What Makes an Ikon Painting Really Work?

I had an exchange on Facebook with a Russian friend of mine I met in Herakhan last April regarding Ikon paintings. He was struck by the last painting I did of Babaji, and mentioned he would like to take me to see some of the most powerful Ikon paintings in Moscow. The Russians were quite good at this art form. What makes these paintings so powerful? What makes them work? They would be the same reasons I would put into my own paintings of Babaji, Jesus, and the Divine Mother.

This is the most recent “Jesus of Madrid” I painted last weekend.

And here is another one I painted, “Jesus of Tenerife,” a few weeks before:

What do these have in common with the Russian Ikon paintings? It is interesting to trace the similarities between the concept of the “murti” in India, in which the “Living Presence” of the deity is imbued in the painting or the sculpture, the Russian Ikon, in which the Presence of Christ is meant to come through, and my paintings which are attempting to do the same.

Here are some Russian Ikons that I found compelling:


I suppose that a realistic rendition of the Christ, such as in the High Italian Renaissance period, is not my style. I am more attuned to these Ikons. I never gave them much thought until my Russian friend mentioned them. Perhaps I had a past life in the golden age of Byzantium, or in the  golden age of the Russian churches in which Ikons were the means of communicating the love of Christ to the people.

What makes an Ikon painting really work is the heart of the painter himself. Is he in the vibration of the Christ? Is he impeccable in his love? Is he living the principles set down by the Master? All these factors contribute to the effectiveness of the Ikon. Without being a “fish,” as the great Chinese painters would say, “You cannot paint a fish.”

Also, it seems my study of A Course in Miracles, and having been brought up in a Christian family and society has encouraged me to explore this form of painting even more. And all the many paintings I have done of Babaji and the Divine Mother over the past 9 years, as “darshan,” have contributed to the strength of these “Jesus Paintings.” People are moved in their presence, so I know I am on the right track. Also, people are buying them for their homes, which is another good sign.


PS. Jesus of Madrid is for sale. Send an email or comment here if you are interested.


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  • tgardner46

    Super Markus!

    I am really proud of you.

    Love, Tommy

    • markusray

      Missing you madly, Markus. Enjoying our DC Sanctuary.

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