Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wrong Turns

It's been four years since I enrolled in my first iconography class. I'd been painting small stones that I called "pocket icons" and a nun who attended one of my "stone painting as meditation" classes told me that she'd studied with a local woman who taught traditional iconography. I thought it would be interesting to try that but was intimidated because it seemed to call for skills I didn't possess. I vascillated back and forth and then one day walked into a gallery to see a new show. The paintings on the walls were like nothing else I'd seen - they were so stunning in both subject and technique. As I was reading through the artist's bio, I realized that this was THE iconographer and before I could lose my nerve, I went home and called for an appointment.

I thought that I'd only go for one session - enough to complete an icon. I thought that the structure, the discipline might be too much for me on a long term basis. I thought wrong. Here it is, four years later, and I have no intention of quitting. I still do lots of other painting - which offers challenges and joys in other ways. I feel like everything I do is a learning adventure. There are times when I combine some of my own techniques of working on stones with methods and procedures that I've learned while writing icons. What I thought was a brief lookout point on my path actually became a different road, taking me somewhere interesting, though I couldn't tell you the destination.

I'll spend a few blogs soon on the process of iconography.

When have you been delightfully surprised by finding your preconceived assumptions wrong?

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