Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art



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Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art
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2006 Icon-Painting Workshop

2006 Icon-Painting Workshops

Intensive Workshop in the Living Tradition
of Icon Painting with Gilding and Gold Painting

Instructors: Anton and Julia Belov, Kovcheg Icon-Painting Artel
Port Chester, New York USA  February 6-11, 2006
Washington, DC USA
  February 13-18, 2006
Santa Rosa, California USA  February 20-25, 2006
Houston, Texas USA  February 27-March 4, 2006
Chicago, Illinois USA  March 6-11, 2006

Register for the Workshop

Pay Deposit for the Workshop

Icons Painted by the Kovcheg Icon Painting Artel

St. George and the Dragon
St. George and the Dragon, 45x33 cm, 2001, wood, pavoloka, levkas, tempera and gold leaf.

Burning Bush icon of the Mother of God, 37x32 cm, 2000, wood, pavoloka, levkas, tempera and gold leaf.

Christ on his Throne
Christ Enthroned, 37x32 cm, 2001, wood, pavoloka, levkas, tempera and gold leaf.


The Iconofile School of Iconography offers classes for individuals to learn the technique of icon painting directly from contemporary Russian masters. Iconofile selected iconography masters who are not only excellent painters in their own right, but are among the best teachers in Russia. Each instructor has a painting style and a philosophical approach to iconography uniquely their own and different from each other instructor in the school.

Workshop Program

This is a six-day intensive workshop on the living tradition of icon painting as developed in the 15th through 17th centuries by Rus?painters in Yaroslavl, Russia, known as the Yaroslavl School. The workshop will be taught by Anton and Julia Belov in English. This workshop focuses on the technique of gilding, gold painting, painting over gilded surfaces, and the technique of soft fusing colors in faces, hands and clothing, so well perfected by masters of the Yaroslavl School of icon painting.

Angel GabrielThe instructors will use a prototype of an icon of the Angel Gabriel as the model for teaching the techniques in this workshop. This is a well-suited prototype for use in this course, because it contains excellent examples of gilding in the halo, gold hatching on the garments and soft fusing tones in the face. In addition, the prototype has gilded wings, so the instructors will demonstrate how to paint over gilded surfaces. The icon model is carefully selected to help in learning the advanced techniques in this class.

The icon features gilding in the haloes and gold painted as the highlights of garments and inscriptions. This type of gold painting always presents a challenge because the materials and technique must be consistent. Anton and Julia will demonstrate how to make your own shell gold and then paint these fine lines in fine decorative

The face of the image is quite large on this icon, so this icon presents an excellent opportunity to learn how to paint soft, fusing tones. The faces are typically difficult to master, so Julia Belov, the "lichnik" master of the Kovcheg workshop, will work with each student to help you master the technique.

Icon-Painting Technique: You will learn advanced techniques for preparing shell gold for gold hatching, preparing the base for gilding, gilding methods, painting over gilding, painting techniques for clothing, and faces.

Hands-on, Practical Instruction: You will draw the figure on tracing paper; transfer the figure onto the gessoed board; prepare the board for gilding and gild the haloes; paint the base colors of the background, clothing and face; develop the modeling in the folds of the robes, the features of the faces; apply gold to the clothing; and complete the icon painting with highlights.

Workshop Schedule

The following details of the workshop schedule are subject to change without notification.

Day 1: Trace the model from a photo copy onto tracing paper, transfer the cartoon to the board and outline the contour with ochre paint. For those with stronger drawing skills, you will sketch the outline with a soft pencil directly onto the board, and then draw the contours using a brush with ochre paint.

Day 2: Gilding demonstration and applying gold leaf to the icon board.

Day 3: Complete the gilding, paint the raskryshka (把忘扼抗把抑扮抗我, literally "to open") or base layer of the icon painting, and begin painting the probelov (扭把抉忌快抖抉志) or modeling the structure of the face, hands and garments.

Day 4: Complete the probelov and paint the vokhrenie (志抉抒把快扶我快) of the face and hands.

Day 5: Start painting the opis (抉扭我扼抆) or highlighting brushstrokes of the face, hands and garments. Apply gold paint to the garments.

Day 6: Finish painting the opis, paint the finishing lines and areas of the icon (outline the halo, inscription, outside frame, etc.).

The workshop will begin at 9:00 a.m., break for lunch at 1:00 p.m., resume at 2:00 p.m., and finish at 6:00 p.m. each day. There will also be short breaks during the day. This is a rigorous schedule, so plan on getting plenty of rest each night. If you are arriving from outside the area, we recommend that you arrive early the day before the workshop begins to get a good night&##39;s sleep, so that you are refreshed on Monday morning.

On each day of the workshop, Anton Belov and Julia Belova shall discuss theoretical concepts, such as the construction of the icon, icon-painting technique, the history of icon-painting, etc., however, such discussions will be kept to a minium to allow students as much time to work as possible.

Who Should Attend?

If you want to master the technique of gilding and painting gold, you should attend this workshop. If you want to master painting faces and clothing, achieving smooth gradations in transitions from highlights to shadows, you should attend this workshop. If you have successfully painted and completed at least one icon you can greatly benefit from this workshop. Whether you paint in acrylics, gouache or egg tempera you can benefit from this course that teaches painting techniques that are applicable to any of these media.

Workshop Locations

Port Chester, New York〞The location of the workshop is at a studio in Westchester County. The address is 6 N Pearl St, Suite 404E, Port Chester, New York. The studio and location for the workshop is located about one city block from a train station, so public transportation is within easy reach. Inexpensive hotels can be found in White Plains, New York or Stamford, Connecticut, which are only 15 to 20 minutes away by auto. There are trains that go between Stamford and Port Chester, so transportation to and from a hotel, if needed, is easy.

Washington, DC〞The location of the workshop is at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Washington, DC (about three blocks away from the Washington National Cathedral). The church is minutes away from Arlington, Virginia and centrally located to Alexandria and Falls Church, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland. The address is 3500 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC. (See map) Parking for Saint Nicholas Cathedral is on side streets around the Cathedral.
For local accommodations and transportation, visit this page.

Chicago, Illinois〞To be determined.

Santa Rosa, California〞The location of the workshop is at the Church of Saint Seraphim of Sarov in Santa Rosa, California (about one hour drive north of San Francisco in the heart of California&##39;s Wine Country). The address of the church is 90 Mountain View Avenue, Santa Rosa, California.
For local accommodations and transportation, visit this page.

Houston, Texas〞The location of the workshop is at Saint Mary*s Seminary located at 9845 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas.

Local Accommodations

If you are coming to the workshop from outside the local area, we have information about local accommodations and transportation:

Accommodations and Transportation: Washington, DC

Accommodations and Transportation: Santa Rosa, California

About the Workshop and Instructors

The Kovcheg Icon-Painting Artel (Russian for atelier) was established in 1995 in Yaroslavl, Russia. The goal of the workshop is the revival and development of Russian Orthodox icon painting. Some of Yaroslavl&##39;s most skilled contemporary painters -- Anton Belov, Julia Belova, Eugenia Rizhova, Stas Toropov along with other icon painters -- united to establish Kovcheg to revive the traditions of the Yaroslavl icon-painting school. Anton and Julia Belov are the leaders of the workshop.

Kovcheg Workshop artists
Some of the artists of the Kovcheg Icon-Painting Artel. Seated from left to right is Julia Belova, Eugenia Rizhova, Stas Toropov and Anton Belov.

The Kovcheg Artel is among the artistic workshops of the Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church of Russia. Their icons were exhibited in the Kremlin Museum in Moscow, at exhibitions in the Bolshoi Theatre, "The Days of Russian Culture" in Germany, and other exhibitions in France and Italy. Collectively, they have produced more than a thousand icons. Among their most significant works is the icon Seventy Apostles presented in honor of the seventeenth anniversary of the Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia, Alexy II.

Recently the icon painters of the artel completed the icon St. Tikhon the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia with scenes from his life. (It may be noted that between the years 1898 and 1907, Saint Tikhon was the bishop of Alaska and America.) The icon was a gift of His Holiness Alexy II, the Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia to the city of Arkhangelsk.

Click here for more information and examples of the work of the Kovcheg Icon-Painting Artel.


$685 includes the workshop tuition and materials needed for the workshop, which includes most supplies (such as finished icon panel, gold leaf, tools, and natural pigments). Students are responsible for meals and lodging if attending from outside the local area. Please register early because there is limited space at this workshop.

Register for the Workshop

Pay Deposit for the Workshop