Friday, February 03, 2012

Two Icons by Kathy Sievers

Kathy Sievers teaches at an icon painting teaching program that takes place regularly at Mt Angel Abbey in Oregon (close to where she lives). She also teaches in Illinois and Florida. You can see more of her work at her website, here and more about the Mt. Angel program here

A few things caught my eye about these two icons is the lovely rhythm and grace of the lines. As well as have that calligraphic flow in the abstract, they do describe form well (without deviating from the iconographic style); so that, for example, we can read the folding of the cloth and how it relates the form underneath very easily. This is the mark of a good draughtsman. Also, look at how she has modelled the form. She appears to do a base layer in quite mottled paint - probable quite a thin single layer of paint (I'm guessing) as a wet puddle of quite dilute paint. This evapourates unevenly an so creates that mottled effect as the white gesso underneath shows through more in some parts than others. Then she paints the mid-tones and highlights on top of that. These are much denser, opaque layers of paint. The overall effect is very attractive, I think. I am painting a large Christ in Majesty at the moment and want to paint a blue robe. I have been looking at different ways of doing this, and Kathy is giving me some pointers through her work.

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