St David offering food to a bird
Before I began to paint an icon of St David the Dendrite, I sat down to draw him. There are many lovely icons of St David, but there is one fresco in particular which really appealed to me. The saint is depicted as an elongated figure with a toe-length beard wearing a light ochre garment set against a green background, amidst a leafy almond tree.
I haven’t been able to find the name of the iconographer to acknowledge him or her and would love to hear from you if you recognise the original fresco image.
Pencil sketch of Saint David up a tree with print of fresco image alongside
I used this fresco image as a reference to make my own drawing sketched on watercolour paper. Adding colour was the best way of seeing how it would look on the long thin icon board which I had already gessoed using a thick 25mm birch ply.
Pencil drawing of St David the Dendrite
I referred to my library of icon images to find male saints which helped me to construct the face.
Colour palette – English ochre and black
Here’s the overall study with some more icons of this tree dweller.
Drawing and study on watercolour paper together with reference images
This icon study is now available to buy in my Etsy shop here. I will sign off with an image of my finished study in black and white.
- Drawing of St David of Thessaloniki
Last part of this article will be about the finished icon…to be continued soon.
Thanks for reading,