Icon Diploma Student

Learning to see with the eye of the heart

Calling on the Apostle of Hope

icon of St Jude Thaddeus

Saint Jude Thaddeus

St Jude, or Thaddeus, has for centuries been known as the Patron Saint of The Impossible or ‘Hopeless Cases’. St Jude was a familiar name to us during childhood as Mum would often call on his help when things got difficult for friends or family at home or abroad.

It’s Pentecost as I write here tonight and it seems appropriate to share my work on St Jude as he was one of Jesus’s twelve apostles who received the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

2 St Jude Drawing 1.jpg

Pencil drawing of St Jude

The name Thaddeus means ‘aimiable’ or ‘loving’. St Jude strikes me as a gentle saint who is also known as ‘the Apostle of Hope’. There is a great deal of unrest from recent tragic events in London and Manchester and with election week ahead I’m calling on this saint of hope in the midst of anxiety and will trust him to guide each of us to make wise and loving choices in the days ahead.

I will sign off with a few photos of St Jude taking shape as an icon and say thanks again for reading.


dog tooth burnisher on water gilding

Burnishing the gold on the halo

St Jude's face underpainting

Underpainting the face

st jude underpainting icon

St Jude underpainting hair and beard

Membrane technique

Applying the membrane in flesh tones over the face

egg tempera painting st Jude

Applying a coat of egg stock – dilute wash as a final nourishing layer

apostle of Hope icon of st Jude

Icon complete – St Jude, the Apostle of Hope

P.S. This icon is being professionally photo-scanned and prints and cards will shortly be available to buy from Smith York Printers here

4 Responses to “Calling on the Apostle of Hope”

  1. marcella spreadbury

    Dear Ronnie,
    You are an inspiration!
    My mother taught us to pray to St Jude Thaddeus.
    Did you know that Jesus is his cousin? ( or so I believe)
    Love Marcella

    Sent from my iPad

    • ronniecruwys

      Thanks Marcella! st Jude was like a member of the family, the amount his name was mentioned by my mother! Interesting that my fellow icon diploma student, Joan Kirby, has just finished painting an icon of St Jude too, yet she is over in Dublin. Both finished at the same time! Lovely that he is making his presence felt. Love Ronnie xx

  2. ronniecruwys

    Hi Anne-Marie, thanks very much! It’s 18cm x 24cm on 25mm birch ply. I ordered a full sized sheet of this thick ply last year and have had it cut down to a variety of sizes. This is a lovely size to work on for a half figure or face icon and the thicker board feels very solid. Love, Ronnie


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