For me, faith is something very intimate, and, therefore, iconography is, also, a very intimate thing.
While I paint Orthodox icons I experience different emotions. Sometimes it is love, fear, compassion, and sometimes I just feel at peace.
I have one rule – I never paint if I have a turmoil in my soul. I deeply believe that an icon is built and weaved through a process of painting. Since someone will pray in front of that icon, celebrate a saints day (slava), pass it on as an inheritance to children and grandchildren, I try my best to weave it from the most sensitive threads.
Orthodox icon is a religious painting to which a person approaches with the deepest and the most vulnerable part of the soul, prays in hardship and thanks for the joyful moments. Because of that, the atmosphere in which I paint is very important to me. I love to be in peace, play nice music (usually it is a classical music), be happy. I believe that an icon brings all those emotions to the house that it goes to. Peace, love, harmony, strength…
I have started painting icons on wood because I was fascinated with the symbolic. Painting an icon on a piece of wood is like the juncture of the life in present time and the one in the future, after the second coming of Christ (which icons, actually, present). On small pieces I usually paint guardian angels for children. Tree is a natural material, it changes its shape, splits and gives incredible details by changing color that is applied. It often surprises me at the end.
Mother of God is, definitely, my favorite motive. Especially with Christ in her arms. I love their relationship in which Jesus is a child, but still a savior of the world. Still, she looks at him with motherly love and care. Her suffering as a woman and a mother was tremendous. As the purest woman and the mother above all mothers she watches over us and prays for all of us.