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

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.