Saturday, June 15, 2013


Welcome to Eleni's ALPHA and OMEGA Icon Blog

In all of life - at the beginning, in the middle and at the end,
we need blessing and instruction. It is the same with iconography.

This is the blog for class questions and answers about egg tempera, acrylic and everything with iconography.


  1. I just want to get the tarnish off the St. Michael halo as it was never varnished. The repair i did at class has bright fresh gold leaf and the old gold is yellowish beside it. I have not used anything yet on the halo. Was thinking about denatured alcohol to clean it, but I don't know. Maybe I should just redo all the gold on the halo instead and then it will all match.

  2. That last sentence has me a bit worried... I was over at my friend Dianne's today - she and I do workshops together down here and I brought Elizabeth Rose's icon over there to put our heads together about how to repair it. We talked a bit about the perils of redoing areas of an icon - trying to "fix it." Anyway, we learned a few things:

    I used mineral spirits and it helped to bring up the "fuzzy" areas in the gold from the spray varnish we used. I put it on the gold with a q-tip, waited a bit, and then it came up easily....didn't harm the gold and also brightened it. You might want to try that rather than the alcohol before you do any gilding.
    Dianne had an icon ready to varnish and we used the same varnish I found at Home Depot that I thought we should try (the one I e-mailed to you). It has a 4-hour dry time. Dianne put it on by hand (2 tablespoons poured over the center), she rubbed it over the icon and around the sides. She found it was very thick and so we thought it might be better to add mineral spirits to it (ratio 1 part mineral spirits to 9 parts varnish). Once I finish repairing Elizabeth Rose's icon, I'll try that ratio and let you all know how it turned out.

  3. the guardian angel icon I have started (that I am copying) in acrylic looks like it has has 2 shades of gold on it. i wonder how they did that.
    it has that terrific embellishment inside the halo that is a different color gold than the halo itsef, but all is gold leaf, it looks like. got any ideas?

  4. There are several ways that you can get the different colors of gold - one is burnishing (rubbing) the gold. BUT! I have only seen this done with clay bole under the gold and it's a different process of gluing the gold down.
    Another way is punching in a design into the areas that will be gilded in the halo (like we did for the lines and lettering in Christ's halo) - then gild over it... then gently go over the areas that were punched in... maybe even rubbing gently in some areas and leaving other areas alone.
    And then you could reapply another layer of gold in some areas - leaving one area with two layers, another with just one. (after etching in a design either below or on top of the gold.)

    I have been learning some new techniques about gold application and told Dianne today, that we should write all these down and perhaps incorporate it into future classes ~ not a beginner's class but for people that have painted several icons.