|26" x 40"|
All the walls were once pristine white, and we started this project with the painting behind the iconostasis, then worked up to the Theotokos in the half-dome. (More building photos here.)
The Theophany temple, styled after the Chora, an orthodox church in Istanbul, is typical of the Byzantine style of churches of the 13th century. It is built of modern materials, therefore, modern murals and techniques were applied for the iconography on the walls.
The artists consulted with Victoria Ryan of Art Care Services before any work was started, to determine the most archival materials and methods for these murals. The icons are painted on canvas with acrylic paint, then cut and glued with a special adhesive called Beva Gel. This glue is available from Conservators Products Company. It is a reversible application, allowing for the removal of the icons if this should become necessary for any reason.
It is also much easier for the artists to paint the artwork in their own studio, and then spend only a few days applying the completed iconography to the walls.
Laying the gold over the bole and size-prepared cross motif.
After rubbing, the back paper is removed.
The adhered gold is then gently brushed of excess.
The gilded cross is later detailed with background color to neaten the edges.
Then on to the next gilded banding.
It's a time-consuming and meticulous process, but well-worth the end result.
When the under-painting and the color balance has been established, detail painting begins.
|Close-up of left angel icon|
The unique drapery shadows and highlights of iconography being added below.
Next, color is laid into the mural and balance checked.
Below is an example of background lily frieze underpainting and color overlay with detailing.
Here is the center mural panel with detailing added.
|Right angel full|
|Left angel head|
|Right angel head|
The dark shiny red tone behind the angel heads is bole, or the underground for gold leaf that will be applied last. For more information about gilding, click here.
|Detail with gold leaf applied|
|The original designs|
Preparing the canvas and getting ready to build supporting framework
Preparing paint for the marbelling
The artist at work on the faux marble painting
Sketches of the mural figures left panel and center
Right panel detail sketch
"Carving" detail on three lower panels
Gluing canvas to frame with archival BevaGel adhesive
One finished lower architectural panel
Left, center, and right murals in process
Detail right panel
Detail left panel