Writing  an  Icon - Technique


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Traditionally, icons are written (or painted) on a board covered with several layers of fine gesso.  First,  23ct. gold leaf is applied to the board for the halos and other areas as desired.  An emulsion of eggyolk mixed with vinegar and water is used with powdered natural pigments to create a liquid paint.   The consistency of the paint and method of application varies somewhat among iconographers, but the basic process is the same.  The darkest colors are applied first and allowed to dry.  Subsequent layers are lighter in color and cover smaller, specific areas of the composition.  This layering of ever lighter color brings out the form of the subjects.  Small white lines called 'enliveners' are the final addition.

To learn iconography, start by participating in workshops and studying  with an experienced iconographer.   You will find several sources for workshops on the web as well as many websites explaining the technique. Even YouTube had videos for icon painting.
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