Immanuel Icons

an orthodox christian iconography studio
in pittsburgh, pennsylvania


In all classes:

  • The primary requirements are prayer and humility
  • The traditional mediums are taught:  egg tempera, gold leaf, and gesso (the animal skin and chalk used to prepare the boards in a very specific process)
  • Students are equipped, over time, to understand for themselves the spiritual and aesthetic properties of iconography, enabling them to participate in the living tradition.  In other words, this is not a color-by-number iconography class.
Private Classes are available for students who have already done a group class with me, depending on my availability.

Contact me to arrange a time.
Private classes are custom-designed to fit what you want to learn.
2020 Iconography Workshops

-Spring class meets Monday evenings (studio in Pittsburgh)

-Summer class is one intensive week (Pittsburgh, or Decorah, Iowa)

-One-day classes on specialized topics (Board building OR Icon finishing)

see below for details!

Iconography Talks and Workshops

Please contact me if you are interested a talk or workshop at your church or institution, or in being on an e-mail list for upcoming events


Board-building Workshop, Saturday, January 18th, 2020 ($150)

In this workshop, which includes two eveings preceding Saturday to prepare (Tues. and Thurs., if it works for everyone), we will build a board suitable for painting an icon on in a class or on your own.  Board building in traditional iconography is a time-honored, careful process of applying 8-20 layers of "gesso," which is hot, liquified rabbit skin and chalk, on a layer of cloth applied to a board.  This is then sanded to a marble-like smooth texture.  (We will sand together on Monday, MLK day, weather-permitting.)

The result of this long process, a spiritual "prayer of the hands" as much as the painting stage, is a highly absorbent surface that will take in--and show in all its richness--every transparent layer of egg tempera.  The traditional method also results in an icon board that can withsatnd the slight warping inevitable in a wood board.  You will have an icon board--or two if you like--that is far superior to waht you can buy!  (You will also save money if you can build your own boards.)  Minimum 3 people.  Tuition deposit will hold your spot.*

Spring Iconography Class:  Monday evenings, Feb. 3-April 6, 6:30-8:30 pm ($300 tuition)

Examples of Workshops and Talks from the past:

Girls Retreat, Orthodox Church of America, St. Basil's Academy, NY, Nov. 11-13, 2016.

Iconography Talk, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Fall 2015, University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University campus group.

Talk and Hands-on Workshop at Academic Conference, St. Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame, Spring 2015.

My talk, “Learning to See,” was part of the larger conference, “Seeing With the Eyes of the Heart:  Cultivating a Sacramental Imagination in an Age of Pornography.”  I also gave a 1.5/hour glass-icon workshop for conference participants.

2-Hour Iconography Workshop, Laurelville Mennonite Retreat Center, PA, 2008.

4-Session “Images of Advent” Art History Talk, Union Church, Chicago, IL, 2004.

Iconography Talk and Prayer Workshop, National Cathedral, Washington D.C., Summer, 2002.

This talk was part of a larger retreat on contemplative prayer.