First Post Here

Greetings to you all,
I have recently joined this group and wish to introduce myself. My name is David and I am a commercial graphic artist and 3D illustrator based in Australasia. I have been discerning a vocation or lay apostolate in icon writing and we are about to move to a new house (God willing) that will have the appropriate creative space where I can pursue this more purposefully. Up till now I have been painting icons using Photoshop and a Wacom Tablet and the above sample is a reproduction of Our Lady of Tenderness from the Solrunn Nes book that has been mentioned elsewhere. However in the process of painting icons this way I have come to realise that in order for the icon to be truly authentic it must be painted in traditional media. There are some very good theological reasons for this. Where we live there are no Schools of iconography so I'm pretty much going to have to teach myself along with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I look forward to contributing to this sketch blog and I look forward to seeing your work and posts. I have very much enjoyed what I have seen already.

If you wish to see the kind of work I have done in the past go here 

Pax Christi,
David John


Ben Hatke said...


Daniel Nichols said...

I am a little speechless at your saying you paint icons with a computer. I am rather technologically illiterate, but I do know that if you are not holding a physical brush and painting with physical paint on a wooden board you are doing something quite other than painting.
I am glad to see you are discerning a vocation to paint/write icons. From experience, I can tell you that it is very difficult to learn from books; there is no substitute for a teacher. I'm pretty sure if you look hard enough you can find someone who is accessible to you. You may have to travel, take a week off (most classes are one week affairs) but I am reasonably sure that there must be a teacher in your neck of the woods.

rebecca said...

Hi David,

I was surprised that your icon was "virtual" - had to really squint at it to look for any differences. (You had me fooled there!) I will echo what Daniel Nichols said, though, about how vital (and I mean that in the truest theological sense) it is that your hand and natural materials be involved in this process. They are crucial to your esxperiencing all there is to experience in iconography. To attempt it any other way, however skillfully, is still mimicry, and not the real deal. Your soul will know the difference once you're exposed to the real thing.

It's a lame analogy, and I'm sure someone can come up with a better one, but it's like me typing "here's a hug!!" to you, and me being there in person to give you one. As in the sacraments, one cannot give or receive them in isolation or "virtually" - the Church uses created matter (water, oil, consecrated hands, etc) to convey spiritual realities. Icons, since after being blessed do become sacramentals, should be written with the same reverent care, by your hand, using the purest materials you can afford. I think it's evident that you are drawn to this, though, and already exhibit a certain touch for it!

I will offer up a prayer that you can locate an authentic iconography workshop somewhere near you. With God all things are possible!

Anonymous said...

Daniel and Rebecca,

Thank you for your comments. Not to worry, I do intend to take up iconography using traditional media. My journey has started from being a graphic artist and illustrator who uses a computer and graphics tablet thinking that I could simply transfer those skills to iconography.

Fortunately I am just as much a theologian as an artist and I realised as I discerned more and more that I need to be in contact with the matter, that is pigment, wood, brush etc. I realised that man (and that includes woman) have a role in elevating matter and perfecting the visible creation. That was God's original plan for man and it remains so. Therefore through the icon writer pigment becomes paint, paint becomes image, image becomes icon, icon becomes mystery (or "sacrament"). To participate in such an action makes one more and more human.

Once we have moved house closer to the city there is a possible lead to an artist who has training from a greek orthodox school of iconography. I have not yet introduced myself but I'm sure an opportunity will present itself. I made an enquiry at a local art supplies shop and was given the artists name. Just goes to show if you step out in a little bit of faith God graces you abundantly.

Thanks for your prayers,
Pax Christi

Kevin said...

Welcome David John!

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Welcome David John! Thank you for posting... You are very talented!