Theresa Tilton '69  Icons


Christ, the Giver of Light
Rafts Island, Washington, 1991
The Virgin of Vladimir
My very first.  Written at Raft Island, Washington, 1990


            We  Brats develop a deep appreciation for the religions of other cultures.  While we toured cathedrals in Europe and temples in Asia, we were taught to look and to not  touch, to ask questions quietly, and to never intrude on another person's prayers. As you look at my icons, you may see them simply as pictures, or you may see the spiritual message they are made to convey.




John the Baptist
Raft Island, Washington 1998

           “Icon” means image.  The word “icon”  appears many times in the Greek-language New Testament.  An icon is an illustration of an event in the Bible or in the history of the Church. The medium may be egg tempera painted on wood, stained or fused glass, mosaic, or bas-relief.    Icons are not meant to be naturalistic, they are highly stylized.  The absence of depth and shadows marks a great difference from secular art styles. 

St. George
Raft Island, Washington 1994




For example, an icon of Jesus must show Him wearing a red inner robe as a signal of his carnal, physical nature, and a blue outer cloak as a signal of His divine nature.   The signals teach that Jesus’s humanity was contained within His divinity.  The protocol for the Virgin Mary is the reverse:  Because she carried the Divine Child within her body, her inner robe is always blue and her outer cloak is red.  






 Icons of St. John the Baptist show his robe as wings of an angel (“ángelos” is Greek for messenger), because St. John brought the message that Jesus was to come among us. St. John's hair looks electrified, because all the power of the Holy Spirit passed through St. John's body when he baptized Jesus.  



St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow,
Missionary to  America

There was no existing icon for me to copy. My prototype was a photograph of this  20th-Century saint.

Raft Island, Washington 1996

Prayer is integral to the process of writing an icon.  The proper use of an icon is to focus prayers, analogous to the “focal point”  used in  Lamaze childbirth.  Icons are “windows in to heaven”,  the Gospel written in line and color.




 Theresa E. Tilton, FHS 1969

  Flight into Egypt
Raft Island, Washington 1993
Raft Island, Washington 1995
St. Constantine and St. Helen
Raft Island, Washington 1998

Christ, the Giver of Light
Rafts Island, Washington, 1991

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