Chapel of the Transfiguration
Making an icon of the Transfiguration of Christ for the Chapel of the Transfiguration in Teton Park has been simmering on the back burner of my mind for some time. For an iconographer, The Transfiguration is an important icon to paint. Within it resides the purpose of all icons — to show the transfigured human not just as a portrait of what is there, but rather how God sees that person. So the task of painting The Transfiguration is one I approach with a bit of fear and trembling.
The Chapel kept calling to me to paint and with the help and support of many others, I began.
Rather than write a series of blog posts, I have elected to tell the story of the icon’s development with a gallery and attachments on a single page. I will be updating the page frequently with progress reports.
Go here ==> An Icon for the Chapel of the Transfiguration or simply click on the “In Progress” button at the top of all the pages on this site.
April 10, 2016
Sunday, April 10, 2016, I took the board for the Transfiguration icon to church. Fr. Trent Moore anointed my hands and gave me the blessing. The children (second graders, 345’s) who had learned about icons a few weeks ago stood with me. You can just see the board behind me on the kneeling cushions.
Below is the text of the introduction and blessing. It was a blessing, indeed.
At its March meeting, the Vestry accepted Gay Pogue’s offer to paint an icon of the Transfiguration of Christ to be placed on the wall near the entrance of the Chapel of the Transfiguration. She is now ready to begin painting and has asked for a blessing upon her and her work. Gay, will you please come forward and bring the board on which the icon will be painted. Gay has met with our children twice to introduce them to icons. I’d like the children who are present to come forward and stand with Gay as she receives a blessing.
Anointing the hands of the Iconographer
Gay, I anoint your hands with this Oil of Chrism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. May God guide your hands as you present the Gospel in line and color in this holy icon.
Blessing of the Iconographer
O Divine Lord of all that exists, you illumined the Apostle and Evangelist Luke with your Holy Spirit, thereby enabling him to represent your Holy Mother, who held you in her arms as a small child.
Enlighten and direct the soul, heart, and spirit of this your servant who loves the beauty of your house. Guide her hands so that she may worthily and perfectly paint your image for your glory and the adornment of the Chapel of the Transfiguration.
Forgive her sins and the sins of those who will view the icon she paints. Deliver her from all temptation, protect her from all evil, and instruct her with divine counsel.
Bless her + and all who stand in awe before you.
May the icon she paints make us mindful of your glory and grateful for a place in your heavenly kingdom, for you are good and merciful and your love for humanity is eternal. For this we give you honor and glory, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages. Amen.
I am working on getting the drapery of the garments on the human figures in my icons just right. First, there is the matter of how the tunics and cloaks were worn by first century Middle Eastern or Roman people. They sort of wrapped these large cloaks around themselves in an artful way. That concept works until you really look at what some of the old iconographers painted.
I was thinking that if I could duplicate on an artist’s mannequin some of the drapery that is rendered in paint on on the old icons I could better understand how to paint those images myself.
Enter, Grey Man.
I made clothes for him out of an old dish towel and an old pillow case, by hand, since my sewing machines are all back in Texas. Then to get the fabric to have some semblance of proper weight, I wet it down and arranged it. All that engineering worked until I tried to duplicate drapery like the old iconographers had painted.
Then I got out a queen-sized flannel sheet and draped it on Ron–to no avail. I could not duplicate anything that looked like what the old ones had painted.
Finally, in desperation, I emailed my friend Ronnie Creyws who is a student of Aidan Hart in The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and asked for help. She said they all struggle with the drapery and that even Aidan finds it daunting.
Ronnie did tell me that one of her follow students is doing a thesis on the drapery and when it is finished she will send me a link to the information.
Meanwhile, it’s just Grey Man and me.