I have recently finished a course in Kansas City, Kansas and in some ways it was an experiment. I was teaching not icons, but the style of the gothic manuscripts such as the Westminster Psalter. These images are commonly attributed to Matthew Paris and the school of St Albans in the 13th century. This is the first time I have taught this style to mature students (that is those who are not undergraduates at Thomas More College). The experience proved very positive. Many of the students who came had experience of Byzantine icon painting classes and some were even teaching others. Even though these people were familiar with the Eastern styles of icons, they took to the Western form very quickly and enjoyed learning it. I cannot prove it, but my feeling is that this is because we were all of the Roman Church and these belong to our tradition. As we are doing illuminated manuscripts we painted in egg tempera on high quality paper. One brought velum. It was encouraging that there seems to be a demand for this style – we could have filled the class twice over and have already booked to do two classes next summer in Kansas, at the Savior Pastoral Center which is run by the diocese of Kansas City, Kansas.
In a posting that will follow in the next week, I will show you the work of the students. First I present here the painting I did during the class as the demonstration piece, along with a photo of the original..