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Techniques of Traditional Icon Painting
Gilles Weissmann

Search Press
6 August 2012/ ISBN 9781844487943
How-To Books/Painting
Amazon || AMAZON UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

This book differs from all the other art books I have reviewed in two respects. Firstly, this is not secular but sacred art and secondly, the materials are in the main totally different. Forget your oils or watercolors, these are real art materials that have been used for this type of work for centuries. This is not a book for the total beginning painter either, as some artistic talent and knowledge is taken as given., Working through the steps it is not too hard to produce something that looks like the finished image.

Maybe I would also add a third difference, that this is not art as free expression of the painter’s own personality but the depiction of Christian imagery. The book opens with some icons from the classic era and the story of how they came to be. This includes a brief summary of the symbolism of icons, and then it is on to the practical part of the book. Learn how to make the actual wood and fabric base for the painting (see, I told you this was a different sort of art book) and what you need to obtain for the whole process. Be warned that some of the items are highly toxic, and much care is needed in using them. Find out what part an egg plays in drawing with a paintbrush, and work through a good example of an icon--gilding and all--in usual Search Press style through staged photographs. There are other icons to paint too, with a simplified system of how they are painted in stages that reminded me of the How To Draw series, and finally a gallery of work to admire and be inspired by. This is a truly unique and lovely book that ought to result in a flowering of many icons.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in Sewing World, Sew Hip, Popular Crafts and other magazines. Her craft blog is Green Thoughts
Reviewed 2012