Introduction to Iconography (Spring)

Term: Spring 2020, January 23–April 2
Target Grade Level: 7+, including adults (see restrictions below for children 10–12 years old)
Schedule: 1x / week, 90 min.
Price: $200.00

Course Sections
Section 1: Th 7:30 p.m. ET with Randi Sider-Rose


In Introduction to Iconography, students will paint an icon in the traditional medium of egg tempera, as well as gain a foundation in the spirituality and artistic practices needed to continue in iconography, if desired. The focus will be on the frontal face in iconography, with a brief introduction to clothing and hands.

Students who take this course receive instruction in both the theology of iconography (sometimes called “icon-writing” to stress the kinship with theology) and the artistic practices intrinsic to traditional iconography. At the end of the summer class, students will have completed an icon of St. Sunniva, patron saint of Western Norway. We will start each lesson with prayer followed by a brief discussion and a warm-up technique exercise. The bulk of the class will be spent painting the icon, while in the process learning to “temper” the dry pigments with egg and apply the paint in each of the many stages of building up an iconographic face.

Since iconography is a living practice, students will learn about the dynamic relationship between using historic models and understanding for themselves the aesthetic principles. Therefore students must gain an understanding of composition, the iconographic “style” as it manifests in facial features, etc., and how to “draw on the right side of the brain.” All of these tasks will be broken down into small, structured steps and are manageable for people of all ages and abilities.

As well as serving as a stand-alone course, therefore, this course also functions as a grounding in basic practices that can be used by students who wish to continue in iconography.

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

Class Expectations:

No prior artistic experience is expected or required. This class requires students to have two webcams and to purchase various art materials. Please see the Course Materials tab for details. There will be an orientation session one week before class officially starts to make sure that everyone is prepared with the correct technology setup and art supplies.

In order to stay on schedule and for students to get the most out of the class, students will be assigned 30–60 minutes of “homework” after each class. The straightforward assignments will be either a repeat or completion of what we did in class or come from the worksheets developed by the teacher (in a free pdf download). No new painting will be done between sessions.

Most importantly, before each live class session students must set up their class space with all their materials, including the ones from home (water jar, paper towels, etc.).

Enrollment Restrictions:

  • All children younger than 7th grade (or 10–12 years old), must take the class with a parent or adult. Parents and adults who are partnered with a child aged 10–12 will not be charged for the course. The parent or adult assigned to children aged 10–12 should plan to attend every session with that child, and stay and assist the child for the duration of each session.
  • Any parent or adult who wishes to take the class independently from his/her own student is welcome to register, and will be required to pay for the course ($200) plus the cost of materials.
  • If multiple people in one household are registered to take the class, they should be prepared to purchase supplies and materials sufficient for each registered student. Note that each person should have his or her own computer so the teacher can watch and give feedback as the student works.

Course Overview Video:

Required Materials*

Supply Kit: $120 paid via PayPal to the teacher, less if you have some of the supplies already. Supply kit includes:

  • All dry pigments (paints) required for this icon. (If you took the Summer 2019 Introduction to Iconography course and bought the pigment extension kit, you don’t need any more pigments for this icon.)
  • Board
  • Brushes
  • Drafting materials (triangle, ruler, compass, spacer, drafting tape)
  • 3 colored pencils, 3 specialized papers (tinted, tracing, and carbon)
  • Palette
  • Dropper for egg

In addition, students will need to purchase a second webcam that must be able to be pointed down at their painting work surface so the teacher can observe as they work. Students may use an external webcam or one that is built in to their computer for their first webcam.

*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:

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



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
  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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