One of a series of large spiritual portraits in progress which I brought along to my lecture/demo for the illustration class and Art Club at Kingsborough College. The dark red area is red clay bole painted over the gesso in preparation for water gilding. At right are two patches---one of burnished gold leaf, and the other of a mother-of-pearl tile, which will border the gold leaf area of the portrait.
Right on the heels of my lecture/demo at Kingsborough Community College and producing an article on my work in miniature, I travelled to help and support my family at two graduations in New York and North Carolina. It felt wonderful to be present on these special occasions in my niece and nephew's lives, but it's great also to finally have time to share with you in more depth my experience at Kingsborough, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm told that the article I wrote for Small Talk, the Miniature Art Society of Florida's newsletter, will be published in the next issue, which comes out very soon.
For the lecture/demo at Kingsborough I covered highlights on three topics: miniature painting, egg tempera, and water gilding. I wish I had a picture to share with you of the enthusiastic and attentive illustration class and Art Club in attendance! (If anyone present took one, I hope you'll email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.) I talked with this group about the world of miniature art competition, sharing four of my miniature paintings along with some favorite show catalogs and books on miniature art. Among them were Wes and Rachelle Siegrist's Exquisite Miniatures, Love and Loss, American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures, by Robin Jaffee Frank, and The Monarchy in Portrait Miniatures From Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria, by D.S. Lavender Antiques, Ltd.
Next I demonstrated how I prepare egg tempera medium, and mix my egg tempera in several different ways, both in advance and on my palette. I showed them where I was in my progress on the egg tempera portions of the large panel painting above. I explained how with this spiritually-toned portrait I am borrowing aspects of icon painting to echo a spiritual feeling, such as working on a traditional arched icon panel with it's niched edge, and the inclusion of water gilding.
Having painted several layers of red clay bole on the background of the painting in progress, I demonstrated the laying down of one piece of gold leaf after moistening it with the breath, known in icon painting as "the breath of God". The professor who invited me to do this demo, Valerie Sokolova and I took lessons together in the past at the Prosopon School of Iconology, where more recently she has become a teacher, so in tandem with her I talked with the class a little about icon painting, it's spiritual significance, and how it involves both egg tempera and gold leaf.
I also brought along an actual icon painting I have in progress, and since Daisy, an Art Club member in attendance, expressed an interest in learning about icon painting, perhaps I'll do a post on this topic in the near future on my spiritual portraits blog,
Grander Joy of Spirit in Portraiture. Interesting questions arose on all three topics, and all too soon our time together was over. Delightful refreshments were served afterwards. Special thanks to my friend and colleague Valerie Sokolova, to dept. chair Judith Wilde, and to all the students and members of the Art Club in attendance. I really enjoyed meeting you!
Since I am catching up, tomorrow is when I'll cover just part of a topic that I will be including in this summer's Egg Tempera workshop: true gesso as a painting surface.