In my first attempt to paint an icon, I thought to myself, “I was a spiritual person this will be a breeze for me”. Wrong! I fumbled so badly it hurt. For me learning iconography was the beginning of a long, enduring, and humbling experience. Then not knowing what I was asking for, my thoughts quickly moved to, can I do this? I am not capable! I saw that the skill required to paint the highlights on an icon was far more complex than I ever imagined. The process took time, study, and doing, lots of doing. The ability to paint an icon was not part of me, yet. I had to find out and then understand what the icon was describing to the world.
When the approach to painting an icon was broken down, presented to me layer by layer, I had recognized a reality, in the painting. There was an important vision being revealed in the icon and it was my job to paint it! The task ahead had become clear visually but, could I execute it physically? Would I be able to make this painting with enough clarity and be able to represent its meaning? I was scared but, with good instruction, I found my hand in the paint. During the process I let my spirit take me into the work, somehow the brush and paint I pushed with my hand took shape, the icons I painted began to look authentic. Slowly the concept of iconography became clear to me as I painted daily.
During the life and resurrection of Christ, He took us out of darkness and into light. The purpose of the icon is to show that light. It is done through the icon painters hand, exact application and layers of opaque to transparent colors. The form takes shape in the icon by building layers of colors that move from dark to light. The icon is designed to reproduce transfigured light through its highlight. Transfigured light comes from within, and is symbolized in the icon paintings highlight. When looking into an icon it invites us in by its light. When we come to Christ through the icon we come out of the dark and see a vivid bright field of light which is Gods Omnipresence. Icons transport us to another world. A heavenly re-helm, a point where human nature meets God. Not by a star gate or a portal but, as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth.