St. Elizabeth Icon Studio in Lafayette, Louisiana, is a place where icon painting students gather to study and paint icons under the instruction of Faye Drobnic. The studio is affiliated with the Prosopon School of Iconology founded by Russian iconographer Vladislav Andreyev.
Faye Drobnic began studying iconography in 1993 with Phillip Zimmerman at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. She later studied with Charles Rohrbacher at the North Florida Iconography Institute and the Mount Angel Iconography Institute in Oregon, and also with iconographers Peter Pierson, Heather McKean, Ksenia Pokrovsky, and Marek Czarnecki. In 1996 she began studies with Vladislav Andreyev and his sons Dmitri and Nikita in Chatawa, Mississippi. Faye coordinates workshops for the Andreyevs’ Prosopon School of Iconology in Chatawa, Mississippi, and in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. She teaches local icon painting classes at St. Elizabeth Icon Studio in Lafayette.
About the process: The work of painting an icon is rooted in prayer — the prayer of the iconographer and, if it is a commission, the prayer of the person commissioning the work. The prayer of the iconographer is more than saying words; it is a way of life–striving to follow the teaching of Christ, striving to live with a greater awareness of God. It is a journey. Prayer accompanies each step of the process of painting an icon, beginning with drawing the lines of the design on paper, then transferring them to a gessoed wood panel. After the lines are transferred and etched (or painted), the halo is gilded, using red clay bole and 24Kt gold. The colors are then applied to each element of the design — multiple layers of dry pigments mixed with fresh egg yolk. The pigments come from nature — ochres and oxides from the earth, minerals from rocks, organic pigments from vegetables or animal sources. The last step of the painting is the naming of the icon — painting the name of the saint or the event. The process ends with the application of a finishing coat of oil or varnish called olipha.