Water gilding, distressing, and perfectionism

Last spring, I had the pleasure of participating in a water gilding class taught by Jill London from the Society of Gilders. I wanted to learn best practices from someone who does primarily gilding, and has for 30 years. The prior year I had taken her oil gilding class, which was also excellent, but what […]

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St. Sebastian Dabovich of San Francisco and Jackson

Photos from the Glorification of St. Sebastian and more new Icons of him

Hundreds of people descended on St Steven’s Cathedral, along with the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej, to participate in the official glorification of a new American saint, Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich of San Francisco and Jackson. The last time I remember an American saint getting canonized, it was St Raphael of Brooklyn, and the ceremony was held […]

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How the Icon Describes in Paint What Scripture Teaches in Words

If one were to ask me for three words to describe what we portray in the icon, they would be Incarnation, Transfiguration, and Asceticism (Restraint). Incarnation is why we have icons in the first place. If Jesus is God incarnate (with a real body, real features), and if that incarnate body is now seated in […]

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silk draperies, source: ethanallen.com

How Learning about Clarity Changed my Approach to Painting Orthodox Icons

It is the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and I am getting on an airplane. My husband is sick with worry about me. I assure him it’s the safest possible day to fly: security is sure to be tight. In line at security were a couple of older ladies who hadn’t flown in over ten years. […]

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My first icon of Fr. Sebastian Dabovich, a new American Orthodox Saint

In May, 2015, a council of bishops in Belgrade, Serbia made it official. Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich, a priest from California, is now Saint Sebastian of San Francisco and Jackson. Our bishop in Los Angeles made haste to put together a huge celebration in September, attended by the Patriarch of Serbia and by many people from […]

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The Miracle of Archangel Michael at Chonae

Orthodox Icon of the Miracle of St Michael at Chonae

In May, 2015 I finally finished an icon of the Miracle of St. Michael at Chonae. I say “finally” because I struggled with this icon quite a bit. The event portrayed in the icon is commemorated on September 6 in the Orthodox church calendar. St Michael answers the prayers of the monk Archippus, saving the […]

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St Matthew Evangelist Manuscript Illumination Icon

An Experiment Making Icons as Manuscript Illuminations

Back in the winter of 2013-2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to see a show at the Getty Center in Los Angeles called “Canterbury and St. Albans.” The show featured stained glass windows from Canterbury Cathedral and pages from the St. Albans Psalter, an illuminated book of Psalms from the early 12th century. Usually when […]

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St. Catherine of Alexandria, the Great Martyr

Painting an Icon of St Catherine as Artist in Residence at Riverside Greek Fest, 2014

The first weekend of October, 2014, I spent nearly every waking moment at the Riverside Greek Fest. Every year, St. Andrew’s Orthodox Church puts on a big festival which includes an indoor “Arts and Culture” exhibit in addition to the usual Greek Festival features (music, dancing, food, ouzo…). That year the theme of the exhibit […]

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Beheading of St John the Forerunner and Baptist

New Icon: St John in the Wilderness

In September, 2014 I attended what had become an annual tradition for me: the Hexaemeron workshop in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The teaching of Ksenia Pokrovsky about highlighting garments, hair and faces based on real life observations (via her hundreds of magazine “photo pictures”) had made a deep impression on me three years prior, and […]

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Image Not Made by Hands

The Icon Not Made by Human Hands

In August, the church commemorates the Icon of Christ “Not Made by Hands,” also commonly known as the “Holy Napkin,” the “Mandylion,” or the “Holy Face.” According to the oral tradition of the Eastern Church, the prototype for this image was made by Christ himself as he put his face against a towel, leaving an […]

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All images © 2012-2016 Yvonne Hajdu-Cronin