Icon Diploma Student

Learning to see with the eye of the heart

Posts tagged ‘Fabriano paper’

An Archangel for Christmas

Archangel Gabriel on Watercolour Paper.

egg tempera painting

Archangel Gabriel on watercolour paper

Christmas greetings icon friends!

A few lines to say thank you for your companionship during my first year of icon painting. It has been lovely to have your quiet support and interest encouraging me to keep on posting and writing up notes etc!

There are a few more video clips of Aidan Hart’s in-class demonstrations over on You Tube and I have written up some supporting notes to go with them. These are not direct transcripts, simply notes to help as you try out the various stages of painting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3a6puiMDuQ Aidan Hart demonstrates underpainting for the Membrane Technique Click here for Notes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaSi-WVHGaY Aidan Hart demonstrates applying flesh membrane to icon bust Click here for Notes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr4R8BzMpPc Shadows and highlights on garments using membrane technique Click here for Notes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiFkJrsDS1s Aidan Hart demonstrating halos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFG-XxPqiSI Aidan Hart demonstrates painting Mandilion hair

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbwE0QY1aOw Aidan Hart demonstrates painting garments Click here for Notes

I have enjoyed the monochrome icon studies on watercolour paper and thought I would have another go at the Archangel Gabriel based on the Annunciation of Ustyug. I stretched some Fabriano Artistico paper and painted using the membrane technique. The colours are much softer on paper – lines are not quite as crisp unless you go over them several times. However, it is a great way of practicing if you haven’t got a board prepared.

1 Angel gabriel study

Underpainting: the face is in Terre Verte and a touch of Yellow Ochre Maimeri, garments and wings in a mix of English red ochre, French ochre Sahara and Avana.

Yellow ochre Maimeri eith titanium white and red ochre light

Membrane applied to flesh parts.

Building up the hair and facial highlights.

4 Angel Gabriel study

Highlights added to wings and sleeves

Preparing to gild

Preparing to gild using Roberson’s gilders size – applied over the halo which has undercoat in red ochre.

Gilding the halo

Gilding the halo. Applying final facial highlights

9 Complete Angel Gabriel study

Finished angel with halo, staff and lettering.

It is a better attempt than my last one but there is a long way to go before I become fluent and produce anything nearly as elegant as the original. All the same, it comes with my very best wishes for a happy, peaceful and blessed Christmas wherever you are in the world. Thanks for reading.

Happy Christmas, Ronnie

PS…Some years later and I did revisit some of the finer details on Archangel Gabriel’s face – around the upper lip. I am now happy with this and it is listed here in my Etsy shop

The Spirit Gives Life

Warm greetings Icon Friends,

I have tried some different paper for my monochrome studies and I think it has made all the difference! I would love to know what you think. The study on the left is the second (fourth if you count pastel studies) attempt at painting the Virgin standing at the foot of the cross.


So far, I have been using a rough surface, bright white paper for my monochrome studies and not been doing very well with blending the egg tempera. A fellow icon student suggested I try using a heavy weight (300gsm) hot pressed watercolour paper such as Fabriano Artistico or Saunders Waterford. Both are smooth, creamy coloured and gorgeous to work on, though with a slightly different texture. I have done a monochrome on both these papers to compare them.

I started with the Saunders paper and it was so much smoother to work on than the rough white watercolour paper. The paint flowed and blended without having to saturate the paper with water first although I did apply a light water wash before addressing a large area. I am gradually finding my way around the end of a paint brush – it really is a case of just getting on with it and learning as you go along. Aidan makes it look so easy but it isn’t!

The blending and overall appearance of this monochrome looks a bit better than my earlier attempt a few months ago. I have attached the work in progress photos as a pdf. The folds in the robes still have a long way to go though!Virgin at Foot of the Cross

I have finished writing up my notes and will attach them in stages. Day 4 Proportions of hands Ottoman Romanesque Carolingian examples

Next post will be about the Fabriano paper.

Thanks for reading and I will leave you with:

The seven canons


The Spirit gives life


The brush’s task is to incarnate spirit


Although you abstract, model form

According to the essential laws of nature


Usecolour to manifest the spirit


Organize the elements within the panel

To make an harmonious world


Remember there is an imperfect perfection

And a perfect imperfection


In copying, seek to unearth

The master’s techniques