Icon is one of those words that has been given a whole new meaning by computing. We click on icons or move them on our desktop [computer desktop that is]. But the word, which comes from Greek, simply means ‘image.’ And traditionally, an icon is a painting of a person or an event from the Bible. I have a friend who writes icons [people used the verb ‘write’ rather than ‘draw’ or ‘paint’, and it is an iconographer, not icon artist, who writes the icon]. From Lynette I’ve learned how icon writing is a form of prayer. The results are very different from my humble sketchbook, but perhaps the process is closer than one might think.
“Icons are the gospel in paint. As a means of intercessory prayer one never enters an icon alone – but brings the whole world with oneself- to receive and to surrender, to plead and to give thanks.”
a Dominican nun
“Just as those who stand next to bright colours are themselves bathed in reflection, so the person who fixes his eyes clearly on the Spirit is in some way transformed by His glory and becomes more radiant.”
Basil the Great
Babette’s Feast: Simeon the God-receiver
Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
Your word has been fulfilled.
My eyes have seen the salvation
You have prepared in the sight of every people,
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people, Israel.
for an excellent overview about the process of writing icons see:
Reflections on writing an icon