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Holy Wisdom?

Holy Wisdom / by the hand of Gay Pogue / Acrylic on board / 14 x 11 x 1 inches

Holy Wisdom / by the hand of Gay Pogue / Acrylic on board / 14 x 11 x 1 inches

Holy Wisdom / by the hand of Gay Pogue / Acrylic on board / 14 x 11 x 1 inches

Holy Wisdom / by the hand of Gay Pogue / Acrylic on board / 14 x 11 x 1 inches


Two years ago (2014 -2015), when we were homeless and unemployed, we lived out of Ron’s Taurus for four months. We stayed with patient family members and forgiving friends, and in hotels and motels of various sorts. I had a portable “studio” and a few supplies.

While we were with the Tripps outside of Gunnison, Colorado, I finished the icon of the Holy Wisdom that I had begun in Michigan. I had an extra board, but no extra pattern. So, I just painted the same image over again. I tweaked the pattern a bit before putting it on the board. The icon with the blue border was painted first; the gold border, second.

The icon of Holy Wisdom is essentially Jesus as he is imagined to be in heaven — his heavenly transfigured self. It is a controversial icon because Jesus is portrayed without a beard — an androgynous being. That bears some contemplation.

What strikes me is how different they are. Some of the differences were intentional; some were not.

Looking at these has led me to consider what would happen if I took an old icon pattern and intentionally painted it in different ways — not changing the central figure but rather those things that surround it.

Stay tuned.

Follow the Story of the Chapel’s Icon!

Chapel of the Transfiguration

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.


Budding Iconographers

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This past week, I again hauled a large suitcase of iconography supplies over to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jackson, Wyoming. This time I spoke to third, fourth, and fifth graders–a much calmer group. The music festival chamber group was rehearsing in the chancel so we skipped the field trip up there to look at the icons already in place.

After a brief introduction of what icons are and how they are used, we dived straight into the craft of iconography.

We ground a bit of pigment with the glass and muller. We separated eggs and made the tempera solution. Each participant picked out three pigments and a brush. They put bits of the egg into dishes and I doled out the pigments.

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I had brought an icon pattern for them to color, but I could see that our limited time would not allow them to finish that. Instead each student received a blank piece of water color paper and painted what they wished with paint they had made themselves.

Of course, they were fascinated by the experience, and the parents who came to pick them up just had to wait until they were done.

Clearly, one of our artists sees himself in the picture.

The Transfigured Christ

Transfigured Christ

The Transfiguration of the Lord, by the hand of Gay Pogue, Egg tempera and gold leaf on gessoed panel, 14x11x1 inches. $1200

Last week I wrote about the grinding of the azurite rock into pigment. Here is that same azurite in the background of The Transfiguration of the Lord icon. For those of you who have been following me for a while, you recognize that I have been working on this icon for a long time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many house guests here in Jackson Hole have put serious egg tempera iconography on hold. Finally, it is finished.

A note on the subject: With only the figure of Christ in this icon of the Transfiguration, I believe the viewer can concentrate more fully on the “uncreated light” of God and its implications for this time and place.

Second Graders Get It!

I talked to seven second graders yesterday afternoon about icons, as a part of a week-long after-school program at St. John’s Church in Jackson Hole.

Second Graders get icons. They just get it. They relate to pictures more than words. They like to hold the icons in their hands and look at them.

They are amazed that you can grind up a rock and mix it with egg and paint with it.

They get symbolism. Jesus’s halo always has a cross on it. No cross; it’s not Jesus.

They understand that if you are going to color a picture of Jesus, you need to calm down and say a prayer first.

They love color and use the rainbow to show the uncreated light of God.

They understand that Jesus is God so The Transfiguration makes perfect sense to them.

Here is their coloring page.

Christ Transfigured Coloring Page