In January 08' I was interviewed by Christine Valters Paintner for her blog, Abbey of the Arts. Here is the interview:

“For the invisible things of God since the creation of the world are made visible through images.”

-John of Damascus, On Holy Images

What is your primary medium?

When I write icons I work in acrylics. My other work is mixed media and acrylics.

Are you rooted in a particular faith tradition?

Oriental Orthodoxy.

How do you experience the connection between spirituality and creativity?

When I paint an icon, I work as a scribe, which is to say I follow the canons and traditions of Orthodoxy, not my own muse. In Orthodox theology and tradition, icons are the Gospels ‘written’ in paint. Unlike the way an artist works, the iconographer doesn’t approach an icon with the attitude of “today I feel like painting the outer robe of the Theotokos* (The Blessed Mother, literally ‘God-Bearer’) hyacinth purple…maybe I’ll give her a nice smile, or paint her on a piano lid.”

If you don’t get out of the way, you end with a holy image, not a real icon with sacramental presence. In traditional Byzantine iconography, there is little room for personal expression, which is not a bad thing – it’s a different type of energy that works through prayer and fasting. You get out of the way to serve the Mysteries.

When I work on my own artwork it’s another story, I am playing! The last 2 years I’ve been experimenting with a palette minus the earthtones of the icons; thalos, magentas and every quid color I could find. I worked in paint, pencil and pastels on recycled surfaces and experimented with encaustic. I’m fascinated with texture under glazes. Most of the art I created in that time has not been shown yet.

What sparked your spiritual journey?

As a young teenager living in southern Spain, I experienced a vivid, beautiful vision that revealed Jesus as the Incarnate Son of God, the invisible made visible. The gift of that vision has been the light of my journey.

What role does your spiritual practice have in your art making?

In my church, sacraments are actions that are an expression of the Word made Flesh–the unseen made seen. Nowhere on this earth is this more densely expressed than in the Orthodox Eucharistic liturgies. Layers of gold, scripture, singing, icons, clouds and smells of incense creates a place where the Kingdom of Heaven and the place of earth meet. You can really believe this is happening–it’s not a theological idea, it’s real. Every week this experience informs my art, my life.

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