Thursday, January 21, 2010
Some of you may know that I have been learning to paint religious icons over the last couple years. I've been learning the ancient techniqes that involve making your paint with egg yolk and dry pigments, gilding with gold leaf, etc. It's opened up a whole new world for me, and it's what I love to do best when I occasionally have a free day at home.
For the last year or so I've been working on an image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I started this one from scratch, getting my own board cut, gluing on and then scraping out the ridge around the edge called a kovcheg, sealing it with rabbit skin glue and cheesecloth, making gesso of marble and chalkdust, spackling the surface, sealing it, gilding with gold leaf, painting on the basic drawing with India ink, and then finally painting in the actual image.
There is so much spiritual preparation that goes into this, too. Every night when I say Compline before going to bed, I end with the "Hail, Holy Queen," and as I pray that last prayer I always pray with a little image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It's a sweet, sad image, and Mary's eyes are so merciful, so kind. It's an image that speaks to what it looks like for God to be with us in the hard times. God knows what we feel, no matter what we're going through.
After almost a year, I finally am getting near the finish, and I am so excited I can hardly stand it! Here's what things look like about now. Pretty soon I will add lots of gold lines delineating details of the clothing. Pray that this will come to a happy conclusion soon!