my confidence as I feel I now know where I'm going.
Before, every painting session was a step in the dark, & it was a great effort just to get started each time. Personally, I'd like to complete several icons & then go to specialist workshops on particular topics, but I dare say that is because I'm a beginner & more experienced icon writers might prefer to concentrate on particular aspects.
Thank you both very very much. With fondest good wishes,


Hi Philip and Olga
Firstly I would like to thank both of you for the tremendous teaching I received last week. I never expected to gain so many opportunities to learn and absorb such a clear and concise approach to iconography. I have stumbled in the dark for some years. But thanks to you both I now have a system of approach and an understanding of each step and its purpose.
It was an added bonus to be able to view your beautiful icons so full of both mastery of skill and divine inspiration.
I appreciated very much your systemic approach and the way the demonstration followed each talk. Above all, the great blessing for me, personally, was being able to watch both of you correcting my errors and following the way you held the brush and used it at such close range. I believe I learnt so much. Thank you.
I was not exhausted as you suggested some students were. If at the end of the day and week I was ready for a rest that is only to be expected and a sign that my focus had been where it ought to have. So I have no complaints in that area. I was just so grateful to get as much instruction as possible.
I do hope you are able to return to Melbourne in the near future. I would be enthusiastic to attend your workshops on any topic. I think your suggestion of tackling specific parts of the process, rather than the impossible task of reaching completion of the whole process, is a sensible choice. I am sure you will make the right decision.

May God continue to bless you both with such treasured gifts.

Best wishes


Dear Philip and Olga
Thank you so very much for your teaching/ guidance and passion for Iconography.
Although I have had some experience but learnt so much.
It was a very good discipline to complete an icon in the 5 days because it kept us very focussed on the purpose of the workshop.
Wrinkly children do need a challenge to listen and learn !
My Art training lies in the area of Printing so the design aspect of icons was most provoking and yet exciting.
Now to finish our icon to do you proud.
I trust your trip home to St Petersburg was comfortable and the cold bearable. It is an amazing and beautiful city.
Thank you both again


Hi Philip and Olga

I hope the second week of the icon painting course went well! As promised, I'm emailing with some feedback on the East and West course.
I was really pleased with the content of your course and the step by step methodology of different ways to paint an icon using egg tempera. The course was logically set out and I thought you made it more energetic and interesting by swapping between demonstration, painting and lectures in the exhibition space. It was also great being able to see an exhibition of your own work.
You are both great tutors, being very patient and also encouraging. It was good sometimes when you took over for a bit on my icons so I could see the confidence with which you painted and how I could paint a certain part better. I felt the course was excellent value for money and I have told everyone how impressed I was and how it exceeded my expectations.
I also really appreciated that you both were happy to answer the questions I had about your own work and practice. I also liked the fun non-icon animation/videos you showed.
The only constructive point I have is just to do with having a few more short breaks during the day. A couple of times I had to duck to the bathroom and missed some of the demonstrations.
Thanks again for a really good week. I learnt a lot about iconography and now feel I understand the reasons behind it much better.
Very best regards,
L* K*


Dear Philip-Thank you for e-mailing me [the photograph of myself] holding the icon WE painted. I shared it with my family and they were impressed. They think I did it !. You asked me for feedback- First of all I was very happy I got into the class on such short notice-. I feel fortunate that it was a small class. One negative: since the class was from 9aaAM-5PM- I expected lunch to be provided or at least a footnote saying "lunch is on your own." I found the college cafeteria overpriced since it was one price for all you could eat [ $13 - added by Philip Davydov] -they didn't make allowances for small appetites . The class itself was well organized-your lecture and slides were well placed to break up the hours (draw/paint--/listen--/watch). Unfortunately for me, my "alert time" is very weak at 1PM and I know I dozed and missed some important thoughts.Therefore, for students like me, it would help if you offered a "hand out" with some of the facts you talked about. I would have reviewed tthem on my own time during the week. I would like to attempt a pictue of Mary as in 'Our Lady of Perpetual Help', a very popular icon for my family as well as the 'signature' painting of the Redemptorist Fathers. I'm sorry I missed the Icon exhibit in DC that Teresa and Yvonne mentioned.Had I known about it I think I could have gone. You said it would be at least a year before you'd travel again to teach I'll keep as eye out for future classes. I enjoyed meeting you and have the highest rspect for your artistic ability.
Sincerely, N.V.*


Altar Panel by Olga Shalamova

It is lovely to see little touches being introduced into the Chapel. Yesterday, the "Icon of the Incarnation" was installed. This is found in the south ambulatory, over a flock of birds that carry our prayers to heaven. The icon is spectacular. The wisdom of the Eternal Word is captured in the older Jesus sitting on his mother's lap. From the Annunciation to the Presentation, it tells the story of the Incarnation. The artist is Olga Shalamova; she is from St. Petersburg and combines a deep adherence to the traditional form of Orthodox iconography with creativity and artistic precision.
We will add a stock of candles and create a space worthy of prayer and meditation. Meanwhile on this day, we pause and marvel at this remarkable image with such theological depth and beauty. It really is quite exceptional.
I invite everyone on this Holy Wednesday to make a journey to the icon and pause and say a prayer. Art raises the soul; and this piece does this remarkably well.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President

Original source: http://www.vts.edu/podium/default.aspx?t=204&nid=971690

Icon Painting Workshop in ACU (January 2015)

Dear Philip and Olga,
I'm sorry it's taken so long to send this email. Life has been so busy, since I returned from Melbourne!
Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into a challenging and wonderful Workshop. It was challenging because you encouraged us to go back to the "basics" of iconography. They should not be clones of fragments from the past, not copies. They should connect us to something more, something beyond the image. You also encouraged us to consider how the icon is incorporated into the surrounding environment. Your talks and slideshows were a break from the intensive painting and drawing. They were very informative. It was also great to be able to get back into egg tempera. I haven't had the time to practise and reinforce all that I learnt from you both, but I intend to in May,after Pascha. I hope you and your family are all well.



Hi Phillip and Olga,

feedback as requested. I have run classes in enamelling, so I know how much work goes into the organising of a class so it runs smoothly. Coming from an art background, but not having painted for 20 years, I had no preconceived ideas of what to expect. I liked the way you had a plan and stuck to it. In particular, I appreciated the way you started the day with slides, and indeed breaking up the day with more slides and discussions.

The week was a real challenge for me, since I normally work very small. With help from you and Olga I feel I succeeded in gaining a basic idea of how to proceed. I feel confident enough to finish off the drawings, tackling the Angel first. I have ordered some pigments, and expect them by the end of next week. The week was well balanced, and in my opinion it would be very hard to improve. I enjoyed the week, thank you.


Advanced Icon Painting Course in ACU (January 2015)

Dear Philip and Olga

The week I spent with you at the Advanced Icon Workshop in Melbourne this January was an important stage in my development as an iconographer. There has been so much to remember and appreciate. Of course refining the skills of our craft, building the image on the board rather than copying a cartoon, using a very dry brush, mixing delicate variations in the highlights these have radically changed my ways of painting. I also appreciated what you had to say about representing an ancient tradition in our own culture and context, having a more critical eye to composition, colours and values.

Your teaching style suits my learning style very well, moving from lecture to demonstration to personal execution, building stage by stage.

Thank you both for a helpful and memorable week. I look forward to seeing you again next January.

Warm regards



Hi Philip and Olga,

As requested I am providing feedback on my week in Melbourne with you both.

You will be pleased to hear that it is overwhelmingly positive. I am a school teacher and therefore appreciate the effort that you put into the planning and structure of each day. You have clearly thought about timing, variety, equipment and the knowledge that we required. Your request to see what students could do prior to the week clearly allowed you to pitch the days to the needs of the students. You provided a wonderful week. It is easily the best art workshop that I have ever completed. Olga's quiet assistance and expertise was also most valuable.

Small areas for improvement would be providing the name of the icons where possible and perhaps a different panel. One of mine is already warped perhaps because I washed paint of rather than sanding. I realise that boards are difficult to source in Australia.

Many thanks,


Iconography Course in Wesley Seminary (Washington DC, USA) June 2014

Dear Philip,

...I enjoyed our workshop very much and am very glad to have met you. I appreciated the wealth of information you offered us. The lectures were, if anything, too short because they were so interesting, but I know you were trying to give us as much time as possible with our work. Having the icons on view in the gallery was fantastic. I also appreciated the simple quiet tone in the studio and all the personal help you offered us. Please keep me on your mailing list for further workshops.
If you receive a cancellation and have space in the True Fresco course in Canada, please let me know.
Yours truly,
G.J. 07 July.


An article - response of Cathy Abbott, Arlington District Superintendent, Virginia Conference, United Methodist Church


Dear Philip,

Once again, thank you for a wonderful workshop. I learned many important things from you that will help me not only if I paint another icon, but in my own work as a contemporary artist. Your approach to iconography and to teaching is completely compatible with what we are trying to do at the Luce Center for the Arts and Religion, and I am delighted that we have found one another. ......
many blessings,
D. June 28.


Iconography Course in Melbourne (Australia) January 2014

good morning Philip,
thank you for a fantastic week. It was my holiday and I dont think I have ever come back so enriched or relaxed fby a holiday. I still see the icon on the easel when I close my eyes at nighjt. Thank you for the 'working drawing'. ... Thank you for the most fun I have had in a very long time
LV January 2014


Icon workshop in Saint Mary's City (MD, USA) July 2013

Hi Philip,
I just wanted to say thank you again for another wonderful workshop. I find that each time I have participated in the workshop, I go home more confident as I understand the things I need to improve at (which is everything) and also the progress I have made so far. I think, after some practice, that I may even be able to get those eyes just right next time!
The Lord bless you!
HS* July 14


Iconography Workshop in Hamilton (ON, Canada) July 2013

Philip, I just want to thank you for organizing the workshop here in Hamilton and for unselfishly sharing all your knowledge with us. You are an excellent teacher and it was my pleasure to be part of your group. Im looking forward to see you next year again!!!
BI* July 7


Icon courses in ACU (Melbourne, Australia) January 2013

Dear Philip, Thank you for the wonderful course you gave us. I got a lot out of it, and it has put my own arts practise on a new level. ...... I am a visual arts teacher in a primary school setting and we teach creative thinking/higher order thinking and visual literacy as part of the visual arts curriculum........ the school would like me to do icon painting with the senior students as they will be preparing for their confirmation this year, so all your teaching will be very useful. Very best wishes for a rich and fulfilling new year and hopefully I will attend again next year.


My dearest Philip and Olga,......
Philip please accept my sincere heartfelt thanks for the wonderful journey and experiences you created and permitted me to be part of, I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to be in your class as a beginning student. The total spiritual and artistic venture has touched my very being and you have given me such a wonderful gift and a very strong desire to keep learning and practising in this wonderful direction.
It was a joy to meet with the other participants and share in their experiences also. I so hope that I may be part of any other courses that will be held in Melbourne. I am in total awe of your talents and deep subject understanding.
Again Philip, thank you so much for the gift you have given and shared with me. May all your other 2013 courses be successful.
May God Bless and protect the three of you, With my very fondest thoughts and good wishes,


Icon of Holy Virgin of Filermo

To Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova

Dear friends,

I am the brother of ***, the happy beneficiary of the icon representing the Virgin Mary of Philerme. I see your masterpiece each day, why she is placed in my reception room. I congratulate you and I thank you. This icon is for me a reason of felicity and a way of meditation: I have the impression that the mother of God visit my home. You are wonderful artists. I admire the respect of every one for the inspiration of your par(tner, but I think that a piece with a similar beauty and spirituality can only stay the fruit of your "conversation". My profound gratitude for you. And my best wishes in the feast of the Nativity of Christ. This icon of the Mother of God is same as a birth rich of so much promises, promises for you, promises for me, promises for my benefactress, ***.We hope the best from done of God.

+ ********

Bishop of F****


Iconography Workshops in Calgary (Canada), June 2012

Dear Philip and Olga, Thank you for the wonderful icon workshop you gave in Calgary in June. It was very challenging and enlarged and broadened my vision of iconography. Your method of instruction was excellent, even if some of us were rather slow at times. I certainly need lots of drawing practice. I was sorry that we didnt have time for the last slide presentation you wanted to show. You have such a wealth of knowledge to share and fresh way of looking at things. It would have been helpful to have had an additional day. I do hope you can return to Canada another year.
. Thank you again, and many blessings upon you. Gratefully, F.G*.


Dear Philip,
I just wanted to thank you for an excellent workshop. I learned an enormous amount. I have completed another icon since the workshop ended since I wanted to make sure that I kept practicing right away before I forgot what you taught. I enjoyed the workshop immensely and appreciate the time that both you and Olga took with each of the students. I hope that I will be able to take one of your workshops again in the future. Have a good year as your return to Russia. All the best, C.M.


Icon Appearing of Christ to the Holy Myrrhbearers

Hello Philip,
Olga's icon arrived on Wednesday. WOW!!! IT SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Exquisite!!! We are looking forward to having you both here soon. With love and best wishes from, B.J*.


Iconography Workshop in Melbourne (Australia), January 2012

.....Occasionally a brilliant sparkling star traverses the heavens, and one is left wondering in awe at the significance. Was this merely a painting workshop? or was it that and something much more? I had the honour of being a participant in one of Philip Davydov's workshops. I came in unable to hold a pencil or a paint brush correctly. I left with an Icon of Our Lady which people tell me exudes great gentleness. But I know that beneath that gentleness is a great strength, a reflection of the qualities of this remarkable teacher. We were a bunch of middle-aged and older women, and anyone who has had dealings with such a cohort, especially in the workplace, knows how tough that can be when they can be mouthy, irreverent, and determined to push their particular ideas. Philip dealt with it all, gently, firmly and pleasantly. Again, anyone who has had any teaching experience in their lives knows a good teacher when they see one. Such a one is Professor Davydov. He asked for any suggestions that could improve the workshops; he does not need me or anyone else to tell him that or to analyze his teaching style. There is really nothing that could be improved upon. Any shortcomings came from within me ( perhaps to review and recapitulate of an evening the materials of the day), all of which was a reminder that this path we tread continues on into the distance until the pebbles, stones and boulders are no longer needed in this lifetime. It has been my honour to know a beautiful soul. May God bless you greatly, Philip.

Z. v. G*.


Hi Philip and Olga, It looks like you got home in one piece Philip and I hope you did have a good flight. I wish to thank you for your great classes as it was just what I needed. But I have one problem now I am painting little black african children and the little girl ended up with an iconic expression, see you taught me well. ... Love M*.


Hello Philip :) ... I really enjoyed the course i learnt so much that will never forget. You are a wonderful teacher and i hope you continue to teach students and share your incredible talent. It was lovely to have met you, thank you again so much :) Good luck with the rest of your teaching, kindest regards D..


Iconography Workshop in Laurel, 21-25 March 2011


.....Thank you so much for this class as well. I learn so much each time and hopefully I will be able to remember all of it. At some point it always feels like my brain is full. :) .... Thank you for your patience as a teacher. I will keep working and hopefully get some more courage to try things. It was a wonderful week for me and hopefully we weren't too tiring students (well, at least not tiring in a bad way).....Take care and I will see you in July in Jordanville!



Icon of the Holy Virgin of Tenderness with relief background

My Friends Philip and Olga
I came into receipt of the lovely Virgin and Child some days ago. I carefully released Her from the careful and safe mail wrap of Her travels and finally gazed upon the beautiful icon you have created for me. I am in high respect of the art created in this work. The Lady and Baby are laid into such a lovely context -- depth of scrolling, dimension, and lettering hold the two in adornment appropriate for them. Beautiful. I treasure this work and celebrate my good fortune at having studied with both of you and and beyond the classes now possess an Icon written by each of you.
Keep me posted of your workshops. I would like to study with you again.
Warm regards and appreciation for you efforts. Your work has come home to us and enriches our lives with it's presence. We are indebted to you, Thank you both.


Iconography Workshop in Saint Mary's City, Maryland, July 26 - 31, 2010


... Now, I have a love for the process, a deep personal experience, and a new feeling of confidence to go forward... I cannot thank you enough. I am excited and curious and rereading many of the iconography books I have collected with a new understanding. You are a very good teacher. I am looking forward to next year and hoping to meet Olga too...

In addition to the comments on your website, I only have one suggestion for the future: I'd like to begin early enough to celebrate the Eucharist each morning before we begin in the workshop. Trinity Church is so near to the classroom...

With a glad heart,



... It can not be put into words how wonderful last week was. You are a superb teacher!!!! Thank you so much for all your much needed help and patience. I am tired, but in a good way. I have never been so totally immersed in any class before...

Thank you so much for not only a learning experience, but a spiritual one as well. There is nothing that needs changing with your teaching. Not only do you have a gift for the images, but one for teaching as well...


Iconography Workshop in Jordanville, New York, July 19 - 25, 2010


Thanks again for very professional workshop, I continue working on other icon.



... First of all, I want to thank you for such a wonderful experience. The course was given with a great level of professionalism, and it enlightened me in many ways that I am very grateful for. You kept the course interesting and dynamic, all in great pace for old people such as me. As a professor you have displayed great patience, an individualized attention to detail for each student, and a wonderful ability to transmit information clearly. You have established a pleasant learning environment with the right balance of discipline and warmth. I thank you for all of these wonderful qualities...

... On a lighter note, what do you think of giving out handouts to the class containing the official procedural steps such as the gesso, gilding, etc maybe in an outline format? This could go with the recipes that you shared with us, if you see it fit.



Dear Philip, You built our understanding of the form from a spiritual, historical, artistic, and devotional view and returned again and again to ground our spiritual will in creating a special, and deeply personal work.

Creating the work and spiritual environment: You moved us from easel to slideshow, to lecture in a rhythm that served the work well. You showed us with the brush and the photos. The concreteness of your message matched the necessary concreteness of the icons we were painting.

By example you showed how to organize our work and purpose. It takes enormous experience and organization to make a class move seamlessly. You taught us how to get the most out of ourselves.

We received extensive, high-quality technical instruction in all aspects of creating an icon, from preparation of the board, to use of pigments, traditional decoration and gold leafing.

You manifested a studio situation and group energy 1) you firmly enforced discipline and gently controlled the environment. 2) materials were always ready, clutter was a minimum, 3) you controlled the pace, rhythm and variety of our tasks. 4) we could relax and have faith in youand ourselves-- no matter how challenging the next step could be.

You communicated values without preaching. You opened the door for us, a door that is central in your life and in your familys. You opened that door quietly and with humilitywith no attention for yourself. Only one who sits in the Sacred every single day can do that.

Through your knowledge of the material, inner vision and curiosity, you returned deeply over and over to the core spiritual values and message that a good icon represents. Each time you showed us with a subtle aspect, a nuance built on devotion and specific skill. You layered our knowledge the same way wed paint our icons. For me it instilled faith in the process and dampened discouragement when the work went bad. Thats a mark of a mature teacher, when he or she fosters independence and starts to build confidence as students try to master a form.

Teaching mastery of self and work: By example you created a structure that allows us to be responsible for our choices, good company to our colleagues, and to manage our time well. Your standards and support allowed us to go back and re-do work with good humor and in the spirit of getting it right. You worked very specifically with one unskilled and three experienced painters to support and direct all at individual skill levels.

Those great slides: I loved the slide shows on ancient and contemporary forms, and appreciated your appetite for successful artistic experiment. Lectures always had a sense of completion but left us wanting more. The change from intense close-up concentration to being in a darkened room for a while helped the work to flow. Somehow you stopped the painting before we got tired or cranky.

Slide shows were a masterful work in and of themselves. Whether about the roots of icons as art and religious communication, technical matters (such as image and space, pigments, making our boards, where icons and murals are placed in churches, fresco vs. icon vs. mosaic), contemporary artists, those slideshows were absolutely perfect.

Are there things I wish were done differently? Have internet that works.



Dear Philip, I received the icon today and she is beautiful. Thank you so much for all you trouble and skill. I see the papers with her and she was blessed, so she should be a good protector to us. Thank you, C.M.


M. B.

Icon Painting Workshop October 2005

For three weeks in October, 2005 a group of four enthusiastic Australian women travelled to St. Petersburg to study Icon Drawing techniques under the tutelage of Philip Davydov. Philip was recommended to teach us through the Rector of the St. Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy. We are all greatly indebted to this very gifted, gentle and encouraging teacher who imparted the knowlege of Icon techniques through his strong faith and religious beliefs.

Before our arrival in St. Petersburg and thanks to Information Technology, Philip received photographs of the Icons and medieval artworks we had studied during the past three years. With this knowlege of our skill-levels, Philip decided to choose the prototype -"CHRIST THE SAVIOUR" for our studies. It was a prototype in the Byzantine Method of Icon Studies. The challenge then for Philip was to deal with four women who operated at different levels, saw things differently and who came from different artistic experiences.

Three weeks was the chosen time to work and complete the icons. With a stong focus by the group and constant encouragement from Philip, we managed to complete an Icon in our own unique styles.

Philip did not take anything for granted as he instructed us through the various steps. From the beginning Prayer Ritual before an Icon; to the practise of drawing and coming to see; to the mixing of pigments; to listening to the important ways of being and careful listening to instuction methods; to the application of gold leaf in the water-gilding method; to blocking in the colours in a very concrete manner by using slow and controlled brush-strokes; to the layering of colours and the final varnishing of the work, Philip had his finger always on the pulse of the group and was totally open to receive our questions as they emerged. This way of teaching is I believe the best way for adults to learn. It certainly is the best way for me.

One of Philip's key phrases during the classes was "GO SLOWLY" It took me quite a while to really take in what Philip meant. To breate deeply, imbibe the present spiritual action and to be deply attentive to the process and the prototype is what I came to realise the words "Go Slowly" meant. These words of Philip enabled me to value the connections being made at a depth where "THE WORD" spoke intimately and quietly in the silence. Heart to heart, Spirit to spirit, soul to soul happens when one goes slowly. Thankyou Philip!

Philip's obvious love of his Religious Orthodox Traditions, Beliefs and Values poured out and penetrated into us as we worked daily together in silence. His gentle ,sensitivity enabled each of us to experience a freedom and peacefulness within. In this atmosphere we were free to ask the multitude of questions need for our learning. Philip was very "In-tune" with our natures and abilities and it is of great cedit to him as he displayed warm patience and understanding as he lead us through the process.

I consider Philip to be a Master Iconographer. The works he has painted and which are displayed on his web site and in his studio, give testimony to the many hours of dedicated practice to this most beautiful art.

Because the group came to St. Petersburg to study we were able to feel and experience the Culture and Religious Traditions first-hand. By visiting the Russian Museum prior to beginning our studies and being soaked and enveloped by the many Icons on display, Philip enabled us to soak in the Spiritual Power at work. Of course we visited many other museums and Churches with Philip. These experiences as well as the many slide presentations depicting the History of Icons the group became more familiar with the various traditions and in particular the Russian Tradition. What a blessing it was to receive such knowledge from such a faith-filled teacher.

Everyone one of our needs was catered for in all areas and I will always be extremely grateful to Philip for enabling four eager Australian women to have such a blessed and deeply Religious experience.

I highly recommed Philip , a gifted and mulit-talented teacher and Iconographer, with a gift for languages and in particular English to teach in any part of the world especially where English is spoken.



Icon experience' in Russia October 2005

I travelled with three other Australians including my art teacher, following a dream, to learn the traditional byzantine technique of icon painting.
Philip Davydov our very qualified and skilled teacher had arranged every detail for us before arrival, the materials and outline of our proposed course. His style and words were always personalised and encouraging, focused, contemplative, exacting yet wise. He would say 'go slowly, - never feel your work as too heavy. It will be visible in the result.' We tried to imbibe as much as we could from his excellent method of teaching and bring it back with us to Melbourne with very heartfelt memories.
Mature age art student.


Earlier Icons and a Fresco

First Name : Aled
URL : aw@tecso.net*
Comment: Dear Philip, the icon has arrived!! It is really amazing and wonderful.THANK YOU !! It will be blessed in the Advent by our bishop.


First Name : Rev. Dr. Harry
URL : Dr.Haiden@aol.com*
Comment #1: I am proud to announce that the fresco has been completed and that all is well with it. The image of Christ enthroned flanked by the Virgin Mary and Saint John The Evangelist is, in my humble opinion, breathtaking. The work of Philip Davydov is more then I could have hoped for and Philip has shown himself to be a gentle and serious Christian man who I am proud to call "friend". The work is a true doorway into the world of the Spirit and God's presence can be felt in it.

Comment #2: Philip, on behalf of our congregation and the people of our diocese, I would like to thank you for the fresco that you rote at saint John The Evangelist.it will always be an important part of our worship space and your presence among us was a graced time.

First Name : Aled
URL : aw@tecso.net*
Comment : Philip...
The icon of Theotokos is very beautiful and loved by many people.


First Name : Chris
URL : ec tenor @yahoo.com*
Comment : mr. Davydov...
Your talent is one that has and will continue to touch so many people. The Fresco you painted at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church is truly an amazing focal point for worship. The first time I saw it completed left me awestruck...a truly...


First Name : Susan and Dr. Grady

Comment : Hi, Philip! Last nights dedication service for your fresco at St Johns was wonderful. Such a mystery - Thank you for sharing your gifts with us - We miss you.


First Name : Nigel Day
URL : Leeds, UK

Comment : I commissioned an icon of The Holy Virgin from Philip Davydov and was absolutely delighted when I received it. The picture on the website (Icon of the Holy Virgin ), though good, does not do full justice to its beauty or the skill of the man who wrote it.


* the customers e-mails has been changed for the reason of privacy.

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