Monday, November 22, 2010

RUSSIAN ICONS AND LYNNE PERRELLA

All artwork in this post is created by Lynne Perrella. See website here.
Today I am honored to hand over my blog to Lynne Perrella to report on her visit to the Museum of Russian Icons in Massachusetts. To make it even more exciting Lynne is offering a generous prize for a lucky draw at the end of this post.


Without further ado it's over to Lynne.....

Our visit to the Museum of Russian Icons Massachusetts had been planned and anticipated for quite some time. Our group of ten mixed-media artists arrived for a docent tour, with plenty of time left over to wander the extensive galleries and explore the singular Collections. An earlier visit to the Museum had convinced me that this was truly an art Destination, and I looked forward to sharing the experience with some of my favorite artists, as well as an entire weekend of art-making at a nearby Inn. We had the great fortune to be guided by Laura, a young woman who is not only passionate about the artwork, but deeply knowledgeable about its history, significance and provenance. Through the words, and her patient responses to our questions, we learned about this amazing artform, the visible expression of the Russian Orthodox faith.



Whether large compelling tempera-painted depictions of the Mother of God, or the smallest jewel-encrusted pocket icon with tiny shuttered doors, to the oldest icon in the collection, an image of John the Baptist made in 1450 .... The direct, powerful soulfulness of the work prevailed, only made richer by hearing about the traditions, rituals, significance and the methods used to create each icon. Icon painters are referred to as "writers" and their secrets have been passed down from Medieval times and contemporary artists still pursue this venerated artform. So-called liturgical "calendar icons", called Minyeias, depict row-upon-row of exquisitely-detailed miniature Saints wearing their signature robes and vestments .... reportedly painted with a single-horsehair brush, as the artist diligently applied his paints "between heart beats". Under closer examination, each tiny portrait was fully developed lavishly embellished and descriptive. And although all Orthodox homes have an aptly-named "beautiful corner" with flowers, colorful cloth or shawls, and their venerated household icon; the icon tradition was also expanded to murals, panels and lavishly-painted columns, literally filling and adorning the interiors of vaulted grand cathedrals. As we walked the galleries, we encountered a procession of ancient portraits conveying fortitude, sorrow, yearning, joy, and great tenderness. One significant portrait of the Mother of God had gone through a high-tech restoration process, and it was discovered that at least three other paintings lurked beneath the surface. other icons remain in their wonderfully-imperfect state, oftentimes bowed out and irregular in shape and contour, bearing the traditional metal-crafted "cases", or faux metal cases that were imaginatively crafted with metal and glass beads. Each work provoked feelings of mystery, veneration, and awe in each of us.



Difficult to find words to acknowledge such stunning and beautifully-presented work, we were content to just walk silently through the galleries, standing side-by-side peering up into the faces of Saint George, Elijah The Prophet, Saint Paraskeva and Saint Nicholas. Considering how each image had brought incalculable solace and comfort to so many long-ago people, the intimacy of the artwork was, at times, almost overwhelming. Like the best examples of folk art and even obsessive Outsider works, each portrait possessed complexity beyond words, and yet a direct compelling gaze that seemed to say ... "I will always be here for you." The kindred experience of the exhibit provided strong connections for all of us as we spent the rest of the long weekend in a shared studio, exploring paper, copper, stitching, sketching, gluing, and painting, to name only a few of the ideas we explored. Most of all, we thought what a rare treat it was to pull away from our usual routine, and make time for art. You just might say ... The Icons made us do it!



If the idea of an art respite appeals to you, perhaps you will join me for my upcoming mixed media workshop in Taos New Mexico on February 6 - 11. The event, titled "Icons & Excess" will be an opportunity to explore this bottomless, nurturing and kindred theme. Discover lots of low-tech ideas that will enrich your usual work in painting, collage, journals and more; and learn all my favorite techniques for getting a lavish surface full of depth and patterning. Held at the San Geronimo Lodge in Taos, New mexico; the ultimate historic adobe-style southwestern Inn. Please contact me for more details.

LKPerrella@AOL.com

http://www.lkperrella.com/


Leave a comment here if you would like a chance to win the following prize in a lucky draw to be announced a week from today:

*A History of Icon Painting (a complete compendium of information about icons, replete with lots of amazing visuals).
.
*A Very limited-edition grouping of icon-themed rubber stamps designed by Lynne. (fewer than 50 of these have ever been circulated)
.
*A handmade Icon-themed embellishment tag.

All artwork in this post created by Lynne Perrella, before the visit to The Russian Icon Museum. Most pieces are included in the book Masters: Collage.

And the winner is..... Steviewren 

74 comments:

  1. Yes yes yes!!! I'd love to win one....I'm a great fan of Lynne's work and pray I'll be lucky.... Thank you so much!!!

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  2. What a blessing this outing has been for you all. The work it inspired is marvelous. I would be delighted to win any of your give aways.

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  3. Thanks to you both for a great blog post!......the rubbers stamps sound very intriguing :-)

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  4. As one of the lucky participants in this, most amazing weekend, I would say that Lynne has perfectly captured this treasure of a museum. I would expect no less, of course, from a woman who creates such powerful imagery of her own and can take the written word to a new level.

    There were so many treasured moments, watching other artists go through their own creative journey in response to what we saw, sharing our work, ideas, techniques and most importantly, the new friendships with kindred spirits.

    Thank you Lynne!!!

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  5. What a wonderful adventure, great post, and amazing give away!

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  6. beautiful work. wow. i am so glad to learn of this museum. i love russian and other icons and i drive through clinton mass all the time when i go to Cape Cod.!!! thanks.

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  7. These images are wonderful and i like Lynne's idea of building an icon with collage. These remind me of Russian icons I experienced in an exhibit of Russian art and artifacts at Seattle Art Museum years ago. They were so powerful that the images are still with me years later. Now here they are again, made modern.

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  8. So beautiful-- rich and layered with color and meaning. Love all the work.

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  9. Lynne: You captured in words what I experience when I see these venerable icons and your version are as deep and compelling as the originals. Kudos! This museum is now on my must-see list.

    HElen
    hmacski@gmail.com

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  10. What a beautiful and informative post. Lynne's modern day icons are magnificent!

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  11. Fantastic! That museum truly is a destination - must go there sometime. Thanks for a great post Lynne and Robyn.

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  12. Beautiful work and a very informative blog. Thank you for posting this. And what better place to hold a workshop than magical Taos NM.

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  13. What an ideal trip that would have been, with a docent tour and art making to follow. Your post too is fascinating- like the painting between heartbeats and the intimacy of the art. Thank you for such a well crafted article.

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  14. Simply gorgeous work--lots of food for thought here!

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  15. These are absolutely exquisite!!! I love the impression you expressed upon viewing these gorgeous mixed media works: "I will always be here for you." Thank you so much for sharing this post and these incredibly beautiful works of art devoted to Divinity.

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  16. O please add me to your drawing! I love iconography! And Lynne, your work is always amazing. I love your books!
    Lotus
    lootsvele@yahoo.com

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  17. Very amazing,
    the story and the art.
    Robyn thanks for sharing this,
    so timeless and reverent.
    Happpy Thanksgiving to you,
    roxanne

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  18. Lynne has been one of my art icons for so long. Would love to win something that she has made! Beautiful work...will have to look for the book.

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  19. Wonderful pieces, such color. I fell in love with peeling gold, I think studying History of Art at school, many moons ago! I would love to win. Thanks for the museum link.

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  20. Wonderful post with fascinating works that delve into our perception of icons.

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  21. Thanks Lynne for writing this interesting report on your iconic trip. I adore your artwork and would love to come to the US and take a class, some day I hope I can do it. :-)

    Take care!

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  22. what a great post! Toni and I enjoyed our visit to the museum on our way to squam a couple of years ago and we are happy to hear that lynne liked it so well she took a group there! It is a little treasure in a delightful small town. we'd go again in a minute! robyn , thanks so much for persuading Lynne to do this post and lynne thanks again for all of your inspiration!

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  23. I'm lucky enough to be going to Taos in February for "Icons & Excess" and can't wait! What a treat to hear about this marvelous exhibition.
    Erin

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  24. beautiful works of art! intriguing history lesson.. this musueum is a must see for me! Lynn's upcoming workshop in Texas sounds like my kind of fun! Very generous giveaways too!

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  25. Oh wow, they look amazing, I'd love a chance to win. I wish I lived close enough to visit.

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  26. Beautiful, innovative work.

    Irene

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  27. Lynne, your wonderful writing was a great way to introduce me to the ArtPropelled blog! This blog will now become one of my regular visits along my art journey. I am always so grateful to all who share their thoughts and images so generously.
    Holly

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  28. Thank you for this wonderful post! I absolutely adore Lynne's work, and it was such a pleasure to read about the Museum of Russian icons. I recently purchased the book MASTERS: COLLAGE, and have spent long periods of time admiring her art there, too.

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  29. Wow! I love the art you made after seeing the exhibit! The exhibit sounds amazing too! What a wonderful way to inspire you to make art. Thank you for this generous giveaway.

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  30. Yes please, I absolutely would love to be included in the draw. I love Lynne's work and to own a piece would be wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity xo

    Carolyn
    LOVE STITCHING RED

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  31. Oh! Oh my!

    Yes, I would love to win!

    I love your blog and am excited each time you update. :)

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  32. I teach in Worcester, MA, not far from the Icon Museum. I must admit, however, I haven't made it YET! I lived in Greece for many years and saw incredible icons and frescoes painted in tiny mountain top chapels. I loved the rich bejeweled icons, tiny details. I even once met a monk from Mount Athos who was an icon painter.... he had stories to tell of living almost as if in the middle ages still.

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  33. I have been a fan of Lynne's art ever since I saw her work featured in Rubber Stamp Madness awhile ago. It would be such an opportunity to take her class in Taos, but I am a school teacher and can't getaway in February.
    ArtL8dY at e14studio

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  34. I have loved Lynne works for awhile.
    I would love to win..
    Thznk you for sharing.
    Katelen

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  35. Thank you Lynne for again shareing one of your exciting adventures. And, I always enjoy seeng your current work.

    Gypsy Pamela

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  36. Great guest post Lynne! I'm enamored with religious art, especially icons. This statement, "the artist diligently applied his paints "between heart beats," says so much about the devotion of those artists.

    Please put me down for the drawing. my fingers are already crossed.

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  37. Wonderful post Lynne. And your own icon work is so beautiful! I'm throwing my hat in the ring and keeping my fingers crossed.

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  38. I was not aware of this amazing museum here in the states. Mr. C and I were fortunate enough to visit Russia a few years ago. It was such an amazing trip to experience. Another world entirely.
    Please include me in this generous giveaway.
    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you...

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  39. What a wonderful workshop and in Taos, no less. The icons are beautiful. Gorgeous!

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  40. Laughing at myself, as I got so caught up in the wonderful art,then all the links,, the website, the museum,,,the workshops. I forgot to comment!
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter the fabulous drawing,,,,someone will be very lucky indeed!
    Thanks Ladies,,both of you!

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  41. Fabulous post complete with a great selection of collages. It amazes me how all these colours and bits of pattern can work so well together. Thanks for handing your blog over for a wee while! I look forward to YOUR next posting!
    A giveaway?? YES PLEASE!

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  42. Lynne's rich mosaic style has been a cornerstone of the art journalling movement as it exists today.
    It was the work of lynne, and the rest of the true colors team that I found my own art practice, and I see her very as my own icon...

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  43. L- there is always something quiet mysterious about icons - part covered and part revealed - a connection that seemes to exist between your work and the older works. I did connect with your line "content to walk silently through the galleries" - isn't that just how it is when we are in the presence of the inspirational. B
    R-thanks yet again for the introduction to a thoughtful and professional artist. B

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  44. Hi Lynne,
    What a wonderful post to read, thank you, I would love to be the proud recipient of one of your lovely prizes?, as I have long admired your work from afar ( I'm in Australia).....xx..julia

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  45. What a great adventure this must have been. Thanks to both Lynne and Robyn for sharing it!

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  46. Excellente
    Work
    Tank you for sharing

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  47. This is truely something special and what a wonderful prize on offer. Oh, how I wish I could go to Taos to learn more. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Cheers Joan

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  48. OOO i'd love to win! what wonderful work, even though I'm not Christian, its still gorgeous.

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  49. Cool work. Certainly a big leap from those other serious icons.

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  50. I would love to win a piece of Lynne's work. She is so creative and her work inspiring.

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  51. Me again...dont know what happened to my last comment! I was so excited I think I forgot to do the word veryification or something.

    Yes please...I'd love to go in the draw!

    Jacky xox

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  52. wonderful description of a visit to the amazing icons, and gorgeous art work to accompany it! thank you. Lynne, your work is inspiring and echoes of masterpieces past...

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  53. As another fortunate participant in this Icon Event, I'm happy to see Lynne hit the high points of this vivid experience. I know I was "between the heartbeats" myself in the museum and in the temporary studio for creative vagabonds! Thank you Lynne for organizing this art destination!

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  54. I have admired your Art for years & years, and it would be an honor to be included in your drawing. Thank You from my heart, T. Dawn Burnside

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  55. Your depiction of your journey is akin to being there with the group. Thank you for taking us along. Iconic art is so spell-binding and your renditions are especially appealing. Much appreciated. Tina

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  56. I enjoyed the tour, thank you. and your art work is amazing. The workshop in Taos sounds great.

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  57. I have long been fascinated by icons and would love to visit this museum. The next best--was reading your comments about it. I would love to win something--but I don't have a blog-etc. Can I still be in the running?

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  58. What a fabulous post Lynne! Your work is stunning! I'd love to be entered into the drawing! Thank you!

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  59. Lovely, all very inspiring! Thank you.

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  60. Beautiful!

    I was just scanning some of the icons in my collection of ephemera because I can't bear to part with them.

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  61. As usual your art work never fails to amaze me Lynne. Thanks for the opportunity to win this giveaway. My mother's family is Greek Orthodox and I "grew up" with icons in our home. Wishing you a happy holiday season. (From a fellow Pittsburgher living away from there like you!)

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  62. Robyn, Thanks for the excellent guest post by Lynne Perrella! I'd love to win, but I feel like I already have by seeing all this inspiring artwork here! Thanks so much for sharing :) My fingers are crossed
    xo

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  63. Beautiful work, Lynne. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences.
    Robyn, thank you for offering your readers so much inspiration!
    Love & Laughter,
    DJ

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  64. Your stuff is incredible! I am happy to be introduced to your work and feel inspired and close to these works with Russian heritage in my blood. Will this be a travelling show? I would love it to come to California.

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  65. Slowly making my way back to blogging and what a lovely first stop!

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  66. Beautiful, rich and evocative. How inspirational! Yes, please include me in the drawing.

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  67. Lynne is one of the most generous, knowledgeable, and empathetic teachers out there. If you've not taken a class with her -- run don't walk to the next possible opportunity.

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  68. It is obvious this icon exhibit had a strong emotional impact on you and your group of artists and on your work.. which of course shows in your wonderful pieces.

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  69. Wow! I had the opportunity to view an exhibition in NYC on Byzantine art in which were included icons. It was truly fantastic , I wasn't aware there was a museum of icons in MA. It must have been wonderful to spend time and be inspired by the various types of icons. maybe I'll get an opportunity to take a class with you who knows in the mean time please include me in the drawing.

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  70. Yes, yes! I love Lynne's work, and would be so excited to win!

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  71. Hi Robyn. It is lovely to be back to blogging and checking out everyone elses offerings. Yours never fails to inspire and amaze. I love the Lynne Perrella post. Her work is amazing. I am off to check out Olivia Parker with a cup of tea in hand shortly. One of my favourite posts is the African women carrying loads on their heads. Even the oldest and plumpest have a grace and beauty probably connected with the upright posture they must assume to carry the loads successfully. I wish we could do that in the UK.

    Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment on my recent loss. Very much appreciated.

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  72. A feeling of connection of some sort with icons. Beautiful and inspiring work. And yes, I'd be grateful to be included in your drawing.

    Thankyou!

    victoria
    :]

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  73. I am the head of art at a school in England and will soon be moving to one of the most prestigious schools in the country and every single thing here will be on my list of things to do with the kids - stunning inspirational work with true meaning unlike so much vacuus and shallow stuff we so often see. Awesome.

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