Day One Icons: Blessing, Gesso-ing and Preparation

My hands, the board and brushes were blessed with holy water and prayers.I loved the feeling of the sprinkled water running through my fingers. I thought it would make me feel more serious about my work, but instead I felt more joyful.

I painted 6 layers of gesso onto my board, then wet sanded to a soft polish. I  centered the image on the board and traced the outline of the face of Christ, first as a transfer, and then in paint with a brush.

I was nervous at first, I said so. Bernadette, the teacher, tilted her head as I said it and smiled at me, eyebrows lightly drawn together.

“Why would you be nervous?” she asked, she seemed slightly confused and very much charmed by the very idea of it.

When we all stood to say the Iconographer’s Prayer, she added at the end — with a giggle — “… and please let Kim not be so nervous.”

So then it was my turn to be enchanted. All nervousness disappeared.

The Daughter

Two other ladies are in the class, mother and daughter. The mother had to leave class early, so I was left with the daughter and decided to ask how she ended up here in this class.

The daughter said that her mother had suggested it, said it would be a good way for them to spend time together. “But I think she was just trying to get me to go back to church,” the daughter said with a grin.

“Did it work?” I asked.

She beamed, she nearly glowed.

“Oh yes,” she said as she looked lovingly down at the face she had created, a Jesus with the most kind eyes I had ever seen, “Oh yes.”

~ by Kimberly Mason on October 2, 2010.

5 Responses to “Day One Icons: Blessing, Gesso-ing and Preparation”

  1. I think that the main-stream Protestant church has lost touch with how powerful an icon can be, equating an icon with an idol. My maternal grandmother was Russian Orthodox, so icons were a part of her life. I am blessd to have her icon, passed down to me by my mother’s oldest sister. By creating your own icon, you are connecting to God in a very personal way, and you will be able to draw from that connection everytime you gaze at (or into) your work. Your icon will be part of you, and “of” both you and Christ. I wish with all my heart that we had a class such as the one you are taking here in my neck of the woods. The process must be cleansing, healing, uplifting and joyful!

    I will take a picture of my icon and send it to you.

  2. I am so excited for you. What a glorious experience is unfolding in your heart and your life. Big Smile!

  3. living vicariously through your posts here while you have the joyous blessing of writing an icon. I look forward also to one day being able to do this.

  4. Loved this post – especially the end. Can’t wait to see your finished icon!

  5. […] 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 […]

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