My Version of Our Lady of Czestochowa, a Polish Icon.
I was in a seminar last weekend in Szczecin, Poland, while Sondra Ray was teaching the Loving Relationships Training, the LRT. I mostly paint in these seminars. In Europe there is a huge tradition of the Church, and the art often supported the Church’s iconography. In Poland there is a big love for “Our Lady,” the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church. There are icons from history which are very revered, and imbued with supernatural powers. One of these is the Polish Icon, Madonna of Czestochowa. I invoked Her presence in the training, and decided to paint Her in my own style. I would come up with my own version of Her.
Our Lady of Czestochowa felt like she was suffering to me. Not a happy icon. Not a joyous picture. And herein lies the power of it, I suppose, to capture people in their suffering, and give them an empathetic image. Even I fell into a little suffering. The original canvas did not work out. I had it taped to the wall and the tape gave way, and the canvas wrinkled. I could not get it flat. We had to buy another stretched canvas, so I lost some “painting time.”
Once I got back on board with the painting, the late morning of the second day, I was still getting through my struggle pattern. But OK. I had a 70 cm X 100 cm canvas now to start. I painted it maroon. Then I sketched in the basics.
I made a few adjustments after the initial drawing. This stage is the one where I look again at my initial gestures and see if everything fits together the way I would like. Sometimes subtle changes are needed. A half and inch can make a huge difference in placement. I was happy that the mood of the painting was so different than Our Lady of Czestochowa. This painting is Our Lady of Szczecin. It has a totally different energy. Not one of suffering.
The Polish Icon is the Queen of Peace
In the next phase I painted the white ribbons around the head dress, and the white aura, which began to tie the whole thing together. Then I was about to paint in the Fleur De Lis. In Europe this is the symbol of royalty. The Church liked Fleur De Lis as well, especially for its Queen of Peace.
Sondra suggested lightening the face. I did. Adding the Fleur De Lis also uplifted the image. I made the right cheek a little more robust and rounded. All in all, a good day. I finished the painting on Sunday, right after the rebirthing session. People were high on the energy. I was glad to have Our Lady of Szczecin completed. It is my new Polish Icon.
Now Our Lady hangs in Krzysztof and Aga’s living room, over their piano, singing Her silent, heavenly praises.
Thank you for reading,
YOU CAN ORDER A GICLEE of Our Lady of Szczecin HERE.