Holy Noses!

Hello new icon friends!

Thank you for signing up to the blog – you have no idea how much that has strengthened my resolve to pay attention to my lessons and report back to you, hopefully fairly regularly. I will try not to let the posts get too long winded and aim to title all my documents/notes so you can find things later.

This course is far too exciting for me not to share, so it is great that you want to sit alongside – my invisible friends in Aidan’s classroom! Do let me know if you have any questions that I can ask him on your behalf.

I should have mentioned in my last post that our day begins with a lit candle and a prayer of dedication. I will attach the prayer as a pdf.

Prayer before an icon

Prayer 2

It’s Monday 18th November and I am going to get into the rhythm with some brush strokes. Then, I am going to try the ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain‘ tip and turn St John upside down and begin a study of his nose.

nose study one

One of my fellow students, who paints exquisitely, explained that she builds up in very light layers using the finest of lines and very little paint on the brush. She leaves the pure white of the paper as highlights. Once she has established the form, only then does she begin to apply the darker strokes.

There should always be plenty of scrap paper below your palette to test your brush lines after each dip in the paint.

Second attempt at the nose

Second attempt at the nose

Well, looking at the nose upside down certainly helped. It is an improvement on nose 1 a few days ago. However, I have not caught the true shape of the highlights of where the nose bowl widens.  I have also missed the movement of the nose which very gradually curves from his brow on the saint’s right side. All these things become much more evident when you take a step back and look from a bit of a distance.

I am going to try a pencil study next to try and get a grip of the structure. Some days I just don’t have a full hour to set aside for icon practice so what I will do is more ten minute pencil studies of various parts of the face.

Work out the highlights by tracing over the shapes to identify the key pools of light and dark

Work out the highlights by tracing over the shapes to identify the key pools of light and dark

Pencil study of the nose

Pencil study of the nose

That’s enough of my holy noses, it’s time for morning coffee!

Thanks for reading and thank you God that I can share this with you today. All the best with your own icon practice.

Love Ronnie


Aidan recommended a book for us.  It is an American book and if you haven’t already got it, it is a treat for your Christmas wish list. It is a chunky book, paperback and has lots of good quality colour plates. Here are the links:



Book cover image.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s