Icon Classes & Workshops

Iconography Lessons/Weekly Classes and Workshops


St Luke writing icon - Icon by Marek Czarnecki SIX DAYS OF CREATION courses in icon painting provide intensive instruction in the art and language of the icon from the perspective of Orthodox Church tradition using the ancient technique of egg-tempera and palette of gold, semi-precious stones and refined clays. Iconographers Anna Gouriev and Marek Czarnecki lead students through the entire process, from preparing a gesso board to completion of an icon, including instruction on how to create pigments from natural clays and minerals, define the image with assiste gold lights, gild prescribed areas, calligraph inscriptions, and apply olifa varnishes.

Instruction includes:
Wood panel preparation
Adhearing linen to board with animal-hide glue
Making marble & chalk base artistís gesso
Selecting a prototype and making a drawing
Transferring drawing to the board
Egg-tempera medium preparation
Grinding natural pigments to make paint
Applying basecoat color (roskrish)
Lighting the figure
Applying highlight finishes
Calligraphic inscriptions
Applying assiste and gold leaf
Varnishing of the icon

Courses are limited to 25 students at one time. All three painting teachers assist in classes of at least 15 persons.

2017 Schedule

MAY 7-12, 2017
St Nicholas Ranch, Metropolis of San Francisco
​Dunlap CA

JUNE 11-17, 2017
St.Thomas Seminary
Bloomfield, CT

JULY 16-22, 2017
St. Anthony of Padua Church
Hillsdale, MI

AUGUST 13-19, 2017
Holy Spirit Retreat Center
Anchorage, AK

​​​​​SEPTEMBER 10-16, 2017
Diakonia Retreat Center, Metropolis of Atlanta
Salem, SC

Classes General Curriculum

The student experiences the entire process, beginning with the preparation of the board to the varnishing of a finished icon. Working with a large, flat board, the initial study is on icons of faces. Emphasis is in learning the basic technique of egg tempera painting, using it to articulate the structure of forms – constructing them with smoothly painted passages of light, connected with the expressive, essential quality of the graphic line. Coupled with this artistic work is learning the theological underpinnings of the icon, incorporating with it the practices of silence and prayer.

After acquiring a familiarity with the basic technique, materials and visual language, the student continues with several more icons exploring the variety of facial types. In time, the course of study moves onto half-length figures, their draped garments and the movement of arms and hands. Next is the writing of full figures, then figures in a setting with architecture and landscape, and finally multi-figural feast day icons.

With a thorough experience of the traditional language of iconography, students continue their studies with the writing of new icons- recently recognized saints or subjects for which no prototype exists, yet firmly within the rubrics of the iconographic canon and traditional church teaching.



  • Preparing the wood panel
  • Making animal hide glue; gluing linen onto the board.
  • Making artistís gesso, with a marble and chalk base
  • Finding an appropriate prototype; creating your own drawing.
  • Transferring the drawing onto the board; preparing the panel for gilding.
  • Applying gold leaf with a slow drying oil-based size varnish.
  • Making the egg tempera painting medium from egg yolks.
  • Using natural pigments; grinding you own from natural sources; making paint.
  • First basecoat of color or roskrish.
  • Lighting the figure.
  • Subsequent layers of highlighting and finishing.
  • Painting with thin gold lines or assiste.
  • Calligraphic inscriptions.
  • Varnishing the icon.

Marek and students at a workshopSCHEDULE OF CLASSES / FEES

Typically, 10 classes are needed to complete the first icon, but this span of time varies from student to student; each student is encouraged to work at his or her own pace. Each class is 4 hours, although students may remain longer as needed. Teaching fee is $15 per hour or $60 per daily session; all materials (board, gesso, pigments, varnish) are included except for gold leaf, which is available at cost.

For information about iconography workshops taught nationally, visit Hexaemeron Workshops  for a schedule.