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Encaustic icon Mother of God. Detail.


Dear Friends and Colleagues!,

We used to say that learning new things is a challenge…

Well, the problem is, that learning REALLY IS a

Encaustic icon by Philip DavydovCHALLENGE

Getting to know something new not only we add a megabyte or two of information to what we knew earlier… True learning process forces us to review, update and re-structure all the furniture of our mind.. Only in this case we can say that we really learn and grow... Otherwise, we gain information like we gain weight... We obtain an ability to extract a delightful quotation to make an impression, but it does not change our way of living.

It’s been about a year now, that I’ve been learning how to paint with hot encaustics, and I had a nice feeling of getting to know it always better. I have chosen it for it’s difference from egg tempera, and for the whole year I always felt as being introduced to a whole new world of opportunities, provided by this technology. At certain point of this journey (about 2 weeks ago) I came to a condition to think: “ - I need more knowledge in sculpting, as this painting technique allows to show much more depth. I went to my friend, who is a sculptor, and I asked how heads and all other objects are “sculpted”. My idea was to to “learn the principles” and to understand how to model my icons showing more volume.

All went well when I was telling him about my problem, but than he asked me a simple question: “- Why?”

- Why, or for what reason do you want to learn principles of sculpting?? You anyway work from models… Take models with more evident modeling and analyze them… But more important is to understand WHAT do you need this skill FOR ??

Encaustic icons Do you have some very special message to convey by giving your images more volume? Or you just want to make your image stylized?

That was really cool. I instantly felt like someone, who had learned extra 50.000 words to write a new book, but never thought of what this new book is gong to be about… It was great to be in shoes of a student again. I was reminded, that more important it is to have a goal and find right means to accomplish the mission. And what was I doing? I was collecting means for accomplishing some hypothetical mission with no mission on horizon, just to b proud of something ! :( … Well, now I think that gaining skills is like gaining weight. Like any property and possessions we take care of, but don’t use, obtaining excessive skills we clutter our lives...

Hope this could be helpful to someone, and, by the way, - this was anti-advertising ;) - to say, that we have no necessity to learn everything… We only should seek new skills if we feel we need them…

If you do, here is a little pre-advertisement:

Online Iconography Drawing Course IVTEACHING

Yet the borders are mostly locked and we continue teaching online. We started preparing the COURSE IV (our next brand new online course). Now it’s planning time and the main goal of this course is to teach how to pass from the theoretical knowledge about iconography drawing to practice.

The subject will be half-figure of Christ. In our previous online courses we covered frontal and asymmetrical faces, analyzed role of space in iconography. This time we will dedicate some time to drawing garments and hands, but the main idea is to learn, how to pass from drawing details to accomplishing an integrate image. From General to Specific and Back Again. The students will be introduced to a universal professional method, performed as a certain sequence of choices, considerations and practical tasks, applicable to almost any other image as well.

Yet we are in the process of planning, so we can only give two approximate dates: we should open the registration for the COURSE IV no later than in the middle of July, and we hope that the Course will begin in the last days of July 2021. As soon as we come up with a specific program we will send out a special Newsletter and announce the registration. However, if you would like to be personally informed about details of this coming course via email, please let us know.

Relief Gesso icon by Olga Shalamova ICONS

These months were (and still are) busy, especially for Olga. She loves to thoroughly investigate every new pigment, and after finding something called “Pencil Clay”, she found it satisfying (and challenging) to work with. You can see the result on this icon on the right, and on other latest icons. It’s the background, which may seem white on the photograph... But it’s a very delicately applied very thin layer of this Pencil Clay mixed with titanium white. All the 6 new Olga’s icons are about 11-13 inches (28 - 35 cm) high, and they all have relief gesso details. (here). Some of these icons are still available, - drop us a line if you want to know more about them.


Icons on fabric by Olga Shalamova

Somehow work with fabric tends to always extend in time. Olga printed her liturgical Aers and veils several months ago, but to mount all parts together and to photograph the finished pieces took extra time.

These vestments do not imitate gold thread embroidery, capturing our eye with unreal amount of labor. To make good printed fabric vestments we only need artistic means. It’s an eye and hand of an artist, carefully choosing the type and amount of decoration on them. These particular sets were made as first in a series... Patterns allow an unlimited number of options in colors, types of fabric, designs and other details, and the very printing process can be performed with creativity. Each aer with it’s veils is individual, and yet they all are comparatively affordable, - once patterns are made, they allow to produce many copies.

Icons of Saint Xenia of Saint Petersburg on fabric by Olga Shalamova In addition to the liturgical veils, Olga printed made several images of Xenia of Saint Petersburg as ICONS ON FABRIC. It's a new type of image for us, requiring a new approach in finishing. All the images of Saint Xenia are slightly different, but they all are about 50 cm high... It's so interesting to see, how each choice we make leads to change other choices as well, - it's really like choosing a path. We were not sure which to choose as our favorite, - they all seem to be good and appealing. St Xenia was what is called "full for Christ", so she is represented in this type of iconography.

In addition we had a commission for a little icon on fabric, - it is 21 X 25.5 cm (8 X 10 in). It was made for a church of saint Antipas, and as he was an early Christian saint, Olga took her inspiration in early Coptic examples. The image was applied with combination of lino-cut and stencils, which allowed to achieve such a complexity and variety of combined approaches in one image.

ENCAUSTICS... Interrupted

Encaustic icon by Philip Davydov We publish some Philip’s icons in hot encaustics (here) just to keep you updated. It is an endless and enspiring process, full of discoveries (check the three latest ones here), which has recently been interrupted… by a priest. This priest read an interview with Philip in a local Diocese Magazine QUA VIVA and found it appealing. If all goes well, we hope to publish photos of the process of a new project in the nearest future… Stay tuned ;)

Wishing you all some time for creative researches; bravery and openness to accept the discoveries!! ;)

Yours sincerely,

Philip and Olga

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