Education and Arts

Painting a beautiful Icon

Anna woods, is someone who would normally rush into an art task without thinking through the method of her approach, but her and her colleagues Evie Ogier and Samantha Brown recently learnt how to be measured in their approach and restrained in order to produce technically sophisticated artwork.

Anna, is one of the 3 ACU arts students awarded a scholarship to undertake a five-day icon painting hands-on workshop with world renowned Russian iconographers Phillip Davydov and his wife Olga Shalamova in January this year.

Anna believes she will be using the painting method she has learnt in her future art practice because she was very impressed with her final Icon.

Each year, Philip and Olga hold icon painting classes at the ACU Melbourne Art Gallery and offer ACU art students scholarships to take part in their workshops. The scholarships are awarded to high performing first year students who are studying the Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design/Creative Arts/Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching/ Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) who have excelled in the painting and drawing units Arts 109 2D Studies 1 and Arts 241 2D Studies 2.

During the course every participant is taught how to start and complete an icon according to the traditional egg tempera method. Daily lectures with slide presentations and discussions on different topics, such as theology and the history of medieval Christian art and practical and theoretical questions of contemporary iconography, add value to the students’ learning.

Evie Ogier one of the 3 scholarship recipients commented about the course saying,

I’m really grateful that I got to take part in the course and learn from such accomplished people.

Painting the actual icon was a lot of fun, I loved being engrossed in such fine details, and seeing the patience and concentration pay off at the end.

Anna had very few expectations before doing the course as she knew very little about Russian iconography. She commented “coming from a non-religious background, I was very intrigued about what was in store for me during the week. The only thing I expected was that we would be painting a religious icon. My expectations were exceeded because I was impressed by the amount of structure in the course.

“Philip is a second-generation iconographer with more than 15 years’ experience – he and Olga are the founders of Sacred Murals Studio based in Saint Petersburg Russia,” commented Dr Catherine Bell, Senior Lecturer in the Bachelor of Visual Art and Design degree in ACU’s Faculty of Education and Arts.

“The students benefit greatly from learning the traditional techniques and working for an intense period in the studio to create an icon with participants from all over Australia. The skills they learn often influence the artwork they produce during their degree," commented Dr Bell.

(Pictured above left to right, Evelyn Ogier, Anna Woods and Samantha Brown).