Monday, September 06, 2010

Thoughts on Iconography

In one of the many books I've read about icons and iconography there was this statement: Icons must never be written for money.

I've mused over this for some time and had several thoughts... icons are theology... the Word of God... the Holy Spirit uses the iconographer to create the icon and so on. Since writing an icon is an act of worship and devotion, how could it ever be written for money.

For me personally the idea that the Holy Spirit is actually the artist is crucial to me. I can't paint. I've messed about with paints for years and never achieved anything. But for some reason the Holy Spirit has chosen me to be an iconographer. As a result, working on an icon is for me a meditation, prayer, part of my spiritual life as large a part as the Daily Offices. I listen to Ancient Faith Radio as I work so many of my senses are attuned to the holiness of the work.

Because my church has invested in my training and because as a nun I live under a vow of poverty, I refuse payment for the icons. Payment for any icon I write is paid to my church which then uses the funds for missionary outreach.

Sometimes I think my icons are clownish or cartoonish but people love them. I am then grateful that I think they are clownish or cartoonish because that keeps me humble and increases my reliance upon the Holy Spirit. I don't think I ever want to think myself good at it. I want them always to be the work of the Holy Spirit and for me to continue to be a tool such as the brush, palette, board and paint are also tools.

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