Icons are said to be a Sacred Art. By this, we mean that icons are not supposed to be admired for the sake of it, but have very much a liturgical function. As part of the liturgy, Icons are there to help us to draw closer to God.
Icon painting comes from the Greek word eikonographos (the Slavonic is ikonopisanie), although the Icon painter was given the name zopgraphos by the Second Council of Niceae. Zophraphos, often translated as ‘painter’, literally means a depicter of life or forms taken from life.
Hence the Iconographer, through prayer and by using elements of Creation (wood, egg, rabbit skin, pigments), has for their ultimate goal the transcendence of Creation by drawing us ever closer to the Creator.
The ancient and traditional process of painting (some prefer to refer to it as “writing”) an Icon is long and prayerful.
Traditionally, the subject of an icon is a scene/story from Holy Scripture or of a Saint. From the selection and sanding of the wooden panel; the laying down of the gesso (Plaster of Paris with rabbit glue); the application and burnishing of the fine gold leaf, and finally through the painting itself (using egg tempora, a mix of egg yolk and colour pigments), the painter will try to infuse their prayers into the icon.
I had the privilege to learn from iconographer Peter Murphy for four years. I am very much inspired by the Cretan school of iconography and particularly from masters of the XVth and XVIth century such as Angelos Akotantos, Andreas Ritzos, Michael Damaskinos and Theophanes the Cretan to name a few.
I have already completed a number of commissions (for private use or for Churches). If after seeing my work you would like to commission an Icon, I will be happy to discuss this with you. Costs and other arrangements are decided on a case-by-case basis. I can be contacted either by post or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brother Michäel OSB