There is great satisfaction when an artist’s work gets seen by the public. It is the kind of satisfaction in having done your best, with no worry for what others may think. It’s that subtle feeling of contentment, like you’ve made a small contribution of value. Traditional byzantine style icon paintings are not done by artists, they are not even considered art, they are considered to be portraits of spiritual life.
Bonded to Icon Painting.
George Bernard Shaw said, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to serve whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life.”
Icon painters become alive in their commitment to create because it is a lifestyle. It becomes the way we see, think and meditate. Icon painting is about finding the balance between showing up everyday and enjoying the dedication to sharing something spiritual with the world.
Writers rearrange words, musicians rearrange notes, icon painters rearrange eggs and dirt. I love the raw material as much as the limitless interpretation of the images. This small collection of radical nontraditional icons were a vacation from the discipline and a voyage in creative possibilities. I surprised myself just by rearranging the ingredients.
New Image, New Mind, should I or shouldn’t I
The language series comprises eight icons, eighteen inches square, all focused on the ways Christ communicates, the way we communicate and how we communicate. The face of Christ is placed at the center of each while the surrounding area is dedicated to various themes and backgrounds. Two icons utilized a variety of hands; the Hindu hand positions called mudras used as words during their dancing and in the others, hand positions are used in sign language. I wanted to draw attention to the hands ability to communicate the divine touch and being touched. The icon of the cosmic Christ in time and space and another, Christ as an alphabet of words and letters were both extraordinary meditations where I felt free to explore the magnitude of Christ present in all things. I followed in the series; Christ in Astrology, Christ the time clock and Christ at the center of the four cardinal points, earth, air, fire and water, all addressing His universal message, “we are timeless”.
Icon painting and observance
The Russian Saint who defended a town many years ago, whose name we cannot pronounce will not help the prayer life of anyone today who speaks French and lives in the Philippines. Icons must carry a valid message for spiritual growth or they become beautiful copies of pretty pictures absent of the qualities necessary to teach about God. The series called portrait icons; the ‘unknown saint’, ‘silent wisdom’, ‘divine simplicity’ or ‘the priest’ suggest a snapshot in our own interior. It is not as important ‘who’ it is, rather the image honors an instant of receptivity we all share.
The last supper series radically diverges from tradition in a surprising and celebratory way. I am quite aware of the message and story behind Christ and the Last Supper. The event happens towards the end of His life, the event was filled with instruction, the moment the disciples figure out what was happening or about to happen? That dinner was a turbulent and confusing event, Christ left at some point to go pray, the disciples fell asleep before it was over and it ended in a bit of violence.
The series was provoked by the world’s apparent attraction to fast food and drive though windows where we think we will receive nourishment but don’t. For me the message is simple, if we don’t remember how to eat together, we will surely come to an end, spiritually starved and forever alienated from one another. Perhaps if we sit down again as families and nations we can figure out what is happening or about to happen and stop the rampant disconnect so many of us live with everyday.
Art is a two-way street, view and viewer
I ask for your comments; it takes up valuable time I know, but expressing an opinion builds discussion and opens new thoughts between us. Thank you, peace