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This Archangel …

The story about Mary Magdalene is totally different in the books one from another. I don’t know, because I’ve never met her, for as far as I know.

Who can tell? Who cares? I’m just the painter and that gives me room to focus on colours and give her a lovely face. And the ability to put that lovely face on lovable products. What about to have her on your mug or on your notebook?

Maria Magdalena icoon door Jeannette van Uffelen in 2017
Maria Magdalena the original

This Maria Magdalena I made for my very dear friend Elia. One day we would go for a walk in the Troödos mountains.

But I fell of the stairs and broke an ankle. She took me in her home and took care of me so well. At Christmas 2017 I brought her this icon and knew she would love it. And then we went for a beautiful day in Troödos.

Elia in is very happy with her icon.
Limassol – Cyprus – Christmas 2017

All along the process. The example I used had deep wrinkles in her forhead. I chose to not paint it like that.

The icon Christ Pantocrator emphasizes Jesus’ omnipotence, his power to do anything. Jesus is the “Ruler of All” who sustains all things. The symbolism of Christ Pantocrator (explained below) borrows from Roman imperial imagery to project his sovereign power. Early Christians used cultural symbols to proclaim the sovereign power of the resurrected Christ.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS ICON

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Raphael is the healing archangel and so I chose to make an icon of him for my nephew who, I thought, could use some kind of healing.

I was happy to find this one, with a second angel in the shadows. Don’t know exactly who it is, but I loved it. And it is an interesting image all together. And also fit with the kind of protection I wanted to put in this icon.

READ THE STORY OF TOBIAS AND RAPHAEL

I made it on a thick piece of pressed wood. I made 5 of them and I love the size and how they can stand independently. But they are a bit more difficult to paint on.

Anastasi (Ανασταση) means Resurrection. And this is the biggest celebration in the Orthodox church. Bigger than the birth of the Christ (christmas) is the resurrection.

After the BIG WEEK of fasting and praying. After Ash Wednesday, White Thursday and Good Friday there is Big Saturday, celebrating the resurrection of everybody. Including Fireworks exploding from the church.

The light is given from the centre of a totally dark church to everyone holding a candle, in and outside. And people wish eachother: “Καλη ανασταση” meaning: a “Good Resurrection”.

So I found an example from Mexico, with a lot of angels many colors. I removed the angels and made Christ in white, like jumping out of the darkness. And I removed the skulls and bones you often see in this icon.

For the cherubims I used only white on dark blue and was surprising myself with all different expressions I got on the little faces. It was a joyful ride to make this icon.

Easter in Greece is synonymous not only to the numerous religious celebrations and festivities, but also to many other rituals and customs, traditional dishes and recipes, sweet treats, colourful flowers and aromas, crafts, music, dance and more.

As the greatest feast of Orthodoxy, Easter is celebrated in a unique way in every corner of Greece, with century-old local traditions being revived every year all across the country.

Even though this time again Easter will be different from what we were used to in the past, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there are still some Easter “habits” and traditions that families can safely enjoy at home and keep the Easter spirit alive.

READ MORE ABOUT EASTERN CELEBRATION IN GREECE

Saint Anna (also Ann or Anne, from Hebrew Hannahחַנָּה, meaning “favor” or “grace”) of David‘s house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian Tradition. St Anna is the Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah. Mary’s mother is not named in the canonical gospels.

Christian view: According to the Gospel of James, a document of the New Testament apocrypha, St Anna and her husband St Joachim, after years of childlessness, were visited by an angel who told them that they would conceive a child. St Anna promised to dedicate the child to God’s service. St Joachim and St Anna are believed to have given Mary to the service of the Second Temple when the girl was three years old.

The story bears a superficial similarity to that of the birth of Samuel, whose mother Hannah had also been childless. Although St Anna’s cult receives little attention in the Western church prior to the late 12th century, dedications to St Anna in the Eastern church occur as early as the 6th century. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, St Anna is ascribed the title Forbear of God, and both the Birth of Mary and the Dedication of Mary to the Temple are celebrated as two of the Twelve Great Feasts.

I made this one for my mother and she came with us to the blessing of the icons in the Byzantium service.

There was a tradition that St Anna went (separately) to Egypt and rejoined the Holy Family after their Flight to Egypt. St Anna is not seen with the adult Christ, so was regarded as having died during the youth of Jesus. St Anna is also shown as the matriarch of the Holy Kinship, the extended family of Jesus, a popular subject in late medieval Germany. In modern devotions, St Anna and her husband are invoked for protection for the unborn.

Patronage: St Anna is the patron saint of housewives, grandmothers, cabinet makers, unmarried women, women in labor and miners.

READ MORE ABOUT ANNA on the marypages

Saint Anna in my mothers living room
Saint Anna at the wall of my mothers living room
Voor mijn moeder heb ik de icoon van Anna gemaakt. Anna is de moeder van Maria. Op de icoon zie je Anna in een donkerblauw kleed, met in haar armen Maria, de moeder van Jezus, in het wit.
My first 3 icons Mother Mary (Eleousa) and Anna mother of Mary
Eleousa 3 - Mother of Tenderness - the third Eleousa-icon I painted and sold to a friend, who gave it to her son (now in the UK)

This Eleousa, the third one, took some years to finish.

I did not make it easy for myself, because I prepared an old bread cutting board, probably used in the kitchen for years, from the recycle shop. Real wood keeps always working, (changing form) so in the end, when I was busy painting it, I got some air under the cloth. And that makes the risk of breaking the painted layer.

But I loved her tender expression and also it had a real old feeling and look.

When I showed it to Marina, who I met in Greece in 2018, on my phone, she fell in love with the piece. It was just half way done, but it gave her a feeling. She’s from a Greek mother and an English father, so she is connected to icons and has her kitchen full of them.

Anyway, finally 4 years later, in a weird way we kept connected, she bought it for her son and I sent it to her in Bath, England.

Below you can see some pictures of the process of painting. I totally once removed her face and started all over. And finally Marina’s son Eugene, happy with his present.

Sometimes I need a good model with a strong iconic nose. And a friendly smile?

Meeting Marina and sharing a room for a week was the start of a long-term connection and she is an admirer of my work.

When I started to take lessons in icon painting I was eager to practice, so I bought a second shelf to paint on. I practiced at home at both paintings. Every week I went to my teacher and he tought me the next step. And I finished it fast, so not to be bored I worked on two pieces.

Here you can see how different two of the same icons can be.

To me many of the icons have a kind of sad and serious expression on their face, which can be beautiful, but not always necessary. So I wanted to make them softer and friendlier. And you can see the difference between my first and second Eleousa.

After a while I’ve given this icon to a dear friend.

And he, some years later, gave it to a Catholic priest from Croatia. The man had been working here in The Netherlands for some years and meant a lot to my friend.

So now this icon lives somewhere in Sarajevo.

Working on my second Eleousa in class. This picture was made by a dear classmate.
Working on the last details in class
Eleousa 2 mother of tenderness
Finished in 2013