Iconography Apprenticeship Level 1

Term: Yearlong 2020–21
Target Grade Level: 7+, including adults
Schedule: 1x / week, 90 min.
Price: $400.00

Course Sections
Section 1: W 2:15 p.m. ET with Randi Sider-Rose (Section Full)
Section 2: Adults Only | Tues. 4:15 p.m. ET with Randi Sider-Rose

Ongoing Enrollment

While our courses are no longer available for purchase on the website, St. Raphael School is open to inquiries about enrolling in courses at any time during the year.  If you wish to enroll in a Yearlong course for the 2020-2021 school year after the official add/drop deadline (September 21), you will need to contact us directly.  We will consider each request on a case-by-case basis after considering several factors, including size of the class, the preparedness of the student, the willingness of the instructor to accommodate a late addition to the class, and the content of the course.  If you would like to submit a request for enrollment in an ongoing course, please visit our Contact Us page.

Iconography Apprenticeship Level I (Iconography I) is the first level (year) of the 6-level Apprenticeship Program. The Introduction to Iconography classes are not prerequisites, but can be taken in advance of or alongside the Apprenticeship Program. The Level I focus will be on faces, and students will paint one icon per semester, the Holy Face and St. Nina Equal-to-the-Apostles.

As with the Introduction classes, the Apprenticeship Program approaches icons as a “prayer of the hands” and uses the traditional medium of egg tempera, adding gold leaf and, after the first year, hand-gessoed traditional boards. Students in Iconography I will work toward the demonstrable goals of drawing faces in the byzantine style (including sacred geometry), highlighting a face from memory, and being able to name the steps of painting and paint application.

The iconography classes at Saint Raphael are intentionally inter-generational, meaning school-age students and adults are together in class. Iconography lends itself well to a multi-age homeschool class for several reasons. First, because iconography employs such specialized techniques, everyone has to start at the beginning. Second, given the right subject matter, homeschoolers are often uniquely skilled at functioning in multi-age groups. And finally, the adults who sign up for the course recognize the importance of handing on the ancient tradition to the next generation.

Syllabus: View the course syllabus here.

Student Expectations:

  • No artistic training is expected or required. Students should be able to draw a face in any style representationally e.g. with details such as eyelids, eyebrows, etc. It does not necessarily have to be “realistic” or “iconographic,” just representational (not abstract). If you have any questions about you or your student’s readiness, please e-mail a drawing sample to the instructor.
  • In addition to weekly classes, students should expect about 30–60 minutes of homework between classes. This homework may include a continuation of the painting begun in class or a small amount of reading, as well as the discipline of weekly sketchbook assignments.
  • Students will need to purchase a second webcam and various art supplies (see Course Materials). The Apprenticeship Program will require a few additional supplies over the Intro courses, including gold leaf.
  • Each student will complete a larger written or artistic project in the Spring.

Enrollment Restrictions:

  • Iconography I is open to committed students in 7th grade and over, including adults.
  • Students do not in any way have to be trained in art, but should be able to draw a face with eyelids, eyebrows, nostrils, etc. If you have questions about whether your student is ready, please e-mail the instructor a drawing sample.

Iconography Apprenticeship Scope and Sequence

The student who is able to meet the measurable goals of Iconography I can look forward to a sequence of classes in the Apprenticeship Program, each of which will build on the foundation of the year before. In brief, the levels are:

Iconography I: Faces

Iconography II: Faces, Turned

Iconography III: Busts

Iconography IV: 3/4-Turn Busts

Iconography V: Saints

Iconography VI: Festal Icons

If you are intrigued but unsure about the prospect of beginning iconography before adulthood, please see Mrs. Sider-Rose’s article, “The Holy Practice of Iconography: Why Start Young” (scroll to page 8).

For more information about Mrs. Sider-Rose’s studio and approach to iconography, please visit her website:  www.immanuelicons.org

Those who register for Iconography Apprenticeship Level 1 on or after May 26, 2020 (regardless of the section), please follow the below instructions for materials. The total on supplies will be about $190, not including the external webcam and the required text. (This is the same cost as before May 26, but in this new arrangement students will be ordering more of the course materials on their own.)

Required Materials*

  1. Supply Kit from the Instructor: The Apprenticeship Supply Kit is $81 for new students. (Returning students who have taken the Introduction to Iconography course should be in touch with the teacher about what they need.) The Apprenticeship Supply Kit includes items that are difficult to obtain from usual art sources: pigments, a dropper bottle, gold leaf, and size. (See below for more information about each item.) To purchase your Apprenticeship Supply Kit, contact the instructor at rsiderrose.raphaelschool@gmail.com to arrange for payment and to supply your shipping address.
  2. Second Webcam (usually $8-$20): In addition to the Supply Kit purchased from the instructor, students must purchase a second webcam to point at their workspace so the instructor can observe them as they work. The webcam built into the computer functions as the first webcam. You may want to purchase a flexible camera holder like this one to be able to adjust the angle of your second webcam to point down at your workspace. External webcams have been more difficult to obtain since the outbreak of Covid-19 and transition to remote working and learning for thousands of people, but here is one option.
  3. Drafting Kit: Here is the recommended drafting kit from Amazon.com. You may also purchase the individual items: triangle, compass, spacer, and ruler, from other sources and in larger sizes, if you choose.
  4. Required Course Texts (From a Publishing Company in Russia):
    • Divine Images pdf printed out and put in binder. If you don’t have a color printer (or don’t want to use up the ink), upload the pdf to https://www.printme1.com/order and order through page 289 (or the whole book, if you prefer) in color. It will cost about $55, but that is still less than an art book of this quality.
    • Tracing Icons (this must be shipped from Russia)
  5. Required Art Supplies from dickblick.com
    1. #1 tapered round, Isabey red sable series 668
    2. ½-inch flat for gilding: ½” flat
    3. #4 Princeton round
    4. #6 Princeton round
    5. #2 Princeton liner
    6. Claybord (used only in the first year; Students will learn to gesso traditional boards between the first and second year).
      • Two 6X6 boards for the Holy Face and St. Nicholas (be sure to buy two!)
      • One 9X12 board for St. Nina
    7. Tracing paper
    8. Sketchpad
    9. Plastic palette: 10-well plastic w/cover. Feel free to purchase a porcelain palette if you prefer something nicer, but this is the budget option
    10. White, black, and red colored pencils

More Information on the Supply Kit. Included in the $81 Supply Kit ordered from the instructor are the following items:

  • Pigments for egg tempera are made from dried rock, in most cases, that has been ground to a powder. You will get enough pigments for 3 or more icons, depending on how you mix them up.
  • Dropper for egg. Yes, egg tempera requires egg! Each student will supply his or her own egg. (One is usually sufficient for each course.)
  • Apprenticeship students will gild the haloes the first year, moving on to gold backgrounds and detail work in subsequent years. The supply kit from the teacher includes 8 leaves of gold and a very small container of size (glue).

*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.

Randi Maria Sider-Rose began painting icons over 20 years ago, when she received a grant to travel to learn from different teachers and studios. Since then, she has married Michael Sider-Rose, completed an MDiv, and begun homeschooling her 4 children. Though she spends most of her studio time on commissions for churches and individuals, Mrs. Sider-Rose also has a real passion for teaching iconography to all ages and loves to walk with students on the journey of learning to see better and more intentionally, using this “prayer of the hands” to grow in holiness, with God’s grace. Mrs. Sider-Rose and her family attend St. Moses the Black Orthodox Mission Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she has been blessed by His Grace Bishop Thomas to serve in the ministry of iconography. E-mail: rsiderrose.raphaelschool@gmail.com

For more information about Mrs. Sider-Rose’s process, please visit her website at www.immanuelicons.org.



Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be a much better solution, as such devices enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkTwo Webcams: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer for your first webcam. The second webcam must be able to be pointed downward at your painting work surface so the teacher can observe your work.

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:


  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. Students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

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