If we look inside our closets we will see an array of colors, fabrics, and textures that make up our personal wardrobe. Most of the time I wear black. Wearing black makes me look thinner, it is crisp and takes me out of the picture while putting someone else in it. I found my self-thinking while painting an icon of Mary one day. What color dress did Mary, Jesus, Mother wear? Did she wear blue, red, brown, or black? How many colors were in her wardrobe? Historically she was a limited to available choices in yarns, color, or textiles. I’m sure she weaved and made by hand what she wore. Joseph was a Carpenter, he made a good living. The linen yarns for the woven clothes they used in the making of the garments were of good quality. It was windy in the desert , hot and dry by day, cool by night. The fabrics had to serve many needs such as protection, warmth, cooling, and durability.
What is in a color? Color defined in the dictionary says; the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light. Color tells a story. In Christian iconography, paint is used to represent the person being depicted. What they looked like on earth. What they wore, clothes, colors, patterns, texture, and animal skins are expressed by color. Holy figures and saints who lived here on earth are seen in the icon as recognizable. They are a portrait as well as a window to heaven. The icon painting reveals to us a transfigured person. One who a complete change of form or appearance has occurred , and is in a more beautiful spiritual state. The icon is painted carefully, designed with transfigured light. The light when painted correctly travels through by its application in skin, hair, fabric, and background. Light in an icon has no outside source, the light comes from within. When I paint an icon color is used, the application creates form. The form builds as I paint with light in color, it reveals a story.
Mary wore different colored dresses that tell us a story. They express her time on earth and in heaven, a love, and an amazing life.