Icons are sacred pictures, and they have been described as windows into heaven.
“Icons tell a religious story about some great mystery, and the person who gazes upon an icon is invited to enter into the story,” said Brother Mark Ligett of the St. Francis Retreat House in Easton.
That explains why one does not “paint” an icon, but rather, one “writes” an icon.
The Icon Writing Retreat is among the most popular programs each year at the center. It brings people together for a week of prayer and fellowship. Under the guidance of an experienced instructor, each participant leaves with their own icon.
It starts with layer after layer of hand-mixed paints, followed by gold leafing, and finally a protective clear coat. This year’s project was an icon of St. Joseph, appropriate in this Year of St. Joseph.
You don’t need to know how to paint to be successful, Brother Mark said. “Every year, some people arrive with some trepidation, because they say they cannot paint,” he said. “I always assure them that they will leave at the end of the week with the most amazing piece of art.”