Icon Diploma Student

Learning to see with the eye of the heart

Posts tagged ‘Virgin at foot of the cross’

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