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It's not often that a Saint intervenes and expresses their opinion on how they want their icon. but that is precisely what happened with this icon of St Maria Skobtsova of Paris. The commissioner asked for a full gold background and halo. Something told me that was not what St Maria would want, but as the the customer wanted gold, that is what I would do...but St Maria had other ideas! I had laid down the shellac and started with the glue size, but it behaved strangely so I wiped it off with white spirit and decided to try again but the cup of gold size fell over spilling everywhere. So I started over from scratch. I started laying on the size again but as soon as I reached the halo it suddenly became thick and unworkable! Again the cup of gold size fell over! I tried a third time and the same thing happened! The size became thick and the cup fell over again! Finally the bottle of white spirits fell on the icon! St Maria was adamant. She did not want gold on her icon! So I sanded off the shellac and painted the background red for the blood of the Holy Martyrs. St Maria pray for us!
For a detailed explanation on painting black garments see my blog post about Painting St Porphyrios.
Prints of this icon are available here.
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