The skill of looking at icons, the discipline of ‘reading’ them, is indeed the strange skill of letting yourself be seen, be read.
— Dr Rowan Williams, 'Lost Icons'
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Beatrice leads Dante towards the Fifth Heaven

From the Divine Comedy Series

Welcome to Iconismus.

Icons are funny things, really. To some they might seem ridiculously quaint and old fashioned; reflections of a time when faith was a more central part of life than it is today.

To others they remain powerful sacramentals; connecting our world with another reality, perhaps more real than our own; acknowledging that what we can see, feel or measure isn't the whole story. At their best icons become windows into eternity; as we look at the little saints they are looking back at us, and praying for us.  Icons can be very powerful little objects to have around; we can collect our patron saints and have a very visible reminder of their protection. 

My icons can be either of these; some people look at them and wonder what the fuss is about; others find them deeply moving.

My little saints look back in time to a vastly rich tradition, forward to continuing belief, albeit adapted to the modern world. But they also reach horizontally; all over the world and even embracing people of other faiths; those who are faithful to the spirit of the Golden Rule, and to the core beliefs of acceptance, humanity, philanthropy and altruism.

Although grounded in Christianity I wouldn't want anyone to think that this means an insular, self protecting kind of faith; I prefer to think of an all embracing, all encompassing faith, reaching to people everywhere, my little saints celebrating all that is best in humanity, and showing us that even the smallest acts of love matter; that we can all make a difference, no matter how poor or powerless we might think ourselves to be.

So the majority of my saints will be Christian because that is where I begin, but don't be surprised to encounter a few unexpected faces along the way.

Few of us can afford a hand-written icon of our own. The best we can hope for is a postcard icon pasted onto board, purchased from the local cathedral or Christian supplier and even there we are limited by the choice available. Icon manufacturers tend to look towards either Catholic or Orthodox saints, which is fine if you want Our Lady or St Francis; not so good if you are looking for John of Krondstadt, Ruth Pfau, Harriet Tubman or Martin Luther King Jnr. Where would you go for an icon of these people? To Iconismus. 

On the next few pages you will find some of my original artwork, created with love and care using acrylic on high quality box canvas. Some are images from the Divine Comedy, others are icons painted in traditional style using modern materials. All are intended to encourage devotion and faith; a reminder that none of us ever prays alone, we all pray alongside the whole communion of saints, here and in eternity.

The vast majority of Iconismus images are derived from existing icons or other images. This is normal practice; few iconographers attempt to create new icons. There are just a very few completely new images in my work, but not many. Icons build on the traditions which have gone before, in recognition of the apostolic tradition, the cloud of witnesses, and our small part in the Body of Christ.

My aim at Iconismus is to enable the finest quality hand painted icons to be accessible to anyone. Pricing is based on the cost of materials and the time taken to research and paint the icon. Some images are more complex than others, but the aim is always to keep the cost as reasonable as possible.

These are not mass produced images; each one is hand painted with love and care over several days. I sometimes create the same image more than once, but they are never quite the same; each image is a unique work of art.

If you would like to ask about an icon, please get in touch using the form on the Commissions page below, or email me at catherine@iconismus.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Catherine Young