It’s not just an art; it’s a practice. Icon painters must stay close to their own inner presence; there are specific prayers used to accompany the craft. It requires an attention to breathing, quietness, stillness; a disciplined meditation where the attention converges on an effort to bring the Being of the subject into the present moment. The icon is meant to open a window between the viewer and the sacred, drawing them into an intimate and personal relationship not with the object, but with veneration itself.
―Lee van Laer, “A Consonance of Feeling: Art by Chantal Heinegg–Painting Icons in a Modern World.”
This quote and the icon pictured above are from an article in the Spring 2013 issue of Parabola, a quarterly journal published by the Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition. Parabola describes itself like this:
A parabola is one of the most dynamic forms in nature. It is the curve of a bowl, the path of a ball soaring upward and down to earth again. The founder of this magazine decided it was a good name for a journal devoted to the search for meaning, which often goes outward, then back home again along a different path.
I plan to approach my next writing project with the attention, stillness, and disciplined meditation necessary to create something iconic. My material will be local things: the Saxapahaw General Store, a tin-topped pie basket. and a peculiar pillowcase. For I spent today going outward, and I came back home along a different path. I don’t know that I gained meaning on this journey, but I certainly enjoyed it. And I did gain a really nice pie basket.
(Parabola itself is a sort of icon–a window to the sacred. If you can’t find copies in your local bookstore, try the library.)