Icon Classes and Retreats 2017-2018


Christine teaches step by step the process of writing an icon.  Each 3 hour class includes most materials, demonstrations and personal instruction.  Class size is limited, please email for availability:christine@newchristianicons.com

“The icon writing class proved to be much more than just a painting class.  It was an extended meditation offering a place of respite from all the demands of life. However, as a painting class it was exceptional.  I learned more about classical drawing and painting technique than I learned in any other art class I’ve ever taken, and that is a testament to the talent and experience of the instructor.”  Karen L., Icon Student

This video is about Holy Cross Icon Retreat


Icon writing draws us together in a common pursuit of prayer and painting.  We pray at the beginning and end of each class, offering up our intentions as individuals and as a group.  The community of Icon writers extends around the world, and we are connected through our common activity and prayer.


Workshops and  Retreats

Icon-Writing Master Class  

March 21 – Friday, March 24   2017                      4 Day Icon Writing Retreat Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY Contact: Br. Joseph, guesthouse@hcmnet.org  

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Covers history as well as all levels of egg tempera painting, gold leaf gilding, drawing transfer. More layers, sacred geometry, more detail than the Introduction Class.         Led by Christine Hales

This master class will provide an in-depth experience of painting in egg tempera for those who have previous icon writing experience. You will learn the Byzantine method of using egg tempera and gold leaf gilding on gessoed panels to paint an icon. This is a rich spiritual experience combining prayer and painting, taught step by step by innovative artist and iconographer Christine Simoneau Hales. This class is a five-day course condensed into three days! No matter your skill level, you will be expertly supported and guided through the process of creating your own individual expression of this ancient art form. 

Christine Hales is a well-loved teacher and iconographer whoseicon commissions are at St. Vincent’s Church in Albany, the Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, NY, as well as in many private collections. She has taught icon writing workshops for over 10 years, and her style of icon writing is both contemporary and honoring to the ancient traditions of iconography.  For more information, visit www.newchristianicons.com.

Cost: $560; deposit: $120

Upcoming Introduction to Icon writing RETREATS:       

Weekend Introduction to Icon Writing   Friday- Sunday is an Introduction to basic process and a simple Icon will be painted.  Learn the Byzantine method of using egg tempera on gessoed panels to paint an icon. Experience this rich spiritual experience through the step by step teaching of iconography taught by artist and iconographer Christine Simoneau Hales.  No matter what your art experience, or lack of, you will be skillfully supported and guided through the process of creating your expression of this ancient art form.  

  • Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY:  July 21-23, 2017  Contact Brother Joseph at guesthouse@hcmnet.org
  • St. James Episcopal Church, Madison Ave, NYC  June 9-11, 2017 Contact Grace Beacham: gbeacham@stjames.org  $300.00

New 2017 Retreats and Workshops Just Added!

     To create an egg tempera icon, it normally takes about 30 hours.  There are many transparent layers and highlights that create a beautiful, jewel like appearance to the Icon that can't be attained any other way.  It is a process of prayer, meditation and painting.  

"Christine Hales is a wonderful, loving and patient teacher .   Her skills and competencies are great and her faith inspiring!"
"We covered much in a short time. Instruction was such that even a complete novice as myself was able to write a first Icon, learning important basics, and then even more advanced techniques, while maintaining focus on the spiritual aspects of Icon writing."
 Comments from students at Holy Cross Retreat

Icon writing is meditative way to engage in prayer and painting.  All the steps of Icon writing with egg tempera and gold leaf gilding are taught and demonstrated in each class.

It is suggested that prospective Icon writing students have a church that they attend regularly, and a spiritual director.

ICON WRITING is a spiritual discipline and requires commitment and a seriousness of approach in order to receive the most benefit from the classes

Icon Retreats

The materials that I use in icon writing are pure pigments, egg yolk, and gold leaf gilding.   I usually bring most of the materials to class but if you'd like to purchase your own, as somewhere down the line you probably will, here is a list of what I recommend:

Archangel Michael Icon                 by Christine Hales

Archangel Michael Icon                 by Christine Hales

  • plastic round palettes (Dick Blick)
  • at least 3 round watercolor brushes (000, 1, 3)
  • small water containers
  • paper towels, q tips
  • pencil,erasers, sharpie
  • sketch book
  • tracing paper
  • ruler
  • notebook to keep notes and drawings
  • pigment set (Natural Pigments or Pandora)

For the first icon, we usually use a drawing  that I bring of an Icon before the sixteenth Century.  After that one is completed, you may choose a simple icon , one figure, that was created before the sixteenth Century,  as long as the model is a good one.  ( For advanced classes Bring in color copies and we will work on the drawing together.)

Suggested Books for Iconographers

  • Techniques of Icon and Wall Painting, by Aidan Hart
  • The Icon, Image of the Invisible, Egon Sendler
  • Icon as Communion, George Kordis
  • DVD by Vladislav Andrev "Emmanuel For Beginners" instructional DVD
  • A History of Icon Painting, Moscow
  • The Techniques of Icon Painting,, by Guillem Ramos-Poqui
  • Techniques of Traditional Icon Painting, Gilles Weissmann