Judging from the feedback, the first three Heritage Lottery Funded icon painting ‘taster’ workshops have all been extremely well received, and were certainly enthusiastically attended. Whilst most of the participants were from the North Norfolk area, several individuals came from further afield – even as far as Yorkshire.
Whilst hardly anyone had had any previous experience of painting (or ‘writing’ as some prefer to say) icons, everyone completed a small icon to take away with them and gained an insight into painting with egg tempera and how it is used within the Russian icon painting tradition. Given the remit of the workshops, the gilding of halos etc was done with imitation leaf – and to great effect!
The new gallery (formerly the renown icon painting studio of the St Seraphim brothers, Fr David and Leon Liddament) has been beautifully refurbished and provided the perfect icon painting environment as the walls and new display cabinets are now filled with icons and exhibits from the collection. (And thus becoming the only icon museum within an Orthodox church in the UK.)
A different archetypal Russian icon was chosen for each workshop; an Archangel Michael (after Rublev), A 19th century Mother of God of Kazan and a 16th century Novgordian icon of St Parsakeva Piatnitsa. Each image was looked at in terms of its iconography and history, as well as being contextualised within the tradition of prayer and veneration.
The beautiful Quiet Garden of St Seraphim’s gave us yet another inspirational space to enjoy during our breaks, amidst the tastefully planted perennial borders of flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees – all at their seasonal best along the considerable length of the former railway platform . The delightful geese, Max and Wanda, added their own quirky charm to the events.