Good Intentions

It’s been over a week of good intentions but I have not settled down properly to brush practice until today. Norman has arrived, three months old and so full of beans that whatever I try to do, he wants to do it better. There’s been little in the way of stillness with our new three pet dynamic at loggerheads. I’ve been asking for help from St Frances, but I think he is enjoying the entertainment too much.

On top of this, my first exhibition at Newcastle-under-Lyme library, for ‘Drawing the Street‘ has been quite a hit. ‘Seeing with the eye of the heart’ applies to our wider surroundings too and it is wonderful that people are starting to look at their town with renewed interest. 

For those who are interested in the icon course content, I am going to see if I can upload a pdf of my notes. If they don’t appear on this blog and you would like a copy, please get in touch with me and I will send a pdf over to you.

28 Oct 13 Day 1 29 Oct 13 Day 2 30th Oct Day 3

I have been practising brush strokes, with one or two which came out ok but more practice required on the exit part of the stroke. We are aiming at being able to complete a hundred or so consistently even calligraphic lines, straight, curved and diminishing, all in one go. 

Brush stroke practice

Brush stroke practice

We have four monochrome studies to complete. This is proving much harder to do than I thought. We all made great progress at Moele Brace, no distractions and fellow students supporting one another, but home life however is another matter. 


I have made a start on St John, which is taken from that compellingly beautiful and moving icon “the Holy Virgin Kataphigi (Refuge) and St John the Theologian” which came from the Poganovo monastery c1395. I am starting early with my practice on this as I would love to have this as one of my finished pieces.  As you will see from my efforts below, I have a long way to go. That’s ok, I am looking forward to watching things unfold from these early hesitant efforts. 

St John in rough pastel sketch

St John in rough pastel sketch

As a warm up, I did a rough pastel sketch. Looking at it a little later I could see St John’s face was too wide, the tilt of his head up a little too far. A helpful exercise though. Please ignore my messy strokes, I did this quickly to try and get a feel for the proportions. 

I then did a rough sketch in red earth light tempera wash to establish the structure. Again, it’s not quite right, but I will keep at it. I hope that in my next post, there will be a little more progress. I have also got to get better with my brush strokes. 

St John, first wash in very dilute egg tempera

St John, first wash in very dilute egg tempera

Thats all for now. Thanks for reading and all the best with your own icon studies. R

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s