An hour from when I am beginning to write this, I will head out the door to join up with some of my icon-writing buddies for some unsupervised icon creating. I say unsupervised because we're doing this on our own, without our instructor (who lives in California). We're gathering on Monday afternoons in July, painting assorted icons of our choosing. I think there are four of us--one is doing St. Michael, one the Sinai Christ Pantocrator (both of which we've done in previous workshops), and two of us are plunging headlong into uncharted territory with a new icon: St. Mary Magdalene.
I have to tell you, I'm psyched. It's a little daunting to venture out on our own without the calming hand of Teresa to keep our anxiety at bay, but each of us have painted at least four icons previously and feel that we know our way well enough to support each other through the process. I've been wanting to do Mary for a while, so this is a great opportunity to "git 'r' done!"
Truth be told, it was a challenge to find this icon, not that there aren't a whole bunch of versions out there to use as inspiration. But since we work from a "life-size" image (the size of the board--8 x 10 in this case), there were a limited number of icons in internet-image-land large enough to use. The one I liked most was too small and a bit dark, but I was drawn to this one for its simplicity and for her hair. I'm less keen on this interpretation, that Mary M was the woman who anointed with oil and then wiped Jesus' feet with her hair (hence the bowl and towel), but c'est la vie. This isn't intended to be a theological statement but a spiritual tool, and in the course of painting, a spiritual practice.
If all goes well I may attempt to write an icon on my own, though part of what makes this effort so worthwhile is doing it in community. We'll see. For now, Mary awaits, and I need some lunch before departing.