>Gabriel’s Day and Modest Copy Continued

>Today is the “Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel.” In the Orthodox Church, the day following a major feast day is often dedicated to a saint (or angel) involved in the feast. In this case, today is the day after the Annunciation (of Gabriel to Mary). So… it was a good day for Kerry and me to almost finish the icon of “The Angel of the Lord” for the workshop at St. John which starts tomorrow night.

Here are the final stages of the icon (face):

Shading and “sarka” (modeling)

and blending the sarka to the shading

Then the highlighting

and blending the highlighting to the sarka

And finally the details for the eyes and mouth.

The almost finished icon will receive a few “life-giving lights” during the workshop.
Thanks so much to Kerry, Caleb, Gabby and Sue for helping me today!

As we prepare to spend three days together at the workshop, it’s good to keep in mind that writing (painting) icons is spiritual work. The words of Fr. Alexander Elchaninov, in The Diary of a Russian Priest, are sobering, but also encouraging:
The ancient style of icon-painting corresponds to ancient piety (prayer, the perception of God, and so on). This, so it seems, is why we have failed in our attempt to master the ancient style, for the form of our piety does not coincide with that which prevailed between the eleventh and the sixteenth centuries. New ventures must spring from the fullness of a new spiritual life; otherwise we shall obtain nothing genuine. Nevertheless, in so far as we are in some way leading a true spiritual life and life of prayer, it will follow the eternal pattern, such as we find in St. Paul, in Symeon the New Theologian. Therefore an icon painted according to the ancient rules, even a modest copy, serves the same purpose as the reading of the ancient ascetics—it helps us to strengthen the weakness of our spiritual life.

So… we’ll be painting “modest copies” of the beautiful prototype I found on the island of Patmos. And we’ll try to pray. Otherwise, as Elchaninov said, “we shall obtain nothing genuine.” This is the modest copy that Kerry and I have almost finished (right). May our icons help us “to strengthen the weakness of our spiritual life.”

Check back in a few days for workshop photos. Holy
Archangel Gabriel, pray to God for us!

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