Icon Classes and Retreats 2017-2018


Christine teaches step by step the process of writing an icon.  Each 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

Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, Florida

Icon Talk: Sunday, February 18, 10:00am, Icon Writing Class, March 9, 10.  Friday, March 9, 6-9P, Saturday, March 10, 9AM-5PM.  All materials provided, Cost $300.00 Email Christine@newchristianicons.com to register!

Ghost Ranch               April 29-May 5  2018

280  Private Drive, 1708 Abiquiu NM    Call:  505-685-1000 to reserve space now.

Icon writing week long workshop: Learn to paint an Icon using egg tempera and gold leaf gilding in the Byzantine style. Create your own Icon and learn more about the basic concepts behind Icons and painting techniques of the old masters.  To Visit the Ghost ranch website click here.

Workshops and  Retreats at Holy Cross Monastery 2017-2018

Christine Hales is a well-loved teacher and iconographer whose icon 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.iconwritingclasses.com.

Learning from Byzantium-  Mother's Day Icon Retreat  May 11-13                                                                         

 Beginners and advanced welcome.  If you've taken class with me before and wish to do a different Icon, after registration, email me with your ideas and a photo of what you's like to write.  Otherwise, Basic concepts of Icon writing, history and methods of painting will be demonstrated.   We will also have meditation and prayers on Mary as this is Mother's Day Weekend and we will do a Mary Icon together.  Icons have played an important role in healing and bringing forth peace to nations, and there are many examples of Icons in Belarus, and Eastern Europe  that are attributed to healing miracles, often these are Mary Icons.   Contact  the Guesthouse at  guesthouse@hcmnet.org  845-384-6660  ext 1     $560 includes Icon Materials, meals and overnight accommodations at the Monastery    $120 deposit     

Color and Light in the Icon-  July 24-27    2018  

This is a special class. Beginners are welcome, and it is also for advanced Iconographers who want to learn more about color in Icons. We will cover color symbolism, color theory, the Iconographer's palette, and more fun and in depth topics on color. We will write the Icon of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. If you have a different Icon you'd like to paint, email me with the image and we can work together before the class to make that possible.     Register at the Guesthouse   or call: 845-384-6660 ext 1

Sacred Geometry in Composition of the Icon  September 25-28  

This is the class when we discuss in depth the sacred geometry that is the foundation of  Icon compositions.  Sacred geometry is a method of understanding the pictorial space and relationships of images and colors within the Icon and It is an essential part of an Iconographer's training. There will be a slide talk one evening as well as hands on exercises to demonstrate the concepts. We will endeavor to complete an Icon by the end of this workshop using sacred geometry.  Register at the Guesthouse or call : 845-384-6660  ext 1 to Register                                                          Holy Cross Monastery, 1615 Route 9W, West Park, NY:             GUEST HOUSE     845-384-6660 ext 1   



  • Friday, 6-9PM     (simple supper 6:00)
  • Saturday,  10AM-8PM (morning prayer, breakfast, lunch, evening prayer)
  • Sunday, 9:30-12:00     ( Liturgy 9amLunch 12:30)


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.  Visit WWW.iconwritingclasses.com for more information on icon painting  classes.


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.  Come join us at the beautiful Holy Cross Monastery for an introduction to Icon writing where you will create your own Icon.  We join with the Brothers in their cycle of daily prayer and Eucharist as part of the process of praying and painting Icons. Truly an exceptional experience!

"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