Embracing, Saints Joachim and Anna

A heart -shaped slice of birch wood-  and the haloes of Sts Joachim and Anne merged as to form an actual heart after their embrace.
A very pious couple and a couple that loved each other dearly for many – many years. Our sources (mostly the Protoevangellion of James, a text that belongs in the Apocrypha ) tell us that both were especially tormented for being childless so,  St Anna at the news that she was with child: “…saw Joachim coming, and she ran and hung upon his neck…”

That is exactly the moment that this icon pictures, being a study from an older work made by an unknown master from of the 16th century, found in Sofia.

The use of a very bold, almost “explosive” red on the garments of Hannah, and the lines of the painting were ideal  in communicating  all this unexpected joy, all this energy gathered after countless years of longing and show it in this icon.

Shedding "light" on St Barbara – and another Iconography "How to"

The final steps on a byzantine icon – adding the lighter colors in the flesh”, “underlining” the facial features, adding even more light in the form of  pure white lines  marks the moment” when a portraits starts to become a saint, the highlight of the whole process.
Following the process in this  picture collage of St Barbara on the broken paddle – we follow the path to the light-  the essence in byzantine iconography,
Picture collage with the three final stages
In the first part of the pic the “second light” (the lighter flesh) is applied, near the eyes and nose- as well the blond highlights on the hair
In the second part – pure black in a very thin form , underlines the contour of the face, the pupils of the eye, eyelids and eyebrows, the nostrils and the corner of the lips- the expression.
Finally we have Psimythia- The pure white lines that are added on the forehead, over the eyebrows and under the eye on the nose and the tip  of the nose, the chin- the radiating pure light of a Saint-
Hope I ve “shed” some light on the process !
Danish St Barbara on the broken paddle

Remember me- St Dismas the Good Thief

The good or penitent thief on the cross- or otherwise known (from the apocrypha gospels) as Dismas or Demas

The Good Thief – St Dismas in repurposed construction wood
The first Saint of the church and one that is rarely depicted mostly in church frescoes, as the one who first enters the gates of heaven [“…And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise…” (Luke 23:43)]., as the one that follows dating from the 13th century in the Church of Panagia Kera in Kritsa
Scenes of the Second Coming -Photo of George Mamakis- from http://new.ims.forth.gr/

Recently, I discovered that the first church was to build in his name, and for a gentle cause- for more visit : http://o-nekros.blogspot.gr/2014/01/o.html

Talking with brushes

It was an olive tree branch in our field, Dimitris asked if I could paint on it. It was treated with gesso and then and the shape of this woman, emerged

Fleeing mama. in olive wood

A mama holding her Child in her back, running away fleeing from war. I hope my work has more to say than I do, in words. To say how I feel, about this mama and all mothers and all people that abandon their homes for safety, for freedom, for peace…

A painting with egg tempera on gesso

The painting was executed with tempera. shellac and finally resin varnish was added- You can see its size in relation with my (small) hands

You can see more in: https://www.etsy.com/listing/258351760/fleeing-from-war-ooak-painting-in-olive?ref=shop_home_active_5

Preparing for the photoshoot

A Little driftwood and a Pink kinono- Sweet mother pictured with roses

I tend to get very creative when it comes to a theme with roses and of course motherhood,

In a bed with roses

This is one in the One of the line of “Young Mothers” I’ ve produced in a specially treated pice of driftwood found by the beach. Somehow I had this icon of a Pink Japanese Kimono when drawing the mother’s dress. I ve also added copper gold all over the little piece of wood as a background.

Sweet mama in pink kimono driftwood

Usually I paint religious themes- but for me personally, the relation between a Mother and her Child belongs to the things that are holy. And that transcends my culture, my race, my nationality. Motherhood is beyond all these concepts, being so very ‘human”, bringing to mind the archetypical image of the Holy mother that protects and nurtures us all, therefore so very “divine”.

Sorrow when painting- a custom order to deal with sorrow

Custom order and challenge are somehow synonymous, but somehow dealing with the extremeness of sorrow that the theme of Lamentation of Christ presents as a painting- is somehow more than challenging.

I was initially handed with a picture, looking like a photo and was asked to paint the person portrayed there, as the Christ, after descending from the cross.
It was almost impossible for me to picture a person dead, alone by itself in a picture, as a corpse in a cold- cold morgue. It made me feel a sence of disrespect for the person portrayed. It somehow seemed as blasphymous, for I intended to portray the Son of man

Then all issues of position, surroundings, colours, symboslism emerged- What would be the size, who would be with him, expressions, reactions, symbolism.

Again a piece of driftwood came to the rescue that could host- two faces. Then the image of lamentation was revealed in the wooden surface. Lamentation is actually the greek Epitaph. A procession of the orthodox church in Good Friday, that brings the sorrow the passions of Christ to its ultimate point. To its climax.

Christ could never be represented as a disrespected corpse. Only as peson much loved -as he did with us all – by his mother. In this icon Virgin Mary embodies all mothers losing their offsprings, all people left behind, all women, even nature. All the sorrow in the world.

And that what is making Lamentation, or Pieta as it is widely known,  the most powerfull form of all the representations of Christ from the Descent from the cross – to the Entombement.
And so hard to paint.
And so liberating.

Mother and Child- A piece of driftwood telling its own sweet story

A young, serene mother, holding her little baby. This is always an image that is very touching and very human. I just wanted to fill her with flowers so I ‘ve added some jasmins to the picture.
I think they suit her perfectly…

It all started with a piece of driftwood, found in a beach of southern Crete.  And actually that’s the most intriguing part of the creating process seeing a shape emerging from an old piece of wood, a stone, a metal…

I ve added a layer of gesso and drawn the image of the archetypical Mother “Panagia” (The Holy mother ) which came to mind as soon as I ve seen this small driftwood

For the rest I ve used used copper gold and  eggtempera. Using as few colors as possible, blue for her humanity, red for her divinity and white for baby Jesus..

Let’s keep her sweetness in our hearts and share it with the people surrounding us.