Icon: Jesus Pantocrator

This was the first time I had finished an icon on my own. I wanted to experiment with using Golden fluid acrylics as opposed to the recommended Jo Sonja paints as well as using a Claybord instead of a more traditional (and expensive) icon board.

I started at the beginning of 2015, so I was very focused on using what I had and being able to write an icon.

Which is why I used the blue tracing paper I had rather than getting proper carbon paper. The blue marks melted into the paint, so no worries there.

The background went down gorgeously in many many layers. My first attempt at mixing the hair color turned out red and it was looking really streaky although is only two layers worth. I decided to fix that later.

My concern with the Golden paints is that they are shiny. The parchment mix with the Titanium White shows just how shiny they can be. Would it stand out as super-shiny against the other not so shiny colors?

Sankir, the shadow color down. I just love sankir (and it dried matte!) In icon writing you go from darks to light.

Oh my God. The Halo Red is supershiny too. The shinier the paint, the less it is interested in sticking to the layer beneath it. This is teeth-clenching, patience-inducing (presumably). Oh, this is going to be interesting....

Storm blue was the hardest of the colors to reproduce from the list of Jo Sonja paints that I was figuring out equivalences for. As you can see it was swinging from too green to too grey to finally storm blue. (And then I ended up buying a storm blue in the Jo Sonya anyway.)

Generally in the recipes, each color in the mix is half as much as the color before. I think I need to work on Second Flesh a bit more, it came out pretty pink (as you will see below).

Golden Paint icon color recipes:

Sankir: Burnt Sienna, Jenkins Green, Hansa Yellow Light, Titanium White
Second Flesh: Burnt Sienna, Napthol Red Light, Hansa Yellow Light, Titanium White (think I'll try flipping the yellow and red amounts next time)
Yellow White Mix: Hansa Yellow White (50%), Titanium White (50%) [I may have added more white eventually]
Hair: Bone Black 60%, Red Oxide 40%
Halo Red: Violet Oxide 50%. Napthol Red Light 50% (start with less red, else it gets really red, really fast)

The translucency of the Golden fluid acrylics means less is more especially with the Napthol Red.

The inner robe is Violet Oxide.

In February I started the shading. First, the hair:

And there the icon sat for months until early December when I decided to test if I really needed to buy real gold or stick with the composite. My test run is below (and yes, I used a church bulletin to catch the drips.)

I bought real gold. There was something not quite right about the composite, cheap stuff. Below, Jesus finally has a face and the robes have shading. I did an idiot thing with the robe shading. I had picked up the Jo Sonja "Storm Blue" and used that instead of the mix I'd gone to all the trouble to make (and in the months since mixing the paint had totally dried out.) It still worked although my outer robe folds aren't as subtle as the inner robe folds. Also as you can see, Second Flesh is too pink so the formula needs some tweaking.

The shiny parchment worked in my favor as I redid the scripture phrase three times and each time it easily wiped off with a Q-tip and water. Thank goodness.  

You can see places where the gold didn't stick to the adhesive.

Leftover gold. Mainly because I brilliantly dropped a sheet of it.

So Jesus gets a nose job in order to use a compass to swing the halo. The halo above is still wet (and has issues, I blobbed some in the corner and had to go in with some more gold repair when I was done.) I think I ended up swinging it three times. The last two icons I painted were a single swing.

The very liquid red halo paint sits in the wee gap there near the point.
Here is Jesus Pantocrator, finished at the beginning of January. As by this point, I knew to whom it was going, I had a deadline and worked to a timetable. Completed with the varnish on and everything. You can't tell that the red crossbars and parchment are any more or less shinier than the rest of the paint. He went as a gift to my church's interim rector at the end of his time with us.

So, what's next? Well, LifeBook proved to be a massive time-suck last year and I'm doing it again this year but if I can get some dedicated weekend times, I would very much like to do Rublev's Trinity. We shall see.


  1. That is gorgeous!

    PS: You can tell I didn't have enough caffeine this AM - I first thought the title of your post was "Jesus Procrastinator." :)

    1. Ha! Given that I took a break from February 2015 to December 2015, that seems like a pretty accurate name for it! :)


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