Paschal Candle by Sr Marcia
Original icon by Sr Peter
Sr Marcia hand crafts beautiful items from wood, and designs and makes our paschal candle each year
"Art Work - Its Place in Monastic Life
I came late to this place of artistic expression in my own life, awakened to it by a friend who was an artist. I believe it is present in some form in every person, a spark from our Father waiting to be kindled into flame. The aim is not to produce some great work to be admired by others in future generations. Rather, it is a small, awkward attempt to express something of the beauty or depth of being one has glimpsed - a happy necessity for oneself and for others, if they wish."
Our Sr Peter paints icons in a style uniquely her own
"An icon is the representation of a religious subject to be used for religious use. In other words, it is meant to raise the mind and heart to God; be an aid to prayer, to contemplation. Icons follow strict rules about the use of colors, Gold Leaf, and the flowing folds of garments. I am not an iconographer though I have enjoyed classes on how to make a ‘proper’ icon. I was given a board to which I had to stick a piece of gauze, which was then covered in five layers of ‘Gesso’ a mixture of fine chalk, rabbit-skin glue and white pigment. Each layer, when dry, was sanded till it looked and felt like marble, particular care being given to the edges of the board. A thin layer of Clay bole was applied to the area due to hold the expensive Gold Leaf. Then there was the fun of separating the yolk of an egg from the white, washing the yolk in cold water, tossing it from one palm to the other, puncturing the membrane (which was discarded) and saving the contents in a jar. This was diluted with either white wine (or water/vinegar) to be used with the dry pigments, and you were ready to paint!
The medium I use is plain and simple, Acrylics. I like them because of their bright colors and they are quick drying. I like to follow icon format, but I make my subjects less severe. Someone in our community, whose opinion I value, once said to me, ‘I always know your paintings because your subjects look so happy and cheerful!’ which made me laugh. I don’t paint ‘smiley faces’, but if my ‘Jesus’ and His ‘Blessed Mother’ appear happy, to me that’s better than looking disgruntled and miserable. Perhaps the reason they look happy is the hours of prayer I put into the painting of them. And not just when I am working at my board but in my own private prayer I ask God to bless the work of my hands and let it speak and give help to the one destined to receive it, whoever he or she may be."