On Retreat

I’ve just had a week’s retreat in North Wales, painting an Icon of St Bruno for a friend. It was an excellent retreat: I met some wonderful people and produded an icon in 6 days. For me, persoanlly, this was a good way of coping with traumatic memories of a year ago when my husband dying but not, as it turns out, receiving palliative care – despite my best efforts.

Icons work from dark to light and from chaos to order, and so provide a good framework for processing hurt and trauma. The photos below show this process : apart from a few shadows added at the end, you only ever add light to to your icon. This is a process of healing and hope. You also have to concentrate on what you’re doing, so there’s not much time for going over and over the same things fruitlessly.

Our days were framed with prayer but there was also time for conversation at breaks and in the evenings. Several people were painting their first icon- of Christ Pantocrator. A few of us had painted icons before, and we were painting a variety of different saints and angels.

Christopher is an able and excellent teacher: he knows when to intervene and when to leave you alone. At one point my icon had six fingers on one hand – that was a time for intervention.

Here are four of our icons in the Church for their blessing.

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