Making a Traditional Icon Panel

January 27th, 2018

Working with wood to make a panel remains something I love about making traditional church icons. Maybe it’s the smell of the cut wood, which always takes me back to my Grandfather’s woodshop where we built things together when I was a child. Or, maybe it’s the fact that there’s always something more to learn about wood and I love the challenges it presents. Or, maybe it’s uncovering the beauty of the grain in the… Read more

Kitchener Icon Class: Level 1

November 20th, 2017

In this introductory iconography class, Symeon will teach 12 participants over 4 months to make an Orthodox icon using traditional methods and materials. The Level 1 class provides the experience of making an icon by copying one of Christ the Pantocrator created by Symeon for this purpose. Such work from a prototype makes room for new students to train their eyes to look carefully and gain the skills their hands need to learn. This class is intended… Read more

About these Icons

A long time ago, a monk handed me a palette knife and told me to come and learn to paint icons. I accepted his call, and today work as a full-time iconographer.

I make folk icons, a traditional form of iconography that doesn’t always strictly observe the canons of either the church or secular painting but embodies an innocence, candidness, and joy. My icons are more stylized and flatter than those of other schools—lines are bold, colour’s frank, and clothing rendered in a simple geometry.

All the materials I use in making an icon come from the land—my pigment colours most often being found around the village of Conestoga where I live and work. Foraging from the soil, plants, and animals, I take what I harvest and create a testament to the love of God which energizes the whole earth.

I make icons for churches, missions, and homes, offer workshops coast to coast, and regularly present on my iconographic work.

Quote

Symeon’s icons are a hymn of praise, drawing as they do on the local palette of each region of Canada, they calls each of us to a deeper regard for our fragile world, a deeper attention to the Holy Spirit who, “is everywhere present and fillest all things.”

—Fr. David J. Goa, Founding Director of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life

More about the Studio

Icons

The work that goes into making an icon is pretty wonderful, with a vision of the heavenly made out of the rocks and plants found here in Conestoga, Ontario.

Click to see more about making an icon.

Local Colours

As an artist, the colours I find in the earth are beautiful and sacred. Using rocks, soils, plants, and bones I create pigments from places across North America .

Click to read about foraging for new local colours on www.vandonkelaar.ca.

Workshops

Learning to paint an icon, or work with local colour pigments, has many benefits. For many people it is an oppertunity to connect to their faith in a new way.

Click to learn about classes and workshops being offered.

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