The design for the Presentation icon was set within the new Seminary Chapel instead of a traditional Old Testament setting. The persons within the icon are indeed traditional.
The the Sanctuary is set within the Chapel's Sanctuary, but the metallic base of the altar was adjusted to a stone base with Old Testament ornamentation. The altar's top remained in its dark green marble. In the Seminary's Chapel, the gold tabernacle is placed up against the back wall. For the Icon, to keep the icon within the Old testament context, I replaced the tabernacle with a central menorah. But the wall configuration and the flooring remain similar.
The last detail was a traditional way of clarifying an 'Interior' scene, with the use of a drape that runs along the tops of the architecture. These aren't used when the scene is an exterior one.
Twenty-Five Years of Sulpician Presence at St. Joseph Seminary In 1990, the Archbishop of Edmonton, Joseph N. MacNeil, invited the Canadian Province of the Society of St. Sulpice to take charge of the program of priestly formation at St. Joseph Seminary. The first Sulpician team of three priests arrived in the Fall of that year and was composed of Sulpician Fathers Lionel Gendron (as Rector) and David Brabant, together with Fr. Luc Bouchard, a Priest who had been teaching at the Grand Séminaire de Montréal with them. Ever since, Sulpicians and their co-workers have given themselves generously to the work of formation at the Seminary as well as teaching at Newman Theological College. This year we are celebrating twenty-five years of Sulpician presence with gratitude and much joy.
The festivities of this anniversary year commenced with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist on September 2, the Memorial of the Sulpician Martyrs (and the anniversary of the death of M. Louis-Paul Gauvreau, PSS, Rector of the Seminary in 2004). Present at this sacred liturgy with the current formation team and Seminary community were a number of former team members, staff and friends.
During the Mass, the Most Rev. Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, blessed a new icon of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Seminary chapel, an icon written by Mr. André Prévost. The Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple is the Patronal Feast of the Society of St. Sulpice, chosen by the founder M. Jean-Jacques Olier. This image in the chapel where the Seminary community comes to pray throughout the day will be a inspiring sign of Our Lady as a temple of the Word of God, her protection of the Seminary, and will also be a discreet reminder of the contribution of the Sulpicians to the Church in Edmonton and Western Canada.
submitted by Fr. Stephen Hero, Rector
Left to Right: Fr. Marco Forero (former director); Fr. Stephen Hero (current Rector); Bishop Lionel Gendron (first Sulpician Rector at St. Joseph Seminary); Fr. Shayne Craig (rector 2005-2012, current director); Bishop Luc Bouchard (Rector 2000-2001); Fr. Robert Gauthier (director); Bishop Paul Terrio (former director); Fr. Miguel Castellanos; Archbishop Joseph MacNeil (Archbishop of Edmonton at the time, initiated the whole process); Fr. Stefano Penna; Archbishop Richard Smith; Fr. Brian Inglis (director); Archbishop Emelius Goulet (Sulpician Provincial Superior in 1990); Fr. Adam Lech (Chancellor); Bishop Greg Bittman; Fr. Jacques D'Arcy (current Sulpician Provincial Superior); Fr. Augusto Garcia (director); Fr. Eric Sylvestre (former director); Fr. David Norman, ofm; Fr. Don MacDonald, ofm
The packed icon was picked up this afternoon and is on route to its home in Edmonton.
I was very touched by the Seminary's invitation to bring me to Edmonton for the special event on September 2nd. But with prior commitments, I was unable to accept the wonderful opportunity. I will have to be there in spirit.
The Festal Icon is packed and ready to begin its journey to Edmonton first thing tomorrow morning. Getting the materials, building the crate, and the packing the icon (which is a process onto itself) takes 8 - 9 hours.
Been two very long days and 3 hours sleep, but the icon is completed and the first coat of sealer has been done. The first coat always take longer to set and dry. I'll set my alarm to get up during the night to do the second coat. It is important to give the varnish as much drying time a possible before it gets packed in its crate Tuesday night.
Project in the morning will then be to design and plan the crate so that I can pick up the materials tomorrow.
This icon is on a flat panel with no raised frame. The image looks like it is floating on the gold background. The colours are always so much brighter once sealed, but it then becomes very challenging to take pictures in my small studio because of the glare. If time allows, I try to get a few pictures before I varnish.
The icon begins its journey to Alberta on Wednesday morning, and will arrive in time for the special event at St. Joseph Seminary on September 2nd.
No room for illness -
Such bad timing! After 3 days of being laid up with a fever and coughing up a lung, a walk-in confirmed last night that I have a combo of a reflux flare up AND a virus (and the usual advise to get lots of rests over the next week)! The fever broke this morning but now have to drag my butt and cough through this week; completing and icon commission and building a shipping crate (having asked for a 2-day delay for pick up for early next week) and delivery of the paintings for the Port Moody exhibit. There just isn't room for an artist to get sick.
Another good day today. Got to work on the flooring while it was laying flat, and then started the process once again of shifting everything between my studio and my bedroom to retrieve the easel that I had built for the Winnipeg Centenary Icon. It works better in getting closer to the icon, unlike my other 2 easels. Now that the icon is back on an easel, I continue the writing process. The remaining days are flying by.
I'm hoping that the mortgage broker that I'm speaking with, can come up with an option with my fixed income in order to get a better studio and living situation for my son and I on Vancouver Island. The market on the Mainland is utterly beyond an artist, or 2 artists (my son is a musician/composer).
Now that the gold leaf is in, and while the sealer has time to properly set, I'm leaving the icon on its saw horses in order to work on the flooring before I put the icon back on an easel. It's easier working lines while the icon is flat.
Very aware that the icon needs to be completed and varnish by Wednesday of next week, so that it can be crated in time for the 24th. Oh, and I still need to built the crate as well.
It was inevitable!
I always shut off air circulation and use plastic to control dust and hair (cat especially) from settling on the gold size as it is drying to tack. Well... not only did a cat hair get on the icon board yesterday...but a whole cat! She had figured out a way of getting up there to explore. I'm sure she wasn't pleased with the surprise of the semi tack adhesive on her paws. I did a second coat of size today after sanding down the last coat and will be gold leafing in another hour or so. As for the painted surface with paw prints, I will be lightly sand those spots and do touch ups.
Cat paw prints are a first for me after 30 years of iconography with a cat in the house. The other hurdle with a cat in the house is that cats love to lick off the natural red clay bole which has fish glue in it! Comes as a bit of a surprise when you enter your studio the next day only to see all the red bole gone from the icon.
I had other pressing things to get done today but I couldn't get out of my studio. I wanted to get the icon to where most of the white gesso is gone. Then I can begin to tweak colour choices. I am happy with the addition of the menorah in the center and I've reduced the right wall section enough to add another windor in the upper right corner, to balance the one on the left. All symbolisms are worked out as are most of the base undertone colours. Now I can continue with the writing of the icon.
As a reference, the Main Chapel interior is as in the photo below:
July 24 - 26, 2015 Trip to Edmonton
It was a great blessing to have the Archdiocese of Edmonton bring me there for the blessing of the chapel plaque now the installation of the St. Joseph icon had been completed.
When I arrived in Edmonton I had a window of opportunity to see the Seminary's Main Chapel before it closed for the weekend. I had seen a number of pictures but as usual, I found that they didn't give a good sense of the actual space, and how the sanctuary was actually configured. It will be helpful as I continue with the Seminary's icon.
The Seminary is next the the Newman Theological College which use to be in St. Albert in my day, and my GPS served me well in finding it. When entering the Seminary, I was pleasantly surprised to see my original icon of St. Joseph which I had written for them in the 90s (which was the starting point for discussions about the Centenary icon in St. Joseph Basilica). I was also surprised by the glass encasing it was in, a clear indication that it holds a special place.
The arrow indicates where the icon will be installed once completed. It is scheduled to be in the Chapel for an event on September 2nd. The icon is incorporating some of the elements of the chapel. The stain glass windows in the Chapel are stunning; many of them from the original chapel at its first location.
I then continued on to St. Joseph Basilica as arrangements had been made for me to stay at the Rectory, which was a wonderful opportunity for quiet and daily mass. Once settled in, I wanted to see the icon. It was wonderful to be with the icon once again and spend some quiet time with it over the weekend. I was touched by the setting of its new home, and how parishioners enter it in prayer through the day.
There had been a statue of St. Joseph in the chapel prior the centenary commission for a new icon of St. Joseph the Worker. Masonry work was required to first move the statue to its new location in the church just outside the chapel, and then restore the wall for the icon.
Much to get done before catching a flight to Edmonton early Friday morning for the unveiling of the new shrine's plaque on Saturday - getting another submission out for a potential exhibition in 2016 for my Totem series, and a few deadline things for the home front. Never any time to rest in the survival game.
I look forward to being with the icon of St. Joseph the Worker again and to be able to spend some time with it before the ceremony in late afternoon. I hope that the flight arrives on schedule on Friday as I have a small window of opportunity of visiting the Seminary's Main Chapel before it closes at 4pm. It would be good to be able to sit in the chapel for a while, to bring back with me as I continue to write the icon.
7/19/2015 Blocking In Colours
7/18/2015 A Day Of Lines
A long day of patience today. 3 phases of lines!
1) Edit and complete the design on vellum,
2) Transfer the design onto the prepared board with graphite paper,
3) Ink in (paint) the lines over the graphite transfer.
Had a good day plotting out the design for the Festal Icon of the Presentation Of The Theotokos In The Temple. I've laid vellum over of gessoed board as it is easier to do edits that way (gesso tends to hold the granite). Once the design is completed, I then transfer it to the board with graphite paper.
With the chance of seeing the chapel next Friday in Edmonton, I won't finalize the architecture elements in the icon until after that. I am incorporating some of main features of the sanctuary into the icon. The one element that will be used is the traditional drape along the top of the walls, to signify that it is an interior scene.
Preparing Panels for the next commissions
I'm also preparing the panels for the next icon commissions...and yes, improvised work space will include the stove top. The large panel is for St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, to be completed and shipped in time for their September 2nd event. I have 3 more coats of gesso (and final sanding) to apply to the large panel. It weighs a bit given that it is 24"x47" and made of 1" Baltic Birch. This Festal icon is designed to be 47" wide and 24" high.
The smaller icon board (11"x14") is for a Calgary commission.
When I had the larger panel cut, I was able to get two more 11"x14" pieces cut from the end piece. They still need the front framing added, but good to have them on hand for further icon commissions. The 11"x14" size is the most popular size.
The home front required that I re-juggle my scheduling over the next few months. It was confirmed that I have enough of the totem series to present a good exhibition in Port Moody (opening August 27th). So I can set the new paintings in progress aside until September so that I can write the icon commissions now rather then later. The problem with the exhibition circuit is that no funds come in while you develop a series and if there are any sales from a showing, the funds aren't released until the closing of the show. Unfortunately, the household bills don't have the same flexibility.
I have been preparing the panel for the icon commission for the Main Chapel of the Seminary in Edmonton. It is 24"x47" and is 1" Baltic Birch. It is heavy but is far more stable then regular woods and plywoods. Once I have the gesso done, I can begin developing the design directly onto the board (which is already confirmed with the Seminary). I will have the next 5 weeks to complete this icon and have it shipped out before I set up the Port Moody exhibit.
All things usually work out in interesting ways. I received an email from the Archdiocese of Edmonton, advising that the shrine for the Icon of St, Joseph the Worker had been completed and that the blessing of the plaque will take place on July 25th. It was hoped that I could still be present. So I will be flying to Edmonton for that weekend, and allow extra time to also visit the Seminary and its Main Chapel. I look forward to just have time to sit quietly in the Chapel and that will guide the journey.
A commission for an originally designed festal icon of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple has been approved for the Main Chapel of the St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta. We're in the process of finalizing the details and it will completed for early Fall. That will fit perfectly with the Port Moody exhibition late August.
Also in the works is a another commission. With its early summer deadline, I can write the icon as I transition to the paintings for the exhibition.
The timing for these 2 commissions is just in time in help keep things afloat for the next 2 months. The joys of trying to survive as an artist.