Category Archives: Art

Icon O’Class

Here is a photo of most* of the participants of the recent icon course at Knock, Ireland.  The teacher is the tall guy in the middle at the back, and I’m third from right at the front (with my red painting pinny still on).

groupphotosmall

*A couple of people had to leave early so they didn’t make it into the group photo.

Here is a photo of my icon after I touched it up a little at home.

icon16

I have since coated it with a thin protective layer.  I have to wait at least six months for the tempera to harden before I can varnish it and protect it properly.  I will probably hang it on the wall to dry so that the cats don’t get at it.

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My First Icon

I was on an icon course this past week.  The teacher, Theodoros Papadopoulos, came all the way over from Greece and he was excellent.  He managed to get a packed room full of people of very different skill levels to produce a difficult icon despite coming down with a cold.  We worked for six days from about nine in the morning until after six with about forty-five minutes for lunch.  Sometimes we stayed later in the evenings.  It was very intensive and we were feeling a bit fatigued by the end.  One poor lady had a funny turn on the last day, and Theodoros had to help her finish the icon.  Despite the intensive pace I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.  I’m sure the others would agree with me.  Some people had come all the way from the U.S. and one was a Chilean living in Ireland.  Anyway, enough waffle, let me show you some photos:

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Chaotic Paradox

I haven’t drawn in ages so this was a good warm-up.

chaoticparadox

See here for my inspiration.

Two More Image Resources

Image taken from page 685 of 'A magyar nemzet tortenete. Szerkeszti Szilágyi S. [With maps and illustrations.]'
My brother has just alerted me to two more digitised image collections.  The first is provided by the British Library – see this article for an introduction.  The image above is from this collection.  I have no idea what it says, I just liked the illumination.  The second collection is part of the Polonsky Foundation Digitisation Project which aims to digitise the collections of the Oxford Bodleian Library and the Vatican’s Biblioteca Apostolica.  The latter seems to be related to the Digital Vatican Library which I already have in my resource list (see menu above).  See this article for information on the Polonsky collection.  I will add the appropriate links to the “Other Resources” page on my menu above.

Resurrection and Gilgamesh

Okay, so I’ve made this post sound more exciting than it really is.  My good news is probably only interesting to me but I want to shout it from the rooftops.  Here is a video to provide some interest while you read the rest of this post (it helps if you have it turned up nice and loud):

The fact is, my drawing machine, which has been out of action (thanks to a Windows update) for what seems like a lifetime, has been resurrected at last.  We have it running Linux and responding to finger gestures and the stylus  correctly.  It may not sound like much but I love my drawing machine like other people love their iPhones or their cars.  I would now like to say something rude about Microsoft but I’m resisting.  Aren’t I good?

Tree of Life – Update

This is the art project I was working on before Windows decided to “improve” my drawing machine with an update.  Here’s where I’d got up to:

Tree of Life new

Interesting Art Experiment

What happens when you let ordinary Internet users from around the world collaborate on a piece of art?  War!  But the results are fascinating.  See here for the story and here for a close up of the result.  I love it that the Welsh flag appears at least twice even though it is a difficult one to draw small with pixels (see below).  I also love that the Union Jack appears in a heart with the Italian flag.
500px-flag_of_wales_2-svg

Icon Writing Course

0317patrick-irelandHappy St. Patrick’s Day!
I’m interrupting my blogging break to tell you about a course I’ve just booked onto. It’s an icon writing course run by a charming fellow from Greece. Here’s his website with the relevant details: http://www.theodoreicons.com/icon-painting-workshop-knock-ireland.html

So if you’d like to visit Ireland’s national Marian shrine at Knock, and learn how to write icons, why not kill two birds with one stone?!  The course isn’t until October so you’ve got plenty of time to get organised.  Hey, and an extra bonus – you get to meet me! 😉

Unexpected Discoveries at Knock Museum

I have lived within twenty minutes drive of Knock Museum for more than fifteen years.  I finally went in a few days ago for a class, but I still didn’t get a proper look at the exhibits.  I did make some interesting discoveries though, and I learnt how to make a St. Brigid’s cross.  My first discovery was made in the museum shop.  I saw some products there that looked very much like the kind of thing that I aspire to make, based on the Book of Kells.  The artist has a website where you can view and purchase his work if you want.

The second discovery was through meeting a Spanish lady in the class.  I couldn’t catch her name – Pilar – until she spelled it out for me.  I’m sure she was fed up of explaining its origins but I had to ask.  She told me that it is quite a common name in Spain, where babies are named in honour of Our Lady of the Pillar (Pilar in Spanish).  Below is a photo of a Marian statue on what is reputed to be the pillar in question.  It is obscured in the picture by a blue and white origami mantle (please don’t ask why; I haven’t the foggiest).  The apparition is claimed to be the first Marian apparition and happened when Mary was still alive.  Our Lady is said to have appeared to Saint James when she wished to gather the apostles together for one last time before her assumption into Heaven.
Virgen del Pilar

I thought it might be fun to do a post listing and describing all the Marian apparitions but looking at how many there are on the maps by National Geographic, I changed my mind.  There are nine major Church-approved apparitions, and the one at Knock is among them.  I would have only been able to list five of them before I started my research; how about you?  Have there been any in your area or country?  Knock is the national Marian shrine of Ireland.  You can see it marked quite clearly on the National Geographic map of apparitions in Europe.  So now you know where I live, roughly. 🙂  One day I may find the time to have a proper look around the Museum.

Almost Done

Just some spiral patterns left to do, and a bit of tweaking here and there.

(The pencil underdrawing won’t be in the final version.)

holyface