My special gallery series of spiritual portraits is in need of support, and if you need a special gift for Christmas, or just wish to help, it's the only reason I interrupt the flow here to let you know that I also have great art for sale online, and it's at this link: MonaDianeConner.Etsy.com.
Twenty-five years ago I created 33 paintings for a Christmas memory book for Harper Collins called Christmas At Our House. Above are a few of the select framed original paintings from this book which are posting for sale in my Etsy shop, along with some great miniature paintings and small works, including some of my Madonnas you've seen here and other items of interest.
I'm always adding new works of art for purchase in my Etsy shop via Paypal, so if anything looks interesting, please visitMonaDianeConner.Etsy.comto see what else is there, now or at anytime, and thanks for checking it out.
"Kimberly With Roses" egg tempera on panel in progress (click the image twice for a larger view)
Due to several projects I must work on this Fall offline, it's been a while since my last post, but my work on "Kimberly with Roses" continues. I have laid down an initial underpainting in two layers on the background, added to the bottom of the painting, and have also decided to re-work several portions of the veil on the left side, to balance out the amount of decoration on the left and right sides of the veil. One advantage egg tempera has over acrylic and oil is that I can still either wash off or scrape off with my palette knife an area which is already dry to the touch and completely re-work it as you can see me doing here on the lower left side of the painting.
I'm currently preparing for a miniature competition, and welcome you to visit my miniature painting blog, The Ruby Slippers, if you'd like to see what I'm up to, (including my first self-portrait in miniature!) I'll continue here with my progress on "Kimberly with Roses" in about two weeks time, if not sooner...
19 1/2" x 15 1/4" egg tempera on true gesso panel in progress
Here I'm starting the gold fringe, which will have further layers of paint applied once it is established.
Some of you are aware, and others may not be, that I run three active painting blogs, all of which are listed on my links (also a fourth blog, Windows of the Soul on miniature eye portraits is remaining online just as an intro to eye portraits in miniature). I truly appreciate your interest in my art no matter whether you just enjoy watching one of my blog themes, or all of them, but I thought it might be helpful just one time to explain why I prefer separating my art into separate themed blogs, and where the action will be for now.
With this spiritual portrait series in particular, which has continued for almost two years now, I am actually unfolding and at times discussing on-blog a personal theme through an ongoing body of work in portraiture for a gallery or museum show. So I feel it is more meaningful in the long run to develop this theme in it's own context, separately from Mona Conner Portraits which is more about portraits and portrait commissions in general, and separate from my miniature painting blog which is primarily about my work in miniature painting. I may, for example, get more into discussion of technical aspects of painting on Mona Conner Portraits, whereas here on Grander Joy of Spirit I'm really attempting to zero in on the spiritual aspects of the art and hopefully evoking responses from my viewers, too, on this level.
So far my spiritual portrait series has been done completely uncommissioned, and only with the cooperation of several interested friends who have willingly and kindly posed for me for this purpose. However, I am also quite open to the opportunity of creating a commissioned spiritual portrait if anyone desires one. I sometimes do a portrait in miniature, which may overlap with Mona Conner Portraits, and very much enjoy also the treasured theme of the Madonna and the Divine Feminine in my art, which at times I will also portray in miniature. Eventually you can expect men, too, to appear in spiritual portraits on Grander Joy of Spirit, so it is not only the Divine Feminine aspects which I'd like to explore!
And while I may need to spend time on Mona Conner portraits, to foster portrait commissions when sales of miniatures are not proceeding fast enough to cover costs, my single most important goal as an artist remains this spiritual portrait series of paintings on Grander Joy of Spirit. Right now I'm at work on an artist grant application, just to help me be able to continue with this particular body of work which is so very dear to my heart; so please keep my grant application and my efforts with this series in your prayers and wish me luck!
While it's going to my panel shop for a repair prior to the application of gold leaf, here's another detail of my other panel painting in progress, "The 'Mary' in Kimberly". I'll be so excited when this one is completed!
I've recently started anew blog,"MONA CONNER PORTRAITS - Portraits Large and Small" which will sometimes include my spiritual paintings, but where the emphasis is just on portraits. It's my fourth blog! Here at Grander Joy of Spirit, I've taken a break from my first Mary in Kimberly panel until I can have a repair completed to a few areas of the gesso before I continue to apply the gold leaf, but next I will be working on final touches for one of my pastels, and will resume posting too on my progress with the portrait of Kimberly with roses.
My icon-writing in progress of Archangel Michael in the Russian Byzantine style offered at the Prosopon School of Iconology. Further illuminations will lighten the face and hands.
Since this blog is about spiritual and sacred art, I wanted to do at least one post about the sacred art of icon-writing. After painting the initial stages of only one icon, shown above, I am still strictly a beginner, and there is so much more to learn, but I was fortunate to spend my Saturdays for about a year's time at the New York Studio of the Prosopon School of Iconology. When my art sales improve, I also hope to resume icon-writing lessons.
I initially learned about the presence of Russian master icon painter Vladislav Andrejev in the U.S. through artist friends Suzanne Scherer and Pavel Ouporov. Later when I heard he had formed the Prosopon School, which included a New York Studio, I was thrilled to start lessons with one of Vladislav's sons, Dmitri Andrejev, and later with Tatiana Berestova. My reaction when I entered the icon studio for the very first time and saw all of the icons in progress lining the room, was to cry, because it is such a very wonderful and moving sight.
Icon-writing is done with egg tempera and gold leaf on gessoed icon panels which usually have a niched border and vary in shape. Partly because it is considered to be a spiritual practice, it is probably true that as many as 50% of icon-writers have no previous artistic training or background, even though artists also enjoy the craft aspects of this art form. Icons stand apart from other forms of spiritual art because they are created to serve as an interface or portal window between the spiritual and physical realms, and it is for this reason that classes at Prosopon give equal emphasis and time to teaching the spiritual and symbolic meaning of each part of the physical process involved in this sacred art.
To learn more about icon-writing, and to see wonderful pictures of icons and sacred paintings, please visit Prosopon School of Iconology. There are also some wonderful icons from around the world currently posting in the Facebook group Egg Tempera Painters
(click on the art in progress to view it larger; as previously explained, the red clay bole background will later be covered with gold leaf and bordered with the mother of pearl, a sample of which is included at the lower right)
At this time I am working on the veil, hands, and lower portions of the portrait. This post shows further work in egg tempera, on and around the hands.
I will need to hear from five or more definite participants by June 10th in order to hold the opportunity of the private summer workshop in egg tempera in position for early August. To help you decide if you are considering attending, here is some additional information:
The location in Brooklyn, NY is within driving distance from most neighboring major cities and approx. 30 minutes from mid-Manhattan via subway. PLEASE NOTE: the dates have moved slightly to Tuesday through Thursday, August 3, 4, and 5. The cost is $300 for two full days of instruction 10 AM to 6PM with a one-hour lunch break, and $400 for three full days, excluding accommodations which are running approx. $200 and up per night, BUT only if booked now at the Holiday Inn Express and and at similar locations very near the venue in Brooklyn. The workshop fee also covers a gesso panel to paint on, and a few basics (like eggs!), but not all of your art materials, so please plan to bring paints and brushes with you, and a reasonable supply list will be provided to guide you on what you will need.
For those who wish for it, and because I have included the optional of three days instruction: if it is the group's desire to spend part or all of the additional day out on a field trip, it is also my personal delight to take you to one or more possible locations: The Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium at Coney Island, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, or a New York City Cathedral tour including St Patrick's Cathedral. I hear that an exciting new version of the musical "Promises, Promises" is returning to Broadway this summer, and there are many exciting ways to spend your evenings in the Big Apple during your stay.
Your $100 check holds your spot in the workshop, but I will need to at least receive your email responses by June 10th (please email email@example.com). Inquiries also welcomed.
I'm writing an article today about my work in miniature for the next issue of the Miniature Art Society of Florida newsletter, but I also have an update on my first "Mary in Kimberly" panel that I hope to post afterwards, so please stay tuned for the update, coming soon.
materials used in painting with egg tempera include yolk of egg and powder pigments
For those of you interested in learning first-hand about painting with the medium of egg tempera, the dates set so far for my Egg Tempera Workshop this summer in Brooklyn, NY are Thursday - Friday, August 5 -6. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information as it develops!
If there is enough interest for June too, I'll consider setting up a second workshop.
egg tempera panel painting in progress, detail of a 20" x 15 3/4" rectangular birch gesso panel (click image to see it larger)
This post represents three days of preparation for the start of a new egg tempera panel painting (transferring my drawing and laying in portions of my underpainting.) The drawing is a bit hard to capture in a digital photo because it is composed with the light blue lines of transfer paper (see the drawing in my previous post for details), but I will be showing this painting too in it's ongoing stages of progress as I continue to complete the first panel painting.
Some of you who have followed my blog will recall that it is quite normal for the first several layers of egg tempera on panel to be raw in appearance, but if anyone has questions in general about egg tempera painting, I want to let you know that I am planning to try an in-person egg tempera workshop this summer if at least 10 people would like to attend. Dates, cost, and details to come when I know how many are interested, but it will take place in Brooklyn, NY.
If you'd like to participate in my workshop, please email me at: email@example.com, and please let me know also if you have a preference for doing it in June or in August.
Preparatory drawing for a painting of Kimberly with roses
While I'm finishing up the backgrounds and finishing touches on some of my other spiritual portraits, and continuing my work on the first 'Mary' in Kimberly portrait panel, I'm starting something new. Still debating what size I want this one to be, and I'm picturing it in egg tempera.
egg tempera portrait in progress, approximate size 17" x 15"
Although this is not an official part of my spiritual portrait series, another portrait I'm also currently working on is this one of a father with his first son. The subjects in this instance prefer to remain anonymous, and at this point, the initial layer of the grass is just blocked in, with more work to do on both the figures and background.
"White Madonna in Aix-en-Provence", 36" x 24", pastel on Wallis paper
I'm still awaiting restoration of some of my retouching and scanning software that is important to file size and color for posting, so please bear with me on my posts temporarily, but except for some final touches, I'm pleased to present my latest pastel! I'm also adding something special to one of the portraits you've seen in progress, and will be posting on that as soon as it's far enough along to show you.
My computer troubles were worse than I thought, and due to a hard drive crash, I am still getting things back into gear. Although I replaced the hard drive, got it home, and started reinstalling software, a new mystery sound is sending me back to the repair shop tomorrow.
I trust my persistence will pay off soon, but until I can post again, I'm hoping all is going well for you, and am wishing all of my readers a great beginning this year!
What this Blog is About: The Divine in Each Person
We are not equal to God’s Divine power, yet we carry it’s seed within each of us. Over time I am developing a series of spiritually-toned portraits of one person, then another, attempting to pin down that seed of the Divine within the individual as it expresses itself uniquely through each of us. If it is true that we are made in God’s image, is there is a way in which we don’t really perceive this in ourselves, or what it fully means about the measure of each person’s life? Yet if all of creation is a reflecting image of the Divine, it must be true that we are more special than we know. It is this missed part---the divine-yet-human part in each of us--- that I attempt to highlight with my series of each person, beginning with my first subject, The Divine in Kimberly.
If we could really see ourselves as God sees us, how would it change us? Would it help us grow closer in our relation to the Divine? Would it heal us? Would it expand and shift our understanding about who we really are? Religion and spirituality are in a sense flip sides of one coin which are only reflected in each of us by how our actual actions pan out in our lives. Kimberly wears a veil in salute to her reverence for the Divine Feminine in several guises--Mary, and living Indian avatar, Amritanandamayi Ma. She is not Mary or Amma, or a portrayal of them in costume, yet she carries them so dear in her heart that the beauty of this expresses out to all with whom she comes into contact.
Once my mother had a dream. In her dream she was trying to walk home, but she felt lost at first because all the houses were beautiful mansions that looked alike. Which one was hers? Each mansion had lit candles in every window. Then seeing these candles, a safe feeling came over her that although she thought she had been lost, every one of these mansions was actually her home.
It's many lives I believe that we live and it's many mansions, both in heaven and on earth, that we are given to explore, and as in my mother's dream, candles are lit in every window of every mansion, calling us home there too. On earth these mansions lie within each of us, each one a realm of its own within a person, an aspect of who we are. It is these mansions we need to explore in order to fully realize our true human potential.
In addition to my website: monadianeconner.com, I am pleased to present four painting blogs to the public --- my portrait blog, "Mona Conner Portraits," my spiritual paintings blog, "Grander Joy of Spirit," my miniature painting blog, "The Ruby Slippers," and "Windows of the Soul - Eye Portraits in Miniature."
Please note that "Windows of the Soul" will remain active in order to introduce the tradition of miniature eye portraits in modern terms; however, future eye portraits (along with other kinds of portraits) will also post on "Mona Conner Portraits."