Russian Icon Painter To Teach at Art & Soul

Contributing Writer

ICON PAINTER: Elena Voznesenskaya-Pound, a Russian icon painter, will teach this unique and ancient art at the Art and Soul Gallery on Cherry Street with classes beginning July 25.

The owners of the Art & Soul Studio Gallery, Sue Treece and Rhonda Jackson, invited Elena Voznesenskaya-Pound, a Russian icon painter, to teach this unique and ancient art at their gallery on Cherry Street. The classes will begin July 25. “It is a good fit to our studio, because we are a showcase of local artists and a fine art school, and are looking for spiritual material,” Treece says.

The icon painter Voznesenskaya-Pound lives in Anadarko, Oklahoma. She moved to the United States two years ago, and before that she painted and restored icons in Russia for 15 years. “I was born in the city of Tver in Russia and graduated from the university with a degree in history,” Elena says “There was a good icon painting school in Tver in the 14th-16th centuries, and revival of the school began during the time of Gorbachov’s Perestroika. Tver museums saved many icons in their depositories, and they needed restoration. But there were no good textbooks on how to do it. My friends and I gathered information about icon painting and restoration on fragments here and there.” Then Voznesenskaya-Pound graduated from the schools of Tver and Moscow Icons. She studied Yaroslavl, Moscow, Palekh and other styles of icon painting.

Elena worked as an icon restorator in Moscow for many years. She restored many icons of private collectors and icons exhibited in the famous Russian art museums such as Tretyakovskay Gallery and Pushkin’s Museum.

Why did a historian become an icon painter? Elena thinks that icons and Christianity are parts of Russian and world history. “It was also a will of God to make me an icon painter. When I paint an icon, I have a feeling that somebody invisible, God, leads my hand,” she adds. Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians consider icons sacred and miraculous. The Christian Orthodox church was created by the apostles of Jesus in the region of the eastern Mediterranean and spread throughout Eastern Europe, and icons began to appear during the early Christian period. Although painters of icons usually remained anonymous, two exceptions, Andréa Rubly and Theophanes the Greek, active in the late 14th and early 15th centuries in Russia, are known. ”Icon-painting is beautiful, but hard work,” Voznesenskaya-Pound continues “Sometimes I had to work 10-15 hours per day, because I had so many orders in Moscow.”

Icon painting is something that can change somebody’s conception of art. It is not modern and familiar painting with oil or acrylic. The materials for icon painting include certain sorts of wood such as lime wood, and powdered minerals, real gold and silver. For preparation of paints, color pigments should be mixed with a real egg.

During July classes, Voznesenskaya-Pound will teach how to use the materials, gilding and drawing images with all details. Students will paint images of the Virgin or Nicolas the Miracle Worker, who is considered one of the Orthodox saints. Elena wants her every student to create his or her own icon during the classes and take it home.

The icon-painting class is one of many projects of the Art & Soul Studio Gallery. The owners Treece and Jackson are remarkable artists themselves and offer many different classes. Treece paints in several styles such as Renaissance, Iconographic, abstract, and realistic, using oil, acrylic, watercolors and tempera. She also enjoys figure painting and works with glass and ceramics. Jackson creates with clay, making forms, which normally are not done. They typically are more sculptural; her approach to ceramics is from a fine arts perspectives rather than the level of crafts. “There are a lot of natural, spiritual ideas in my art,” she says.

Both Treece and Jackson graduated from the University of Tulsa with Masters of Fine Arts degrees. In addition to the gallery, they operate a fully equipped artist studio with potters’ wheels, kilns for glass and ceramics, and large open studio space for painting and drawing. To contact them, call 747-2787. The address is 2722 E. 15th ST.

Updated 06-30-2005

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