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Grey ManI 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.