Sunday, June 20, 2010

Continuing the Icon: Roshkrish (base color)

In icon painting, paint is laid down from dark to light, from coarse grain to fine. Here is the base color, roshkrish, over the entire icon. The flesh is painted with a mixture called sankir which is a greenish brown. Mary's garments are robes in vermillion and carmine and sleeve/head covering in indigo and indian yellow, and Jesus's robes are minium.

The lines of the drawing were painted with black before the colors were painted and you can see that they still show through. This layer, like pretty much every layer of paint in this technique, is painted transparently. In fact, my colors are almost too opaque. Better to paint too transparently and have to repeat the layer than to paint a single thick layer. In the end this will result in colors that are deeper and more nuanced than solid layers of color.


Rachel said...

Thank you for showing us this. I have always wondered about the techniques of icon painting, and now I am learning about them!

Constance said...

looking good!!

May i ask what brand of paints you use both for the colour and the gold work??

sorry if you have answered this in a previous post.

I have been meaning to paint a medieval box/chest with a religious image for a while now...

Great job,

Kathy Storm said...


I use Natural Pigments ( powdered pigments for the colors. For the gold I have used a variety of brands of 23 or 24 karat loose gold leaf, mostly double gold, Italian or German. My most recent purchase came from a company called Easy Leaf.

I think a lot of the painted wood boxes had a gesso base under the paint. Natural Pigments sells something called "Easy Gesso" which is already premixed authentic ingredients that you just add water. I found it easy to use and worked well.