Fall Iconography Workshop: Saint Moses the Black
In this Iconography Workshop, students will complete an icon in the traditional medium of egg tempera, gaining a foundation in the spirituality and artistic practices needed to continue in iconography, if desired. For students interested in a class with greater commitment, consider the year-long Iconography Apprenticeship, which can be taken alongside any 10-session Workshop such as this one.
Saint Moses the Black, also called Saint Moses the Ethiopian, was a famous 4th century desert father, known for his humility. Originally the leader of a robber gang and widely known for brutal acts, when Moses confronted an Abbot of a monastery shining with holiness, he converted to a life of faith and pursuit of spiritual strength.
Each lesson will start with prayer, followed by a brief discussion and a warm-up technique exercise. The bulk of the class will be spent painting the icon- sometimes called writing the icon to stress the kinship with theology. Students will learn 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 tradition, students will learn about the dynamic relationship between using historic models and understanding for themselves the aesthetic and theological principles of iconography. To this end, 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 almost all ages and abilities.
Here’s what parents have to say about the Iconography Workshops:
Both my daughters have not stopped tracing and painting icons… seems they have paintbrush in hand every time I turn around. Nothing like telling your girls that they have to stop working on iconography and start doing math first;) Mrs. Sider-Rose has opened us into a whole new world.
Matushka Amy, parent of a 10- and 13-year-old after the summer Camp and Workshop.
My daughter learned some great lessons in hard work paying off and delayed gratification. This was an excellent spiritual and educational challenge.
-Danielle, parent of an 11-year-old Workshop student
I think youth today, especially those who are very vulnerable owing to a certain artistic-sensitivity or visual-impressionistic way of seeing the world, can be very apt to connect with the powerful dark imagery that permeates so much of the visual arts, advertising and media today. Iconography, in this respect, feels to be the Good and the True of art-making: mind, soul, imagination, spirit, hands, eyes, hearing (medieval chants and monastic music, the nose (yes, even smell!) are all unified in the act of worship that is true iconography.
Scott, parent of a 12-year-old in the Workshops and Apprenticeship
If you are intrigued but unsure about the prospect of beginning
iconography before adulthood, please see the article by Mrs. Sider-Rose, “The Holy
Practice of Iconography: Why Start Young” (see page 8). Please see the instructor’s
website for more information about the traditional practices of iconography:
● All children younger than 7th grade (or 10–12 years old) must be accompanied by a parent or adult who will help the child set-up for class and attend every session with that child. Parents and adults who are partnered with a child aged 10–12 will not be charged for the course.
● If multiple students in one household are registered to take the class, they should be prepared to purchase supplies and materials sufficient for each registered student. (The pigments can be shared.) Note that each person should have his or her own computer so the teacher can watch and give feedback as the student works.
● Parents or other adults who wish to be a student themselves, including having a webcam pointed at their work and receiving feedback for their assignments, are invited to join the Adult workshop or Adult section of the Apprenticeship.
Student and Parent Expectations
● This class requires students to have an external webcam and to purchase various art materials. (Please see the Course Materials.)
● No prior artistic experience is expected or required, but fine motor skills and an ability to follow directions and keep their supplies and assignments organized are important.
● The Workshops are not graded and are more relaxed than the Apprenticeship, but a small amount of homework (30-45 minutes) will be required to continue the painting begun in class or other straight-forward assignments.
● Because we will need all 10 sessions for painting, a set of 3 short instructional videos will be sent in advance over e-mail that will guide you through pre-mixing some pigment colors, making homemade transfer paper, and making egg emulsion. This must be completed before the first day of class.
● Parents of school-aged students will be needed to help with the extensive preparation for the workshop including ordering supplies, gathering household
supplies, and helping with the afore-mentioned videos, especially mixing dry pigments.
● Before each live class session, students must set up their workspace with all their materials, including the ones from home (water jar, paper towels, etc.).
Please see the necessary course materials here.
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Randi Maria Sider-Rose began painting icons over 20 years ago when she was able to travel to learn from different iconography teachers across the country. Since then, she has married Michael Sider-Rose and completed an MDiv at the University of Chicago Divinity School. As well as taking commissions from churches and individuals, Mrs. Sider-Rose 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. Homeschooling her four children in an urban fixer-upper strewn with books, art projects, and Legos helps keep the whole operation real.
Mrs. Sider-Rose and her family attend Saint 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.
For more information about Mrs. Sider-Rose’s process, please visit her website at www.immanuelicons.org.
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they 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.
High-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 an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: 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.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: 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.
To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
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This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.