how was your day?


    My friend Patty sent me a link to an article in the Boston Globe which began:

    “Last year around this time, a Cardiff University psychologist named Dr. Cliff Arnall scored some publicity with his declaration that January 24 is the most depressing day of the year.”

    Alex Beam’s wonderful column went on to describe the mathematical formula this guy had configured to deduce today was going to be The Suckiest Day of the Year. Beam had an alternate formula designed to bring a different result: read the Globe, ditch work, watch rerun of the Daily Show and the last half of the Law & Order rerun, take a nap and eat at Anna’s Taqueria.

    Our local NPR station annouced this morning the Globe was taking a chain saw to their staff and gutting the paper to try and save money. I hope Alex springs for the grande burrito.

    Today was a good day for me because I got to go back to my iconography class after a long break of six months. My teacher, Christopher Gosey, lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, so I had a bit of a drive. We met in the basement of the Russian Orthodox church. I am trying to finish an icon of St. Nicholas for a friend. Chris was playing a CD of an Orthodox liturgy as he guided me through the process of laying down the layers of paint that will make up the shading on the face. This particular step always freaks me out a bit because the first couple of applications make the face look a lot like Tammy Faye Bakker. Yet, somehow, with each application of the colors, a face begins to emerge and the icon takes on personality.

    I drove back for staff meeting and then met Ginger at the home of some folks in her church where the deacons were meeting for a fellowship dinner. Once again, church folks around a table together; I knew it would be good. Jim and Nancy, our hosts, served Spaghetti Pie — good comfort food. And a good time was had by all.

    Law & Order:SVU just came on and The Daily Show will follow, but the formula for my day was head north, write icons, take a quick nap with the schnauzers, and have dinner with friends.

    January 24 turned out pretty well.



    1. Oh, my goodness, another iconographer! Here’s the one I finished in August: .

      I’m currently working on an icon of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. we have a Russian teacher who is an icon writer and restorer, and a small group of us meet every Saturday at noon. A good class is one where Irena only cries out “no, no, stop, what you doing?” once.

      It’s as much a spiritual discipline as an artistic one. The layers of the face, going from dark, airly matte colors to lighter more translucent ones, is real quite amazing, although I love the folds of cloth as well. Like devout Jews davenning in prayer, we tend to sigh a lot. Do you guys have the prayer of St Luke? We say each before each class.

      The Walters Museum in Baltimore (about 35 miles from where I live) is having an extraordinary exhibit of art from Novgorod – mostly icons, maybe 150 of them, and you can get really close to them to see the details. They have one that’s scenes from the life of St. Baarlem, a holy monk from the mid-1500s, that’s like Where’s Waldo. You look at the icon, which is about 8×11, with a magnifying glass, and see where St. Baarlem, in black monastic clothes, is next. He’s walking over the footbridge, he’s in the village, he’s by the basilica…

      Making icons is an amazing thing. Rowan Williams has a very complex and beautiful poem on the Rublev Trinity, named “Rublev” which I would commend to you.

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