September 23, 2014:
The joys of constructing and preparing icon boards remains a tedious process no matter how many years you've done them: blisters, sweat, cutting, sanding, adhering muslin (or linen) to the board (front and sides), working out air pockets, keeping a watchful eye as everything dries properly, trimming the excess muslin, and doing the final sanding. THEN, the process of 7 coats of gesso (and more sanding) begins... :-)
The small board without the raised frame (to the left) is for a copy of the St. Malachy icon I wrote a few years ago; going to Pennsylvania USA. The larger board with the raised frame is for the Sts Anna & Joachim icon; going to Calgary AB.
Unexpected turn in the last few weeks where commission inquiries have come through for 3 potential icons. So, I have been working on these and dialoging with the 3 clients. While awaiting news as to whether the second Totem exhibit will be before or after the March exhibit, I could possibly also have 3 icons to get done; 2 by mid-October and a large one (a centenary icon) by mid-January. Can't complain as being busy in my studio is what it this is ultimately about. :-)
A 7"x14" icon of St. Malachy has been confirmed for St. Francis University in Loretto PA USA. It will be going out October 15th or earlier if possible. It will be a copy of an earlier St. Malachy icon which I wrote for a client in Dublin Ireland ( can be viewed under the Iconography tab - 'Others' ).
I'm in the finishing details and confirmation for a 14"x18" icon of Sts. Anna & Joachim with the infant Theotokos, for a client in Calgary. It is a larger icon and it will present new challenges as it wants green filigree added over the gold leaf background. I'm hoping to get this one completed by mid-October.
During all this, I need to keep 1) dialog going with the client in Winnipeg about options for the centenary icon which will want to get to Winnipeg by mid-January (more details to come once a composition has been agreed upon) and he timeline is short, and 2) continue building my series 'Journeying with the Totems' as I will need double what I currently have if I'm going to be able to adequately present in 2 exhibitions.
September 27, 2014:
Managed to get the 2 icon boards prepared, with sanding out on the terrace in between the rains this week. Got the two designs inked in on the boards and started blocking in the base colours. Need to get these commissions done before I can return to the totem series. It always takes a few days to get back into painting the totems against after being away from them for a few weeks; shifting from one style of art to another.
Sept. 28, 2014:
Blocking in the base colours on the 2 icons, and adjusting them as required. Note that the red background on the Sts Anna & Joachim icon and St. Malachy icon is where the gold leafing will be applied at a later stage. The St. Malachy border will include a Celtic ornamention.
October 3, 2014:
Gold leafing day for both icons. Need to let it set a bit more before doing the burnishing to remove the excess leaf bits.
October 7, 2014:
Before I could seal the gold leafing (to protect it), I had to do all the ornamentation and inscriptions that needed to go right onto the gold leafing (to assure proper adhesion). Tricky process in that the gold leaf is vulnerable to scratching and you have to avoid setting your fingers on the surface.
The Sts. Anna & Joachim icon has a unique foliage added to the raised frame and background, and the St. Malachy icon has a tri-colour Celtic pattern with 23K gold.
Now that the sealer is in place, I can get back to writing the icons. I have a long way to go yet.
October 13, 2014
The St. Malachy Icon has been completed and will be traveling to Pennsylvania tomorrow.
Received word today that another Solo exhibit has been confirmed in West Vancouver for 2015. Looking forward to receiving the dates. I advised he gallery of the Parksville BC March exhibit and hope that the dates don't conflict. Wonderful news.
October 6, 2014:
Received confirmation that the 'Journeying with the Totems' exhibition at Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver BC will be from January 27 to February 22, 2015, just before the exhibition in the McMillan Art Centre in Parksville BC which sets up on March 2nd with a March 7th opening. Crazy/busy times. :-) Wonderful to have succeeded in getting two back to back shows so early in the new year. Now to crank up the painting in the studio.
Sept. 11, 2014:
Beginning on a journey of another centenary icon. It too will have its own particular challenges and historical requirements. The project is off to a good start with invaluable back and forth in determination the best composition and theme for the icon.
Sept. 15, 2014:
Celebrated my 65th birthday and spending the last few days contemplating design options for the centenary icon. Naturally, this is the phase of a project for which an artist never receives any compensation for, but essential for the project to move forward. Sent some initial ideas to my contact, trying to factor in some complex requirements in the hope that it may guide the direction to move forward. Hope to get back to a few days of painting my totem on Wednesday. Forecast is for rain for a few days after that; great to paint to.