|Eleni (writing) with student|
ELENI SCHUMAKER lives in north Idaho and attends
church at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Spokane, Washington. In 1992 she took her first icon workshop using acrylic at Raft Island near Tacoma with Presvytera Sophronia Tomaras (of blessed memory.) She then took another 4 or 5 workshops with Vladislav Andreyev and studied with Vladimir Blagonadezhdin, both Russian master iconographers working in egg tempera technique.
She found that many non-orthodox are drawn to iconography. The images speak to them and are a calming influence in a busy world. Icons are not the usual “pictures on a wall.”
Eleni has a degree in education and taught art methods in the public schools for a few years in Washington State. She naturally began to teach and share what she learned in painting icons. She considers herself a struggling student and by no means a master iconographer. She continues to learn with every icon she writes.
Her workshops are conducted with prayer. Students learn about the history of iconography, reading an icon through symbolism and how icons connect with Orthodox Spirituality. She believes that icons can be viewed as visual prayer - anyone can pray; some pray better than others because of continued practice. In her workshops, students learn how to paint using egg tempera and how to apply gold leaf and final varnishing.