Growing an Icon, Part 1

by abbamoses

I started work on a new icon of St Seraphim of Sarov, and thought it might be helpful (to me if no one else) to record the stages of its growth.
In this photo, I’ve painted a “cartoon” of the icon on a panel in permanent ink. If all goes well, this image will gradually disappear beneath the layers of paint, but it fixes the general design.
The great iconographer Leonid Ouspensky used to sketch out the design of an icon very faintly with dilute pigment, right on the icon board, then slowly darken the pigment as his sketch got more defined, until he had a well-marked undersketch, usually in red pigment.
Next stage: laying in the base colors.