Dear Friends and Colleagues!,
It’s almost the New Year time, and it is hard to believe, that just yesterday it was March and we worried if it is the right thing to move all our courses online… What a harsh year it’s been for everybody, - how destructive and devastating!
As everybody in the world, we can say, - it was a year, when we have spent months staring at computer screens while losing relatives and friends in this invisible battle.
Please accept our most sincere condolences for your losses... And yet... We send you our warmest and most sincere Christmas greetings! Let’s be strong and pray for this coming year to be less cataclysmic and wrecking!
Here is what we have been up to:
1. A Crucifixion
2.New Olga's works
3. Online Course(s)
4. Biennale of Christ-Centered Art
1. Two Crucifixions
Researches and experiments in encaustics finally brought some practical fruits, and now it’s time ro remember how they started. The process began in February with an email of a priest, living in Siberia. He was willing to order a Crucifixion for his tiny church in Tomsk.
We love making commissions for churches because they provide great range of possibilities to work with the space. All stages of work are intriguing, because instead of thinking of a tiny-tiny little image you feel invited to co-operation in a sanctified sacred space. Any church has a unique character, environment and history. Every church interior is different and it deserves to have individually conceived images, no matter whether they will be large or little. This church of St John the Theologian in Tomsk currently occupies a space, which used to be a post-office. The room is rectangular, walls are all flat and white, and only iconostasis is all bright red with printed photocopies of icons. To deal with all these conditions we needed to find a technology, which would not compete with dullness and flatness of the walls and at the same time would have a good connection with iconostasis. Active enough to be seen, and still not pretending to be the main focal point. Egg tempera seemed to have too subtle colors and we chose encaustics to have enough brightness and expression. We saw some photographs from the interior, and we have a feeling, that it works well: the black background is strong and contrast enough to grasp the attention and the red on the halo connects visually it with the iconostasis.
In these days Philip is painting on a regular gessoed board to see how encaustic icons can be more traditional. And, yes, - this technique attracts more and more interest. Several other encaustic icons have been taken by different clients in Russia and abroad, and two encaustic icons even participate in an exhibition (read more below).
2. Olgas Works
In the meantime Olga has painted an icon of Saint Leonidas and made a Cross with relief gesso. It was commissioned for a church of Saint Leonidas, as church-dedication icon of th patron saint with 4 other selected saints. So, again we had to face this difficult question: how to incorporate the new icon in the exhisting church interior? How to let it become native part of the church, where all the elements are so carefully calculated to work together? One of the first practical questions was, whether the background should have the same color, or it may be different. Same about the size of the board, width of the borders and color of halo. The icon was finished and delivered, but yet we did not see any photograph: eager to see what it look like.
In these days Olga continues to work with fabics. Her current project includes chalice veil, the air and other liturgical fabrics. Sometimes I am ready to sing Glory to God for a great number of haberdashery stores in our city, - it's so cool to hunt for right color threads or little stone bead. Choosing the threads is the funniest thing, - they look be 99.9999% equal by color, not not by texture, by texture, but not by width... (There should be a timelaps, showing the process of choosing them, - it's totally crazy.. well, - maybe next year!) By the end of January these liturgical vestments should be ready and we will start sharing them. In the meantime there are some photos on our instagram, but not many.
We continue our online teaching experience, learning new video skills and new approaches. Now we would like you to check, if you may be interested in a course, which we called “Space in Iconography”. We decided to tak this subject as for old masters it was crucial. Often looking at icons, we are amazed, why they grasp our attention so oddly? This course is open for anyone, interested in learning the concept of space in traditional iconography: how it is evaluated, what meanings it may have and how to manage it in practice.
The basic plan of the course includes: a) experiments with abstracted space relationships, b) figure-negative space connection, c) figure versus details, d) figures interacting, and e) images with the architecture.
We also plan to have our traditional zooms, this time they will be on Saturdays, 17:00 Australian standard time and 12:00 PM Eastern time (10:00 Mountain time).
Read more >>
For those, who studied at the first online course, we repeat the Course II second week after the new year and plan to publish the first assignment the 8th of January 2021 (see details on a special page >> )
One more time we would like to bring our most sincere apologies to our dear friends, who live in New Zealand, where we were hoping to come last June, to those, who had planned to sign up for our courses in October and especially to those, who used to come and study with us in Australia in January! So sorry, it was/is impossible, we miss you so very badly!
4. Biennale of Christ-Centered Art
Wishing you MERRY CHRISTMAS, we feel honored and delighted to share initiative of our friend, - it's a Biennale of Christ-Centered Art. It feels inspiring to see, how difficult times make creative people find new solutions and possibilities for surviving, or, at least, for communication! Facebook has several groups, where artists successfully sell their works, but we were so excited to learn, that there are more serious projects! We first met Gor Chahal as a curator of “Gifts – 2013” exhibition, in which we were honored to participate.
The idea of actual Christ-Centered Biennale, organized by Gor Chahal with help of Mitropolit Hillarion, irina Yazykova, Alexei Lidov, together with other people and several institutions is similar. The point is to show traditional Christian iconography together with religious art works in one space, connecting them visually and conceptually.
Currently, all the artworks are shown online, and in May 2021 they should be exhibited offline, in a brand new restored historical residence of Patriarchs of Russia. We found most of the exhibited works interesting and appealing, and as far as we know, there are more to come. We suggest you have a look if you are interested! We hope it may be a great possibility for showing artworks for the future as well. Thank you for being our dear subscriber!
More news coming soon ;)
We wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy New Year!!!,
Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova
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