Noah a righteous man

“… Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God…” . That is the account that comes from the book of Genesis. Another reason to paint Noah with a biblical, austere face and expression in a dark blue background like frescoes.

noah the righteous noe 06-12-17 15-36-38
Noah the righteous hand painted in eggtempera

The image of Noah was painted on   a type of canvas that was “cracked’   to produce the antique effect  of craquelure. Additionally an organic dye was applied on top to produce an antique, copperish patina to the painting

Christian symbols – Painting the parable of the lost sheep

I was always interested in the symbolism of the first Christians – that is why I always wanted to paint the figure of the Good Shepherd, but not as the usual imaging of our Lord, as we do in byzantine iconography today, but as a young men as it was in the paintings in catacombs.

The Good Shepherd painted in a slice of an olive wood branch

A slice cut from an old olive branch that was left to to dry for a couple of years so to reveal a part of the Parable of the Lost Sheep: “…Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost./ Συγχάρητέ μοι ὅτι εὗρον τὸ πρόβατόν μου τὸ ἀπολωλός…” [Luke 15:6 KJV]

First drawing on olive wood covered with gesso

The painting was created with egg tempera. On top of the colors shellac (goma- laca) and a final layer of “keronefto” a mixture of wax and turpentine was used to permanently seal the colors.

As tradition demands a full “sensory” experience while participating in the worship -“Keronefto” is meant to invoke the sense of smell apart from the other more obvious senses of sight and touch- and open the way to the awakening of the heart- but that is what I think painting is all about…

A view fro m the top parable of the Lost Sheep


 

A look of compassion – Saint Dymphna of Gheel

Saint Dymphna religious icon

When applying color -in our technique- you actually get a certain number of “opportunities” to actually intervene in the facial expression- I usually tend to avoid pronounced or easily identifiable expressions in my icons (for several reasons), but some works seem to take a course of their own like in the case of Saint Dymphna of Gheel, the patron saint of people with mental ailments

In every color layer this delicate”sadness” of a Saint, bathed in light was evident. Sainthood is a “phenomenon” that I cannot actually comprehend (maybe that is why I chose this painting genre, so I could maybe catch a glimpse of this experience) but this was a quality I could somehow relate with- explaining it as empathy, compassion and unconditional love.

 
Looking again at the work, I am glad for the course it took.

A note for the icon of Christ in the Underworld- Anastasis

The icon of Resurrection or Anastasis

The representation of Christ in the Underworld, or a version of the “Harrowing of Hell” as it is usually named in western Christianity. A very powerful image that shows the  Lord, in his Glory, standing over the abyss of the underworld, pulling Adam and Eve (the mankind) out, saving them from death

In this post- I ‘d like to share the commentary of a customer about this theme. In this icon…:

 “…Christ appears to greet, welcome, reclaim, restore, renew, transport, and enliven the whole human family, one by one. With what gentleness and openheartedness he stands there — the bridge that spans the gaps.”

It brings in mind… “… An excerpt of an ancient homily, found in the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday:

The “Harrowing of Hell” reproduction on canvas

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.

Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.
I order you, O sleeper to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.
Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you. Together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

… Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven… the kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.”

Unexpected sources of modern

A very modern representation comes sometimes from the most unexpected source; A medieval manuscript.

Inspired by a medieval manuscript -Adam and Eve  egg tempera on canvas



Copper gold background in a small panel
I just loved the basic, clear colors used, and also loved the simplicity and the power of the lines especially in the movement of Adam, the effort that is shown in the lines of his garment, in the clothes of Eve and her rounded belly.

– And then, the verses of the bible came to mind:…”cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
  
This is one of the religious stories told in my work, if you want to see more you may visit my section dedicated to religious art: https://www.etsy.com/shop/angelicon?section_id=15857113&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2

St Nikitas bed time stories

A bed time story told by my great grandma Evangellia about St Nikitas, part of the Cretan legends and tales she used to love. I ‘ve finally found it-written in http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-west/EN-Frangokastello-Basilicas.html, exactly as she used to tell it to us and I quote it here:


St Nicetas or Holy Martyr Nikitas the Goth by angelicon

“Once upon a time, there was a wedding at Frangokastello. As soon as it was over, the bride took the tablecloths away to wash them in a spring between two rocks. As she was washing them, a ship suddenly appeared offshore. The Franks on board saw the beautiful maiden and decided to carry her off as a gift to their king. They kidnapped her at night and no-one saw them.

They took the girl to the king’s palace. One day the king saw her crying and asked her what was wrong. She sighed and said, “Today is the feast of the Cross tomorrow is the feast of St Nikitas and there is a great festival in Frangokastello, my home.”
The king laughed ironically and told her, “If the Cross has grace and Nikitas might, it’s home you will go this very same night.”

The next day at Frangokastello, the priest went to the church to say mass because it was the dawn of the feast of St Nikitas. When he unlocked the church door he saw a girl inside and was frightened. He lit a candle and approached her, and saw the  girl whose wedding he had officiated at a year earlier. He asked her, “What are you doing here, my child?”

The girl told him the whole story. The legend says that St Nikitas himself brought her back on his horse. There has always been a great festival at the church of St Nikitas at Frangokastello ever since.

St Nicetas at Frangokastelo, Sfakja from http://www.orthodoxcrete.com

You can see more pictures of this beautiful church in http://orthodoxcrete.com/en/places/st-nicetas-frangokastelo/



An icon for Christmas- Nativity of Christ- A traditional byzantine interpretation

The Nativity of Christ; here the basic “figures of the story are all present: Christ Child in the manger, the little animals, Mother Mary looking at the worried St Josef, the Angels and the three kings bearing gifts.

The little shepherd playing a flute, nature rejoices, and the women (Salome) that are washing baby Jesus
Saint Josef sitting perplexed and the temptation

And on top the star of Bethlehem shining bright and the angels singing :

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men! 

Merry Xmas to you all!!!

In a black background- Holy Mother; Annunciation in purple and black

There is this feeling, you enter a in a church, (maybe in the countryside somewhere  in a small village) and the evening mass has started.-A traditional mass where there are no lights, only the small flames of the candles,

So among the fumes of the incense, the little bells, and the chants, images of Saints (written in dark backgrounds) are emerging from the walls lighted up by their halos, leaning towards you. And then Her figure in the front- She is always there, Open to you, ever forgiving, radiant with love. The Mother.

Holy Mother in black background
Virgin Mary in Annunciation -Size 5.5″ x 7″ (14cm x 18 cm)

“..Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word..” KJV, Lk 1:38. Says the icon; It is the Virgin Mary in  a part of a larger synthesis depicting her Annunciation.

Eka interpreted this theme, painting Mother Mary, Panagia (Pan-Aghia – All Holy- the word for Her in Greek) using more dark colors, trying to catch the sentiment I just tried to describe….

Baking a Pie in a Saint’s name- Greek Fanourios pie or "Fanouropitta"

Recipe’s are not my “strong” spot but this one is prepared in the name of, Saint Fanourios. A beloved saint that has been revered by Greeks (much more than many others more “important”saints) for centuries. As his name indicates, St. Fanourios (from “fainein” to make seen, to reveal)  is an expert – in making  things obvious, in revealing things, or persons that are lost.- So when requesting his assistance you promise to bake his pie and bring it to his church as an offering.



An icon of St. fanourios by angelicon
Saint Fanourios in a pink Background, egg tempera in wood (13cm x 10cm)

Each year the faithful compete each other by baking the most delicious “fanouropita” that is basically made by 9 ingredients, in the eve of his name day (August 27th). The priest blesses the cakes (maybe hundreds of them) that are gathered in the church and everybody returns home with 3 or maybe 4,  varieties of this delicious desert.

I translated the traditional recipe form the excellent book of Maria and Nikos Psilakis; “Traditional Cretan cuisine- the miracle of Cretan Diet” and here it is:

 


A priest on the Saint's day blessing his pie
The priest blessing the Saint’s pie,
in front of his icon

Fanouropita

1 glass of olive oil
1 glass of sugar
1 glass of orange juice
1 spoonful (soup) of raki or cognac
Half a glass of nuts
1 apple or pear in cubes
1 spoonful cinnamon and one of clover in powder
1 spoonful baking powder, 1 teaspoon of soda (powder)
Half a glass of raisins
Flour “as much as it can get” (the mixture should be thick, not too fluid)
We mix oil with sugar and add the baking powder (which is dissolved inside the cognac), soda (which is dissolved inside the orange juice), cinnamon and clover, raisins, fruits, nuts and finally flour

We mix very well and empty the mixture in a well “oiled” baking pan. We put sesame (that is slightly roasted in a pan) on top and bake in a medium oven for an hour approx.

Even if not near a church, we dedicate the pie to the saints name!



Note: The final Picture comes from the book Traditional Cretan cuisine- the miracle of Cretan Diet”- of Maria and NikosPsilakis

Saint Lucy, Brown hair could never obscure her light- Creation process

Starting with an order, I see each of my artifacts as the beginning of a “discussion” with my media. The end result -either satisfactory, or not- is always a lesson learned and an opportunity; to communicate my feelings of worship


Adding shellac

The wooden panel is covered in a mixture of gesso, and the first sketch, is drawn by pencil. A thin layer of dark shellac prepared the surface for the application of glue and Lucia is covered in copper gold leaves- as it is used in byzantine icons where shapes seem to float inside the golden light.

Copper gold added, colorings

Then, the first layer is applied were the medium tones of clothes are produced, the color of the flesh same as the soil; a symbolism of her human nature.


Medium tomes, first “light” on flesh

Afterwards, we gradually step from darker to lighter tones adding extra light, moving from shadows to the light. From ignorance to enlightenment- from earth to heaven- Outlines and dark lines are added as a guide for the addition of more light on clothes. Light on hair, still another layer of flesh , lighter this time, as if light is the material that creates the face.

Out lines

Ultimately, more light will be added, but it does’ nt comes from a certain point of view or a light source, – The light should emanate from within, the figure is bathed in it. The Human made out of soil, becomes a radiant Saint and the flesh unites with light, its source.

A radiant saint Lucy