Making timeless art

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By Kirsten Laskey

Painting an icon can be more than just creating a pretty picture; it’s an opportunity to encounter angels or saints, or other religious figures. And a chance to have a divine interaction through art has arrived.

Saint Dimitri Orthodox Church is coordinating the Icon Painting Workshop held July 14-19 at the Prosopon School of Arts and Iconology, located in the College of Santa Fe.

The instructor of the workshop will be the Rev. Medfodii, who has been studying the art of icon painting with the school’s founder, Vladislav Andreyev, for more than 17 years.

During the workshop, Medfodii will teach the Byzantine style of icon painting, which dates back to the 13th century.

This year, students will create an icon of the Archangel Michael.

Elizabeth Bezzerides, workshop coordinator, said classes will be divided into three-hour sessions. Each session will begin with some theological perspective on the upcoming work students will do.

Following this will be a demonstration of an icon painting technique, Bezzerides said, whether it is transferring the icon onto the board or putting gold leaf on a halo.

The classes use only natural materials from the gold leaf to the egg tempera.

Bezzerides encourages everyone to register for the class for a chance to create his or her own work of art.

“If you have any interest in icons and you’ve looked at them, (this class will help you) understand the structure and even gain an understanding of the theology and the work that goes into making an icon,” she said. “When you done it yourself you gain a new understanding and when you look at icons in the future you actually develop an improved eye for looking at icons.”

She added, “You don’t have to be an artist to be able to write the icon. I have seen icons by first-time students that take my breathe away because they’re just beautiful.”

The learning doesn’t have to stop when the workshop is finished. Bezzerides said at varying levels, people have gone on to paint and study icons.

For instance, after taking the icon workshop, one artist completely moved her medium from secular art to icons.

The class is offered through the Orthodox Church, not to make any profit, but to give people the joy of creating their own icon.

“It’s very enriching,” Bezzerides said.

To register for the workshop, call Bezzerides at 660-9113. The cost of the workshop is $546, plus $90 for materials.

“It’s a very special week,” she said, “you get to participate in something hands-on that is timeless. It makes it very special. You just connect with a timelessness.”