I Lost My Teacher … But I Know Where to Find Her
Today I learned that my iconography teacher, Bernadette Weber, has passed away. I will never forget her.
The following is a re-posting of the original blog post, documenting our first meeting.
Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn
(Originally posted Sept. 24, 2009)
After church last Sunday a dear friend and I visited the studio of a local iconographer, Bernadette Weber. It was all part of the ARTrails of Southwest Washington Studio Tour (last chance this weekend) but we were on a mission to see just this one studio.
When Bonnie Jean and I entered the studio I felt my knees give and I could hear the force of Bonnie Jean’s indrawn breath match my own.
We knew we had entered a place were holy things happen.
We were surrounded by images of saints and angels, of joy and sorrow — and if there is a category of joyful sorrow, then that too. Bernadette had three or four pieces in various stages of completion, dirty brushes strewn about, half-finished drawings, well-used paint jars, rosaries galore, every inch of wall space covered with color and gold and shine. It was overwhelming and humbling, but welcoming.
It was a Gift to have been allowed inside her studio.
I found myself asking her, “So how do I get to be your student? Are you taking students? What do I do? How much money do I need to get started? When can I start? I need to do this!”
It’s very uncharacteristic of me to be so bold, so pushy (okay, in this situation anyway, I’m well aware that I can be pushy in others!)
But Bernadette seemed to be familiar with my brand of enthusiasm. She told a story of a man who had walked into her studio and shouted, “I MUST do this! How do I start? I want to start NOW!”
“The essential feature of the icon is a presence of the unutterable that flows out of a material form.” -Fr. Egon Sendler SJ
I can’t wait to get started. Would you mind if I took you on this journey with me?
Later, while I was her student, I blogged about my journey: A Journey Into Icon Writing Begins Tomorrow (here you can see an icon Bernadette wrote featuring St. Catherine of Siena, one of my favorite saints); Day One Icons: Blessing, Gesso-ing and Preparation; Day 3 of Icon Writing; Day 4 of Icon Writing; Missing Jesus Face; Day 6 of Icon Writing: I Love My Jesus; and this is my favorite, featuring Bernadette’s spiritual teaching, Day 7: Icon Writing with Jesus; and my last post before I gave my mother the icon for Christmas, The Same Jesus; my next planned icon, An Angel, Raphael.
I have gathered these links together for my own use, mainly. I don’t expect anyone to click through them. But it was quite a journey. Bernadette led me into the very heart of the Spirit within.
You are honored, Bernadette. Thank you.