A board hand-made and respected from beginning to end. Short demos:
Designing and Making Custom Boards for My Icons
On my website are several references to icon board making. However, I find that additional "show and tell" articles are always to helpful to those considering me for an art project.
Post on substrates. On traditional rabbit skin gesso boards
Custom Icon Boards
You see here three boards in three sizes and all are custom sizes and not the standard 16x20 or 8x10, for example. You also see that I am adding additional framing details, the affixed wooden slats, to each board. This, of course, is more time consuming and the price for including this feature must be adjusted accordingly.
Many boards have been cut and I am now in various stages of gessoing each one. Below you see boards that will not receive a raised "frame". These will be outlined in paint, as described below.
Reason for the “Frame”
This “frame” detail, which separates the inside from the outside, is called a polya in the Russian language or border (or margin) in English.
The inside is called a kovtcheg or kovcheg and is described as the the ark or tabernacle in English. It represents the Ark of Noah and later the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem. Symbolically, the raised border creates a space inside where the gospel can now be “written” in paint.
“Since the end of the 17th century, many icons were made without a kovcheg. In this case, polya were separated from the image by color, and in the place of the luzga [inside edges of the polya], a single (or sometimes double) line was drawn of another color (usually red) thus creating the illusion of a classical icon...” as explained according to one source.
The Symbolic Tabernacle
This “tabernacle” can be made in different ways. The most specialized and traditional method is to hollow out the center of the wood panel by hand and with a chisel. I am not sure how many are still doing it this way as electric, oil or other energy powered types of hand tools and machines are most accurate, convenient and found in even the most remote places. They certainly make the job easier, saving wear and tear on the body, and I would guess the ancients might have opted for them if available.
Here you see that on one of the boards the slats were applied in the initial stage of gessoing and for the other, slats were included at a later stage in the process, an afterthought, and will be secured well with glue, gesso overcoats, and fine sanding. For thin borders, such as these, it is not necessary to apply so many layers of gesso. In either case, the end appearance will be the same.
Continuing the Creation:
Short demos: #1. Final sanding. #2. Sanding a metallic pigment background. Other options are available.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
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Christine M. (CM) Jentz.
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“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures.” (St. André Bessette)