HAPPY EASTER! Icon Writing and Other Stuff

Easter brings out the Icons
Clockwise, left: The very first icon I painted, Archangel Michael. All students at the Prosopon School of Iconology begin with this image; Richard Gere's photograph, South Pole, 2003; Jeffris Elliott's miniature print, Islamic Woman Ascending Stairs. Center: Sean Perry's Transitory exhibition announcement; Richard Gere's silver gelatin print, Dawn|Giza, 2005; my second icon painting, Archangel Gabriel. Booklet The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas/Eight Verses on Training The Mind. Center: Native American relic–a gift from In The American West travels; kata from the Dalai Lama. Photographs © copyrighted material/All Rights Reserved

Bodhi Leaf from Bodh Gaya, India
Top clockwise: Traditional Japanese Tanba woodfired ceramic vase by Tanba artist Kiyoharu Ichino (new Ichino Exhibition April 2-May 5, 2010, Touching Stone Gallery); photograph of dancing Tibetan kids by Robyn Brentano; Edward S. Curtis photograph, Tobadzischini-Navajo; Bodhi leaf from The Bodhi Tree (aka "Tree of Awakening," is a direct descendant of the tree under which Siddharta Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment), Bodh Gaya, India; antique laurel wreath crown gift; photograph, Tonenili-Navajo, by Edward S. Curtis; Traditional Japanese woodfired ceramic box by Tanba artist Kiyoharu Ichino; my practice pottery; center, greenish rock from Tibet, pottery I made with New Mexican Native American artist. Bottom: my drawing of my son for a painting; got the hat in Mongolia. Photograph © copyright/All Rights Reserved

The DADA Painters and Poets, Edited by Robert Motherwell
The DADA book, given to me by friend and mentor Marvin Israel, sits on top of a stack of Diane Arbus: Aperture Monograph's (one of the best-selling art books in history), he and Doon Arbus edited and designed to accompany their posthumous Diane Arbus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1972; right, FAIRGROUNDS: Photographs by Sean Perry, a signed limited edition catalog, created with Jace Graf of Cloverleaf Press.

Russian Iconographer Dmitri Andrejev

Andrejev demonstrating his masterful painting technique

These days everybody is a Master and nobody an apprentice,
that's why we don't understand our chaotic nature

For a time I studied Icon Writing with Russian-born Master Icon Painters, Vladislav Andrejev, founder of The Prosopon School of Iconography and his son, Dmitri Andrejev. I practiced for the artistic difficulty and disciple of it. Since it's Easter, I thought it appropriate to pay homage to their work.

"The ancient Russian-Byzantine tradition of icon-writing reached its apogee during the XV century. Today, the iconographer within Prosopon attempts to produce icons reflecting the same state of inner, contemplative depth evident in the greatest examples of that tradition, through refinement of artistic nuance and attention to the iconographic canon and principles. As is fitting to the icon’s sacred function, only natural materials are used: wood panels gessoed with natural ground, genuine gold leaf applied by the bole method, egg tempera using ground pigments, and linseed oil finish. The iconographic method of the School is characterized by a multi-step process in which the succession of steps is concrete and definite, as are the liturgical services of the Church. Although striving for a high artistic level, the focus of the icon-writer is nevertheless on a personal spiritual discipline and growth."–Prosopon School, Technique and Method

Master Iconographer Vladislav Andrejev was born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1938. After receiving formal education in fine art, Vladislav became interested in religious art, which was impossible to practice during the Soviet regime. The search for deeper meaning in art and life led him to solitary travels in parts of the Russian wilderness, and to the independent study of icon and fresco painting with a monk icon-writer. In 1980, Vladislav emigrated to the United States. He has 'written' numerous icons which can be seen in many churches and homes throughout the world. Vladislav’s iconographic technique and teaching method developed into a distinct school of painting. In 2000, he established The Prosopon School of Iconology, to promote this method and to promote the understanding of iconography and iconology.

Film: Vladislav and Dmitri
Andrejev painted the dome of St. Michael's Church in St. Michael, Minnesota. Yevgeniy Vaskevich made a film about the project. To view the short Film, choose "Founder" here"

BEFORE: Scaffolding before Icons were drawn on the ceiling dome to scale. Copyright © Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography /All Rights Reserved

DURING: Russian Master Iconographer Vladislav Andrejev painting. Copyright © Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography /All Rights Reserved

AFTER: The almost completed Icon painted dome of St. Michael's Church in St. Michael, Minnesota. Copyright © Prosopon School of Iconology and Iconography /All Rights Reserved

2 DVD set
Instruction performed by Master Iconographer Vladislav Andrejev
Prosopon School of Iconography + Pandora Iconographer's Supplies


Aleks said...

Wow Elizabeth,what a beautiful post,thank you! Happy Easter to you and yours!

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Elizabeth, the icons are exquisite, impressive, such detail and discipline- I knew little about them but have learned from a friend who paints them-a fascinating process. Father and son are masters. pgt

Susan said...

What an original and fascinating post. I have a couple of small Greek icons, so was especially interested to read this. Happy Easter! (love the master and apprentice quote).

Ulla said...

really impressive, Elizabeth!
Happy Easter! Ulla :-)

Bruce Barone said...

What a great post! On so many levels. The spirit brings many smiles to my heart and soul. The art inspires. And I see we share many of the same books! I am reminded of an exhibition of icons at the MET years ago. How inspiring THAT was!

Anna Mavromatis said...

How incredibly fitting starting my Easter day by looking at your bookshelves and being mesmerized by your spiritual and unique treasures!
Your icons are beautiful! Congratulations!!!
I can't imagine how wonderful must have been to learn byzantine iconography by this master.
Thank you for inviting us into your home...
Happy Easter!

Rachel said...

Liebe Elizabeth,


auch dir gesegnete und glückliche Ostertage

herzlichst, Rachel

Lizblog said...

Thank you all for inspiring all of us with your work!

Thanks Bruce for this link to "Byzantium" at The Met Museum:


Have a beautiful Easter Sunday!

Caio Fern said...

what a wonderful post !!! so many fantastic things .
Icons was very present when i was learning my first brush strokes . had an exhibition here and i got very well impressed . i am so glad there is people working on this now !!!
the first photos of the post are a real treasure !!!

thank you for all this !!

happy Easter for you too , Elizabeth .

Mona Diane Conner said...

Glad to hear that you've enjoyed Prosopon, Elizabeth. I've studied there as well. Happy Easter!

Karena said...

What a fabulous post, it is fascinating! Thank you Elizabeth!

Art by Karena

It is not too late to enter my Art Giveaway!

Tish Jett said...

What a magnificent Easter gift.

Thank you so very, very much.

I hope you are having a beautiful spring day and a Happy Easter.

Warm regards,

Amanda Lee said...

Such a wonderful post for Easter! Very informative and respectful. Your blog is lovely!

Cris said...

Elizabeth, Happy Easter!!!!
Thanx for visiting my blogs, i`m very glad!!!
Oh, icons...i studied a little bit of that, a long time ago. But it`s really nice remember and see all those pretty things.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Beautiful! I love icons, never know one could study their rendition here in the states. Happy Easter from the rabbits.

PJ said...

We have someone - I can't recall her name - that comes to our church every year to conduct an icon writing workshop. I haven't done it yet but hope to soon. I know it requires both focus and an open, creative mind. Do you see them as mandalas?

wv angst
Seriously, I think Google reads my mind.

LizBlog said...

Paula: in some ways it is like a Mandala, but I don't want to spoil the surprise of it for you ahead of time by giving my views on the experience of painting these. Take the class!