Dec. 29, 2015
Dec. 19, 2015
St. Mother Teresa Icon 2015 ©
11" x 14" , Archival Acrylic and 24K Gold
on wood board covered in muslin and gesso
Private commission, Calgary AB
The icon of Mother Teresa has been finally completed. Pretty much on the same day of the announcements that Blessed Mother Teresa will now be canonized a saint. The time required was impacted both by the complexity of the icon, and the realities of always having to be packed (somewhat) and ready for viewings as I try to sell my condo in order to relocate my studio to Vancouver Island.
The commission was complex in that it was of a prototype that is so well known and fresh in everyone's minds. There are so many memorable images of her, and some paintings have been done of her. I say paintings because most to date are not Iconographic per se. But I found one picture of Mother Teresa that connected with me, both in its strength and in capsulizing her life and sanctity.
A great part of Mother Teresa's beauty is her rugged features, of age and years of incredibly hard work and journey of the soul. The few paintings that I've seen of her wrestle with how to portray her. It is a daunting task to find that balance of remaining faithful to the person of Mother Teresa, while avoiding the image becoming a caricature while trying to paint in all the marks of age and toil. And yet, a traditional iconic image and gentler portrayal misses the gift of Mother Teresa.
The image also had her clutching a child which is so symbolic of the work of her ministry and the resolve to see her through such gut wrenching conditions with so much affection. The strength of that right arm holding the child, with all its signs of age and that of hands which have toiled, and her left hand supporting the child, is central to the icon. She clutches to the child, as the child in turn (humanity) clutches to her. The embrace is so profound, and made even more so by her forward gaze. In her embracing the poor and needy of the world, her gaze is both one of supplication to Almighty God for the strength required and for affirmation that she had not been abandoned, and also a supplication to us, the viewers of this icon, pleading that we continue her work, our Lord God's work.
The commission requested that the background of the icon be gray and that the inscription be in Greek. I managed to get the right gray after numerous attempts, in order to be in balance with the white and blue of the habit, the 24K gold, etc.
Dec. 5, 2015
Once the background had been adjusted, I had to also adjust the blue on St. Mother Teresa's habit as it related differently to the new gray. So I can now get back to writing the icon...but only once the viewings and Open House are completed. Then I can set up again, until the next viewings...
Being packed up and staged for the viewings, today began to go sideways. First, I received a message that the first viewing had cancelled. A while later, I received another message saying that the second viewing for today had cancelled!!! So today ended up being a waste. But I have a viewing tomorrow morning followed by an Open House. I will be very happy to get the selling phase done with. It has had its hurdles.
Dec 1, 2015
With not having any condo viewings the past few days, it gave me time to do the gold leafing on the St. Mother Teresa icon. I want to let it set for a few days now before I do the final burnishing and sealing. I can see that the gray background will need adjusting, now that I see it against the 24K gold.
Nov 29, 2015
Progress is being made on the St. Mother Teresa icon, although slower then originally estimated, with always having to pack everything up for viewings of the condo and dealing with computer problems. Will be glad to get the condo sale done. Glad to have my computer back so I can also catch up on my journal entries.
I'm at the point with the icon where I need to do the gold leafing. The commission requested a gray background. I've adjusted the colour a few times but I need the gold in place in order to make any final adjustments. I'm keeping it to a more blue/lavender gray in order not to match the warmer whites in Mother Teresa's habit.
Once I get the gold in place, and given it time to set, I can then continue in finishing the fabric and then develop the faces etc. I will need to do glazes on the child's body.
In egg tempura, the gold leafing is usually done at the beginning. But with my technique, and using more opaque acrylics, I develop the icon to a mid-point (approx.). It gives me more freedom in working the icon without trying to protect the gold. Once the gold is done, then I have to always protect the gold from paint droplets etc.
Nov 14, 2015
A bit of a set back the last few days, with being in ER with a kidney stone. The last time I had this happen was 16 years ago. Anyone who is familiar with this know how bad the pain gets. My son brought me in to ER at 3am after suffering through 6 hours with no relief in sight. After being on IV with pain and anti inflammatory drugs I was fortunate to eventually pass the 5mm stone. Enough for those details.
And yesterday, I received the news that the offer on my condo fell through! I now have another viewing this afternoon with a second offer being presented. So I need to restage the condo and tidy up the studio now that I've been working on he Mother Teresa icon. I've been blocking in some initial darker base colours.
So things have become more complex and finances are very tight, in trying to cover 3 payments due in 3 days and groceries will likely not be possible. A typical scenario for an artist trying to support his family.
Nov 11, 2015
Nov 10, 2015
I'm waiting for final confirmation on the design presented, but it will be a 11"x14" icon of St. Mother Teresa. More info to come once the design is confirmed.
Nov 4, 2015
At this time, it is looking like St. Mother Teresa has taken the front of the line in the selection process. I should be able to confirm in the next day or so. It would be a great blessing to write her icon.