Medium as Message

 Beyond Her Years

Often as I work, in fact, always, at some point I feel I have ruined an icon with some over painting or other. Particularly on skin, a float usually will help to blend out imperfections, the idea being that I can start again. It doesn’t look quite right immediately, but when I look at my icon the next morning, the layers of paint have “married” or blended on their own and the errors have become nearly imperceptible. And I think it is this way with people, too. When we have a failure that we experience as being huge in our own little worlds, some time and care from those around us, and the goodness we have worked to build within ourselves — plus a little prayer — help to dilute what we originally perceived as a fatal error. It blends back into the fabric of ourselves, and, if we are wise, we learn from that error so that we can avoid repeating it again. I always marvel at this process when I first view my icon in the clear morning light, and it fills me with joy and gratitude. So, also, we must view ourselves as our own icons. We stumble, and fail, and fail again. But we pray, we strive for goodness. Mankind is born with free will and a spark of the divine within. With the light of that spark to guide us, we help each other, and in doing so we help ourselves. Buddhists call this loving-kindness. We all recognize it when we feel or see it. It is usually quiet and gentle. It soothes us. It blends out our imperfections with a loving, soft hand. And it allows us to go on.

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About Olga Dytyniak

artist, librarian poet, byzantine icon painter, perennial student. Join me on
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