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Home > Our Parish > Iconography Workshops
Our 7th Annual Prosopon Iconography Workshop

Archangel Michael, Beginnning students. Other icons for those who have done this one.
Archangel Michael, Beginnning students. Other icons for those who have done this one.
Archangel Michael, Beginnning students. Other icons for those who have done this one.
Christ the Bridegroom, Advanced students, for 2016.
Christ the Bridegroom, Advanced students, for 2016.
Christ the Bridegroom, Advanced students, for 2016.
Theotokos, Tenderness
Theotokos, Tenderness
Theotokos, Tenderness
OUR 7th ANNUAL ICONOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

Monday, September 11 - Saturday September 16, 2017

Meeting daily, Monday through Saturday, 9am - 4pm,

Monday arrive by 8:30 to complete registration.

Hosted by:

The Iconography Guild of St. Theodosia and
St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church

Stafford, VA 

(Not mailing address)  60 Clifton Chapel Lane, Stafford, VA 22555

 

 Presented by:

Fr. Igumen Mefodii, Instructor for the Prosopon School of Iconology, Skete of St. Maximos the Confessor, 434-589-8530, sketestmaximos@gmail.com

 

To Register, Contact:

Jo Anne Laymon (Mat. Joanna), workshop coordinator, sttheodosiaiconguild@yahoo.com

 Contact her to join the email list for updates.

 

The traditional Byzantine-Russian icon-writing method of the Prosopon School of Iconology, founded by Vladislav Andreyev, is a revival of the 15th-16th century iconography style of Andre Rublev. The Prosopon School empasizes the spiritual aspects of the twenty-one step process of writing the icon. To view their icons see: www.prosoponschool.org

 

Each student will create an icon using ancient techniques of painting and floating with egg tempera, with natural materials: carved wooded boards, pure gold leaf, and finely ground clay and mineral pigments mixed with egg yolk. Fr. Mefodii will emphasize the underlying theology of the icon, both the one upon which we work and the Image (Icon) of God in each of us.

 

Previous "artistic" experience is not necessary since icon writing is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an ascetic discipline. The workshop will consist of six full-day sessions during which each student will complete an icon. Beginning students will receive step-by-step instructions and all necessary materials to paint/write the icon of Archangel Michael. Students who have attended previous workshops will be assigned an icon appropriate to their experience or they can contact Fr. Mefodii in advance to discuss options. Advanced students this year will be writing the icon of Christ, Great Humility, detail shown.

For more photos from our workshops, visit, like, and share our public Facebook page: St. Herman of Alaska Russian Orthodox Church: https://www.facebook.com/StHermanOrthodoxStaffordVA/. The workshop page Event can be found also on Face Book, coming soon!

 

Instructor: Father Igumen Mefodii, Master Iconographer and student of Vladislav Andreyevof the Prosopon School of Iconology since 1991, was appointed instructor in 2006 and promoted to Master Iconographer 2008. He has conducted workshops throughout America, in the Philippines, in England, and at St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church since 2011. He is an Orthodox priest-monk (Hieromonk) of the Skete of St. Maximos the Confessor in Palmyra, VA, and has been an ordained priest for over 35 years. Additonally he has been a spiritual director of a college seminary, a representative to various religious and interfaith organizations, and an author. He holds two degrees in theology: Magister der Theologie (M.Th.) from the Theology Faculty of the University Innsbruck, Austria; and a Master of Arts (MA) in Eastern Christian Theology from the John XXIII Institute for Eastern Christian Studies at Fordham University, Bronx, NY.

 

Tuition and Materials: A Non-refundable deposit is due, $150 (applied toward the tuition) no later than August 21, 2017. (If you cannot get it in by that date, I could send in a quick, last-minute order for you if I have your deposit within the week.) Contact Mat. Joanna Laymon (above email address) for details.

Price includes: tuition, use of tools, all of your materials, the wooden board (beginning/intermediate students), pigments and egg emulsion, brushes, palette, gold leaf, and your pattern. Instruction lasts from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. for the six days, and you may stay to work until 6 p.m.

Beginning/Intermediate students: TBA, Includes your board. You are also required to purchase the very helpful packet of large, full-color prints showing each of the 22 steps in the process of painting Archangels Michael or Gabriel, if you are doing these icons. Packets are $25 and are available for other icons if you choose.

Intermediate/Advanced Students: Those who have done the icons of Archangels Michael and Gabriel, The Theotokos, Christ, St. John the Baptist, and Guardian Angel in the Prosopon method, are invited to write the icon of TBA. Tuition and materials fee will be TBA, however you must purchase your own board. You may trace and scribe/line your pattern ahead of time. When you send in your deposit Mat. Joanna will send you the pattern. The iconography guild will also do this for their August meeting.

Students are responsible for their lodging and meals and may share potluck lunches during the workshop.

Mat. Joanna will reserve a block of hotel rooms at a discount, located nearby and will be emailing further information.

Daily Schedule

 

Monday through Saturday:

Begin with prayer: 9 a.m. (Arrival Monday, however, about 8:30 to set up and finish registration.)

Lunch break: Potluck, for about an hour starting around noon.

Fr. Mefodii leaves about 4 p.m.

Continue working if you wish until about 6 p.m.

 

You are welcome to attend our Adult Education class led by our parish priest, Fr. Alexander, on Wednesday evening, which begins at 7 p.m.

Vespers begins at 6 p.m. in the chapel on Saturday, which is a perfect way to end the week.

 

 

The Technical Contents of the Course

Technical Content

1.   Explanation of the preparation of the board with gesso ground, levkas
2.   Transferring the Image and its engraving: preparation of the surface under the gold (red clay application)
3.   Gilding and burnishing
4.   First layer of color, roskrish
5.   Redrawing of the outlines; first highlights, vokhrenie
6.   First float of transparent color, plav'
7.   Second highlight
8.   Second float
9.   Second redrawing; third highlight, enliveners, ozhivki
10. Linseed oil application, Olipha discussed.
11. Questions, make-up, review of the process, and instructor's comments regarding each icon. Photos, before you leave!

Workshop 2016 Photos

2016 Workshop Class

Our annual iconography workshop was held Sept. 12 - 17th, 2016. It was taught by Fr. Igumen Mefodii, of the Skete of St. Maximos the Confessor and master iconographer of the Prosopon School of Iconology. It was a blessed week of prayer, lessons, a few struggles, and spiritual growth, to create an icon on the board as well as to grow into the Icon (Image and Likeness) of Christ. We are looking forward to our next workshop, Sept. 11-16, 2017.

Our Workshop Experience 2015

Joyful Maureen takes a break to smile
Joyful Maureen takes a break to smile
Joyful Maureen takes a break to smile
Our icon corner, around which we pray to open each day.
Our icon corner, around which we pray to open each day.
Our icon corner, around which we pray to open each day.
Michele begins with the alpha line around the halo.
Michele begins with the alpha line around the halo.
Michele begins with the alpha line around the halo.
Photos from our 2015 Workshop
Workshop 2015 Photos

Karen, in the beginning of the process.
Karen, in the beginning of the process.
Karen, in the beginning of the process.
Karen develops highlights.
Karen develops highlights.
Karen develops highlights.
Nancy touching up the edges.
Nancy touching up the edges.
Nancy touching up the edges.
Finishing Up 2015

Greg at the hilighting step.
Greg at the hilighting step.
Greg at the hilighting step.
Finishing touches.
Finishing touches.
Finishing touches.
Glowing Gina with Gabriel.
Glowing Gina with Gabriel.
Glowing Gina with Gabriel.
Workshop 2015 Finished and Looking Ahead to 2016.

Stella, finished, stands before one of Fr. Mefodii's lecture charts.
Stella, finished, stands before one of Fr. Mefodii's lecture charts.
Stella, finished, stands before one of Fr. Mefodii's lecture charts.
Grace, Mary Jo, and Michele flank an icon.
Grace, Mary Jo, and Michele flank an icon.
Grace, Mary Jo, and Michele flank an icon.
Mat. Joanna, workshop coordinator, with our teacher, Fr. Igumen Mefodii.
Mat. Joanna, workshop coordinator, with our teacher, Fr. Igumen Mefodii.
Mat. Joanna, workshop coordinator, with our teacher, Fr. Igumen Mefodii.
Icon Workshop 2011 - 2014

Above:


1. On our final day the students displayed their icons with Fr. Mefodii holding one of the student's finished icons.

2. Students at work tracing their pattern onto the board.

3. New and returning students are shown the circular movements of the brush.

The workshop/retreat is conducted according to the traditional Byzantine-Russian icon-writing method of the Prosopon School of Iconography, a revival of the 15th century school of Andrei Rublev and founded by Vladislav Andreyev. The school offers both the technique of icon-writing and the spiritual symbolic aspects within the 21 steps of the process.

Above: Icons in progress, the early stages.

Only natural materials are used in this floating technique of egg tempera: wood, clay, pure gold leaf, and the pigments formed from ground minerals combined with egg yolk.

The workshop-retreat is conducted in a silent, prayerful environment with the playing of liturgical music during some of the steps. Explanations/reflections on the spiritual meanings are presented before each step. No previous artistic experience is required as writing the icon is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an artistic discipline.

Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel
St. Luke, Protoiconographer
St. Luke, Protoiconographer
St. Luke, Protoiconographer
Theotokos, Tenderness
Theotokos, Tenderness
Theotokos, Tenderness

Above: Finished icons of students.

Beginning students are provided with step-by-step instructions to complete an icon of Archangels Michael or Gabriel. Other icons such as those of Christ, the Virgin, John the Baptist, and the Guardian Angel are available to those who have attended previous workshops and have them approved by Fr. Mefodii.

Applying the Clay Bole as a base for the gold leaf.
Applying the Clay Bole as a base for the gold leaf.
Applying the Clay Bole as a base for the gold leaf.
Fr. Mefodii illustrates highlights found even in hair.
Fr. Mefodii illustrates highlights found even in hair.
Fr. Mefodii illustrates highlights found even in hair.
Highlighting is layered between floats.
Highlighting is layered between floats.
Highlighting is layered between floats.

All of the steps in the process are rich in spiritual symbolism. 

The Days are Filled with Instruction Followed by Quiet Contemplation and Prayer

Fr. Mefodii Patiently Instructs Everyone.
Fr. Mefodii Patiently Instructs Everyone.
Fr. Mefodii Patiently Instructs Everyone.
A Time To Work and to Pray
A Time To Work and to Pray
A Time To Work and to Pray
Many are Writing their First Icon
Many are Writing their First Icon
Many are Writing their First Icon

We are instructed as a group and individually. As we listen to soft, liturgical music we focus on prayer and our work.

The Spiraling Movement of Prayer During our Workshop

During our September Prosopon workshop in Stafford, VA, Fr. Igumen Mefodii explained to us the meaning of iconography as prayer and that the lines we paint on our board indicate our focus of prayer.

I couldn’t help but notice that the rhythm of the days within our workshop week fell into a cycle that echoed the spiraling lines of prayer.

When we first arrived all of us were chatty, fidgeting in our seats, dropping and spilling things, crinkling bags. In fact, the harder we tried for self-control, to be still, the klutzier we became! These distractions, as broken spirals, led to our unfocused prayer, and mistakes on our board, serving as lessons we must learn.

When we quieted down mentally and physically in submission to God our Creator, our prayer mixed with the prayers within the liturgical music and with each other’s in harmony. Our prayers began to spiral more smoothly inward, toward our personal logos, the presence of God within each of us.

I noticed that as the week progressed our focus and concentration improved so much that we were reluctant to “come out of it” long enough to break for lunch, to converse.

Once we resumed our work we lingered there awhile, nearest the Source of the spiral. Our best work was done while enjoying this stillness and peace, and the only physical movement was our brush. We became co-creators with God as we worked on our icons.

Slowly, nearing the end of our workday, we again emerged, almost as if awakening from sleep, spiraling outward to rejoin the world, hopefully more enlightened, and able to share our light, the fruits of this experience, with everyone.

—Mat. Joanna Laymon, St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church

Glory To God!

Finished Work
Finished Work
Finished Work
Our Group Minus Two
Our Group Minus Two
Our Group Minus Two
Enjoying our Friendships as Paint Dries
Enjoying our Friendships as Paint Dries
Enjoying our Friendships as Paint Dries

During the week we have formed new friendships through mutual sharing, helping, and encouragement. We've worked together, meeting new challenges and look forward to next year.

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