Icon Painting Workshop for Beginners

Icon of Archangel Gabriel

Melbourne (Australia) 15 - 19 January 2024

Register here

What We Will Do?

  • Draw a frontal face freehand.
  • Prepare and use egg tempera in a variety of ways.
  • Learn different methods for working with medieval models.
  • Learn to arrange an image to the format.
  • Paint a face and hair with egg tempera.

    We made this 5-day foundational icon painting workshop for iconographers who want to learn free hand professional drawing and painting. The idea of this workshop is to teach students to paint their own icons without tracing.

    The main targets of this course are the face proportions and structure, so we will start from drawing from different medieval images of archangels. We will try several options in composition, colour combination, and get to know the three main methods of face-painting. The final image will be painted with egg tempera on paper.

    The workshop program is very intense and consists of various activities. Theoretical lessons, accompanied by the projection of slides which will be dedicated to theology, theory and history of iconography, problems and issues of contemporary icon painting. Drawing and painting are always taught and practiced in a focused and concentrated way without any distractions such as conversation or music. This enables the icon to evolve at a slow pace, enabling us to live and understand each step deep in our being; this is achieved most effectively in a quiet and silent environment.

    Vatopedi Angel - model for iconography workshop


    Making a new version of an old icon or fresco may seem easy, yet it is a complex mission. We have chosen a model with clear details. However, to turn a fresco image into a thoughtful and a prayerful icon we need to perform a specific research, gain some artistic skills and learn how to use our creativity responsibly.
    This course teaches how to work professionally, finding classical human face proportions in medieval models, and how to use them as references creating icons as unique pieces of liturgical art.


    The first three days of the course will be completely devoted to drawing with pencil and brush. By studying different aspects of models, drawing and associating colours on paper, students will practice professional freedom limited only by traditional responsibilities.
    In the last two days we will draw and paint a large image of Archangel Gabriel with egg tempera on thick paper. This will help students to consolidate their knowledge and to memorize the method and the skills they will have gained for the future independent work.



    For everybody interested in learning iconography and traditional art of drawing and painting. The course is adapted to beginners and for those iconographers who want to stop tracing/copying icons and begin drawing the face with a free hand.


    $970 AUD for 5 full days. This includes teaching and all the necessary tools and materials. Lodging and meals are not included.


    Period: 15-19 January 2024.
    Every workshop day starts at 9:30 and finishes at 17:00 with an hour-long lunch break around midday. Two more short tea breaks for lectures & discussions are scheduled to be at about 10.30 and 15:00.


    Drawing, painting, hands-on demonstrations, lectures and discussions with personalised mentoring and comprehensive feedback.


    We provide students with all the necessary tools and materials, however we recommend bringing own aprons, textbooks and pen/pencils for notes.


    Australian Catholic University (ACU)
    Art Space, 26 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 3065, (Victoria), Australia
    See the ArtSpace on Google maps >>


    The workshop will begin the 15th January 2024 at 9:30 in the morning and will end about 17:00 on Friday the 19th January. Every day we will work from 9:30 to 17:00 with one hour break for lunch and two more short breaks for lectures. We will start our study drawing a frontal face proportions, construction, and structure with pencil on paper. After performing several exercises we will begin drawing with egg tempera and learn the construction of the hair. After the hair we will discuss the traditional concept "Light VS Colour" and try three main traditional methods of face painting. On the fourth day the students will start painting an image of Archangel Gabriel on thick paper.

    Models for Iconography Workshop in Melbourne


  • Day 1.

    Basic face proportions. How to draw face oval, nose, eyes, lips. How to connect head and neck to she shoulders. Pencil drawing, no models.

  • Day 2.

    Drawing process: The importance of modelling the shape of the face. How to find individuality of the image, how to make angels' hair. Drawing with a brush. How to arrange the image on the page or icon panel.

  • Day 3.

    Basic principles of working with egg tempera: how to prepare egg emulsion, how to mix colours, how to vary the consistency of paint, how to apply the paint evenly.

  • Day 4.

    Painting process. Opaque and transparent layers. Glazing. Highlighting. Basic methods of face painting.

  • Day 5.

    Painting the head of Archangel Gabriel on paper.

  • Ready to Enrol?

    The full cost of off-line Iconography workshop Head of Archangel Gabriel is $970 AUD, it covers teaching and necessary tools and materials provided. It does not include housing and meals. To reserve a space you can pay $120 AUD. The rest - $850 AUD is paid during the workshop.

    This workshop will begin on the 15th January and end on 19th January, 2024. We invite beginners, and also those who want to switch from tracing their models to the professional approach to painting an image.

    Making your registration payment please provide a valid email address, - it will only be used for personal communications. The group is limited to 16 participants, students are accepted on a first-come first-served basis. The registration payments are non-refundable, unless the workshop is cancelled due to lack of participation.

    Painting an Angel. Off-Line Icon Painting Workshop in ACU (Melbourne)
    If within 80 days from the purchase date you experience health issues forbidding you to participate in the chosen workshop, we will fully refund the cost of your order.

    If you wish to be informed about our future workshops and other events, email us directly or subscribe to our regular Newsletter at the bottom of this page.


    Philip Davydov and Olga Shalamova. Sacred Murals Studio (originally: Saint Petersburg, Russia, since March 2022: Tbilisi, Georgia).
    Painting an Angel. Off-Line Icon Painting Workshop in ACU (Melbourne)

    Philip Davydov

    Iconographer, iconography instructor and web-site administrator

    Second-generation iconographer with M.A. from State Fine Art Academy of Saint Petersburg (faculty of Theory and History of Art).
    2001 co-founder of Sacred Murals Studio (St. Petersburg, Russia).
    Teaching iconography in US, Italy, Australia and other countries since 2005.
    2006 Member of Union of Artists of Russia
    2009 - 2022 Professor at Institute of Theology and Sacred Arts (Saint Petersburg).
    Head of Iconography School of St Petersburg Seminary - 2021

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    Painting an Angel. Off-Line Icon Painting Workshop in ACU (Melbourne)

    Olga Shalamova

    Iconographer and iconography instructor

    M.A. from State Fine Art Academy of Saint Petersburg (faculty of Theory and History of Art).
    2009 Member of the Union of Artists of Russia
    2015 - 2021 chief artist of the embroidery workshop at Feodorovsky Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.
    Author of the majority of our offline and online courses.
    Actively participates in exhibitions of contemporary ecclesiastical art in Russia and abroad.

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