Modern Religious Icon by Connie Wendleton At Blue Morning Gallery

Connie Wendleton

Acrylic | Gold Leaf

Born a Yankee, I grew up, studied and worked in the Northeast: Boston, Providence, Philadelphia and New York City.  But in 1999, my husband, Dan, and I traded the Gold Coast of Connecticut for the Emerald Coast of the Florida Panhandle.

In 2005, I became acquainted with the wonderful world of icons and was hooked. Iconography, the “writing” of icons, is an ancient art, with early icons believed to have been developed from Egyptian tomb paintings.  Legend has it that the first iconographer was St. Luke the Evangelist who created icons of the Virgin and the Christ Child.

Icons are more than art; they are objects to be revered. Like stained glass windows, icons portray the Gospel in line and color — important for largely illiterate early Christian churches. For this reason, they are often called “windows to Heaven.” Topics for icons include Old and New Testament prophets, saints and martyrs and events in the life of Christ and other holy people.

Icons are meant to be symbolic, not realistic. For instance, they use a reverse perspective where the vanishing point is the eye of the viewer. There are no cast shadows because the light source in an icon is the image itself.

Some contemporary iconographers continue to use the traditional (and sometimes toxic) egg tempera paints. I prefer high-quality acrylic paint that comes close to conveying the velvety texture of egg tempera. The gold leaf used is 23 karat. These are applied to a gessoed board, usually birch.

As a friend remarked not long ago, “Connie, you are so lucky to have found something to be passionate about!” And I agree.

To see more of my work, visit my page on