April 19, 2020:
It's been a while since my last journal entry for the St. Joseph icon, as I have been working on the Chiwatenhwa icon (Joseph Chewatenhwa). I took a few days to once again develop the St. Joseph icon, to address a few corrections and added a few more base colours.
I've muted the base cedar colour of the canoe, as it was too orange. But this will be the beginning of more adjustments as the surrounding colours find their right combination. Modern paint colours are much more vibrant then the natural ones, and depending on the colours used to blend each of them, it takes a number of gradual adjustments to mute and/or adjust a colour as required.
Before moving on the colours for St. Joseph and Jesus, I then had to make some anatomical corrections in order to adjust the fitting of the clothing. Setting an icon in an alternate time frame, does pose challenges in area, unlike Byzantine icons with their standardized forms. But again, for the First Nations icons, the priority is seeing them through First Nations eyes, culture and identity, and not through Western colonial eyes and tradition. The Good News, at its core, is not Western or Colonial, but is for the whole world and the universe.
Before returning to the Chiwatenhwa icon, I then wanted to get base colours for the shirts and pants, factoring in the nature of labouring outdoors, and the symbolism of the icon. For St. Joseph, I'll be working with a muted green, a symbol of earth, and it also helps to separate him from the sandy background. For Jesus, I chose a lighter Indigo, reminiscent of a jean fabric, as the celestial symbolism. These base colours, along with the pants, currently look brand new and too vibrant, as they are just the initial base colours before any further development of shading, aging, etc.
I will now be returning to the Chiwatenhwa icon in order to complete it. That may be in another week or so, depending on what added hurdles the COVID-19 may pose. I will post the next journal update once I return to the St. Joseph icon.
The pandemic, which has affected us all, is impeding further commission work or sales, but also poses a problem in getting these icons to their new homes. The BC Ferry sailings have been greatly cut back, and my direct sailing between Nanaimo & Horseshoe Bay has been cut altogether until June/July.
Keep safe everyone. We'll see our way through this by keeping our heads and focusing on overcoming this virus. Only then can we then find our way into what will become our new normal.
February 27, 2020:
The design for the Coast Salish icon of St. Joseph with Jesus has been completed and confirmed. I got it transferred and inked in on its 24X 36" x 1.5" floated wood panel.
You may recall the old prayer cards and such depicting St. Joseph in his carpentry shop, with the infant Christ. This is a similar context but set within the Coast Salish Culture, and Christ is portrayed as the young man in his early 20s, prior to his public ministry. St. Joseph would have been in his later years. St. Joseph, as guardian, is also passing on the history, culture and faith of his people. Joseph is also known as a holy Man of Dreams (the visions received).
In this icon, it was decided to use the setting of the early 1900s, as it would resonate more with the Salish/West Coast Nations in current times.
February 17, 2020:
While beginning the icon of Joseph Chiwatenhwa, I received the panel for the Coast Salish Icon of St. Joseph with Christ. With a wood floating panel, the process is a bit different. For one, all surfaces, including the support structure, need to be sealed and painted in order to protect against humidity.
* The back structure is gessoed to provide a good bond,
* A few coats of acrylic paint is then applied to the gesso.
* The sides are gessoed.
* The front panel is given coats of gesso and sanded.
This icon will not have any gold leafing, similarly to the St. Paul Icon or the Siksika Sacred Heart Icon.
Due to the complexity of this icon, I will be working on the design in full scale after laying drawing paper over the panel's surface. Drawing directly onto the gesso is not advisable, as the inevitable edits along the way will not erase from the gesso surface. I prefer transposing the final image with graphite paper.