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  • wooden boards
  • sandpaper
  • brown paper bags for final sanding and to protect table from gesso/paint
  • gesso
  • 1" brushes for application of gesso
  • bowls for gesso
  • tracing paper and carbon paper
  • pencils
  • ultrafine sharpies
  • paint
  • various types of brushes
  • palettes
  • small containers (like yogurt cups) for water


Day 1. Sunday evening.

While you are completing these steps, think about which image you would like to paint and for whom you will offer your work and prayer.

Step 1: Sand the edges, sides, and surface of the board.

Step 2: Apply a layer of gesso, brushing it on in several directions—for example, in “x”-shaped strokes. Don’t use up-and-down strokes.

Step 3: When the gesso has dried, sand the board.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3.

Step 5: Apply a 3rd layer of gesso, and when it’s dry, sand the board with a brown paper bag.

Day 2. Monday.

Step 1: With a pencil, trace the image you’ve chosen onto a piece of tracing paper.

Step 2: Use carbon paper to transfer the drawing to the board.

Step 3: Use a fine brush to paint or a black marker to trace the transferred lines in a dark color.

Day 3. Tuesday.

Step 1: Using short, multi-directional brush strokes, fill in the base colors by applying several thin layers of paint. [The thickness of your paint should resemble half-and-half (a mixture of milk and cream), more thick than milk, not as thick as sour cream.] Pay no attention to folds and details, but make sure that you can always see your lines!

Step 2: Paint the outer border and the edges of the board.

Step 3: Begin shadowing and highlighting. You will need to paint several layers. (Take your time!) Each successive highlight should be a little lighter than the previous one.

Day 4. Wednesday.

Today, continue to work on highlights.

Days 5 and 6. Thursday and Friday.

Step 1: Finish your highlights.

Step 2: Add details, like the embroidery on the garments and the irises of eyes, but don’t overdo it. Less is more.

Step 3: Repaint the original lines of your drawing with slightly darker shades of the base colors.

Step 4: Name your icon.

Apropros Videos


P. Pearson, A Brush with God. P. Pearson, Another Brush with God.