Iconography class… and other art

“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.”

– Pope St. John Paul II

A few weeks back I started an iconography class (I know, like I *need* something else to do, right?). Before I start talking about that though, a little background…

I went to a wedding in May:

St Charles
{church, for your reference}

The wedding was in Spanish, so I kept missing pieces of the ceremony. But when the priest was pronouncing the marriage I could almost see something, it’s hard to capture in words exactly what it was. It wasn’t anything *actually* visible, more I think the symbolism of marriage in a church and what the sacrament of marriage IS… I think… Like I said, hard to describe exactly in words. Anyway, I had this overwhelming urge to draw it, and try to capture it that way, but…. I don’t draw. Or I never really have before.

I really felt in that moment that even though I couldn’t draw, I was supposed to go figure out how to draw (by draw I mean: draw with pen, paint or something). I didn’t know really how to do that. I mean how does one begin drawing religious art if one doesn’t draw?

Then I heard about the iconography class. It was mentioned in passing while we were chatting with some friends (I hadn’t read the bulletin that week, so I had missed the announcement). I basically halted the conversation and said “Are you serious?” Not that I didn’t believe what they were saying, I was stunned that here I was, thinking just a week before that I *needed* to draw this feeling from the wedding (which I couldn’t do, and I was going to put aside) and then, there’s this class. And if Icons aren’t religious art then, I don’t know what is.

So after working out a few scheduling difficulties (I’ll be missing a few classes on account of our road trip), I signed up.

I’ve done two classes so far (plus one “makeup” session to work around the trip).

choosing the icon
choosing the icon

We did a brief history of iconography and chose the icon we were going to paint. Funny side story: The woman teaching the class doesn’t speak English. So, all my dust covered Spanish has been dragged out and been used like it hasn’t been since I spent some time in Costa Rica…. more than seven years ago….) There are a few people who have been translating most of the “ideas” here and there, but it’s a bit patchy. Still, so much fun 🙂

The next class was easier in terms of language barrier. We traced a copy of the icon and poked pin-pricks on all the traced lines.

icon class#2


(We spent three hours doing that…) I’m still not sure what the purpose is for that, but I’m sure we’ll get there.

In my “make up” class I chose/designed a border. I’ve still got to do the actual tracing of half of it, which I can do at home, but haven’t done yet.

Two main things I like so far are the amount of prayer and contemplation that goes into the whole process: choosing the icon, meditating on it, even the work itself. I mean, spending three hours bent over an 8 x 10 image of Christ is going to have some contemplation.

The other thing I’ve really come to enjoy is my little group of co-artists. We all three chose the same icon, so we’ve been working closely. And there’s been quite a bit of f sharing that’s happened in the last two weeks (motherhood, marriage, Church, all of it). It’s been really helpful in a lot of ways because both the ladies have been Catholic longer than I have, and they’ve both been mothers longer than I have. It’s really been wonderful. {Shout out to Seana and Rita y’all are great!}

Right. Now that I’ve used up the better part of an hour, I also wanted to touch on another artsy project I stumbled upon. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries has a sketch-along {linked to the June one}, using words and quotes and such. I made two tentative little doodles this month, the theme was “JOY”. Here they are.



Lettering is harder than I thought. The top was a doodle, and the bottom was part of this quote:

Joy is prayer—Joy is strength—Joy is love—Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
– Mother Teresa

I leave you there for this evening my friends.

~Ruth Anne