Thursday, 7 July 2011

The first paint...

Yesterday was spent gilding another icon, Our Lady of Perpetual Help for a Catholic church in Wimbledon.

Today I cleaned up the edges where the gold had ended up where the painting is to be done, a meticulous process because you dont want to take off too much, done with a knife blade. Then I transferred the rest of the image to the board, coated this with a very weak egg solution, and then began to map out the basic colour scheme.

In this version, the figure of Christ will be in white, which connects with Christ at the Transfiguration when the  Divine energies manifested themselves as Light in the matter of Christ, his face, clothes, everything. Behind we have a six pointed mandorla of fire, set against a blue/green mandorla; the first speaks of the Divine Energy of Love which creates, sustains, redeems, (six is a number often associated with the Passion); the second speaks of the Divne Nature, Unknown but manifested in Christ. This moves to blue and clouds, as the 'fingerprint' of God the Creator is to be found in the order of his Creation of which the heavens are a living symbol. The waters of life are also in blue, reminding us of the Sacramental Order of the Church, flow from out of the mandorla at Christ's feet, rushing forth to make sacred the whole cosmos.The outer edge of the inner shapes is a octagon, representing the eighth day of the New Creation and this is a bright ochre colour. 
The red colour is drawn into a verticle line to the seraphim and to St Mary Magdalene, which the other axis is drawn out to white from the figure of Christ to Adam and to the angel.

This is a complex theological icon, so I am trying to keep the colour palette simple so the composition remains calm and contemplative, with a sense of energy and movement but not at the expense of a real stillness and poise. 

This may all of course change... but so far I am reasonably happy the way it is going. 

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