October 16, 2018:
The drafting of the St. Kateri and St. Francis Xavier icons onto full scale grids was taken care of, and then transferred the images onto their panels. After more adjustments, I completed inking in today.
October 8, 2018:
Not having any clear wall space that I can work the designs for the 8 icons of this size (30"x48"), and with the limited work space which was my living room, I had to construct a surface which could lean against the bay window end of the room; sitting on the floor and with extension to clear the vertical bind valence. This way. I can work out the drafting grid on the one sheet of paper, not having to redraft for each icon, and work the designs on vellum racing paper. This also avoids not being able to erase corrected lines when you prepare the design directly into the gesso (which also leaves lines into the gesso).
October 5, 2018:
It has been confirmed that the first 2 icons will be:
- St. Francis Xavier
- St. Kateri Tekakwitha
October 3, 2018:
I'm in the process of preparing the first 2 panels for the commission. They are heavier because of their size and the rounded tops add some extra challenges in wrapping the muslin, but in spite of these challenges, and the limited space to prep two at the same time, and the cooler weather which slows the drying time, they are moving along. After another sanding tomorrow, I have another 5 coats of gesso to do.
September 25, 2018:
The commission from St, Monica Church in Richmond is underway. It involves 8 icons which will be written over the next 10 months.
I picked up the cut panels yesterday, and I'm very pleased with the results. Because these icons will be hung along the textured cinder block walls on either side of the Nave, I am using 1" Baltic Birch Ply as the base as it is the most stable, and resistant to warping over time. The reason being, unlike regular plywood, it is constructed with 16 birch veneers which alternates the grain with each layer, explaining the weight and stability, and the added cost.
The shape of each panel reflects the pattern on the wall themselves, rectangular but with a round top. It will pose a new challenge in wrapping the muslin along the rounded edge. The panels are 48" high and 30" wide.
Adhering the muslin is never a pleasant task, having to work fast to get an even surface without air pockets, and getting clean side edges. One thing that may help in this case, is the muslin that I ended up with.
I went into the fabric shop to get my usual muslin, only to find that the store is closing down (to relocate within the next few months) and their muslin was sold out... other then for one remaining bolt of the 'Premium Muslin' which was listed at $30 a meter (almost 3 times what I usually pay), but was fortunately 50% off because of the closing. It almost looks like a fine white linen, and is has a double width which also helps. So I'm looking forward to see how it is to work with, although, it is a pity that such a nice fabric just end up under all the gesso and paint.