St. Elizabeth Icon Studio offers iconography supplies including pigment kits, brushes, icon boards and miscellaneous items needed for painting icons. We believe that high-quality supplies are critical to successful icon painting.
Our first priority is fulfilling orders from students of the studio and the wider Prosopon School community.
Our inventory and prices change from time to time. You may send orders by email and be invoiced by PayPal. Or you can print and mail order forms with a check. We have one order form for pigments, brushes, and miscellaneous items (pdf) and another order form for icon boards (pdf). We have separate order forms for the Full-Size Pigment Kit (pdf) and the Basic Pigment Kit (pdf).
The various supplies we offer are described in detail below.
Pigment kits and pigments
Pigment kits from St. Elizabeth Icon Studio have been developed especially for Students of the Prosopon School of Iconology.
Our pigment kits are based on the premise that icon painters need a variety of pigments available to them in a reasonably compact space and that these pigments should be easy to transport to workshops or other painting sites. With that in mind, all our pigments are packaged in half-ounce screw-top jars that are easy to open and compact to store. Dry pigments go a long way, and a half-ounce jar of dry pigment will take us through painting many icons.
Our full-size pigment kit contains 50 jars of pigments in a black leatherette box with a liner. Our basic pigment kit contains 27 jars with half-portions of pigments in a light-weight white cardboard box. Both kits include an 8-page color instructional booklet about the pigments, including pigment sources for students who wish to buy larger amounts of pigments.
The cost of the Full-Size Pigment Kit is $199.00, plus $25 shipping and handling. This kit consists of 50 different pigments in half-ounce plastic jars in a black leatherette box, along with an 8-page informational booklet about the pigments . A description of the full-size kit is here.
The cost of our Basic Pigment Kit is $85.00, plus $15 shipping and handling. This kit consists of 27 half-portions of the most basic pigments, in half-ounce jars in a white cardboard box, along with the 8-page informational booklet. This kit contains all the pigments needed to complete our Paint Mixing Class and our Beginning Series Classes. A description of the basic kit is here.
We purchase pigments in bulk for our pigment kits from various pigment companies in the USA and Europe. We have those pigments and more available for sale in individual half-ounce jars. In addition to the pigments contained in our kits, we have other synthetic and natural pigments, including some of the more expensive lead-based pigments and precious minerals. The amount of pigment in the half-ounce jars varies according to the density, weight, and cost of the pigment. Some of the precious minerals and lead-based pigments are sold in smaller quantities to make them more affordable.
In addition to the individual pigments, we also have available the various components of our kits: the empty leatherette boxes with liners and the empty half-ounce jars that fit in the liners. This enables students who already have pigments to easily convert their pigments to our system.
The order form for pigments, brushes, and miscellaneous items (pdf) lists current prices
Good brushes are some of the most important tools the iconographer uses. Our recommended Beginning Brush Set consists of the following: #3 squirrel brush, #0 or #00 DaVinci sable brush, 3050 L or M liner, synthetic correction brush, and mixing brush. With these five brushes, our beginners can paint all of the icons in our beginning level classes, plus many more. Advanced painters will gradually expand their collection to a typical maximum of 16 to 20 brushes.
Below are descriptions of all our brushes and how we use them.
For painting roskrish, we use a pointed squirrel brush, the softest of the brushes. Our choice right now is the DaVinci Petit Gris squirrel brush. The all-purpose size is the #3. The #5 is good for larger areas, and the #1 for very small areas. These squirrel brushes are also the best brushes to use for floats.
For painting details and highlights, we use a tapered kolinsky sable brush with an excellent point. For years we used the Roubloff 1010 brush line from Russia, and we still have a few available, but because of the current U.S. embargo we are transitioning to the DaVinci Maestro 35 (which we find to be an even better brush). For our beginners, we provide a #0 or an #00, comparable to the Roubloff #1.5 or #1. Students may want to add the fine-detail #000 (Roubloff #0) or the larger #1 (Roubloff #2) or #2. With their excellent points, these brushes can also be used as liners.
For line work, our brushes are the synthetic Princeton Mini-Liners, the 3050L #20/0 (longer hair) or the 3050M #20/0 (slightly shorter hair). We also use the DaVinci #000 for fine line work and the DaVinci #00 or #0 for broader lines. For very long lines, we recommend a DaVinci long liner brush for our more experienced painters.
There are times in our work when corrections must be made, and the best brushes to use are round synthetic brushes, size #2 or #4.
For mixing pigments we use a stiff boar bristle round brush, similar to a stencil brush. We buy inexpensive round bristle brushes, saw off the long handles, and cut the bristles to the perfect length. We call these our Mixing Brushes. It’s good to have several on hand.
Finally, there are times when we apply egg washes to our icons. We have an inexpensive soft Egg Wash Brush, which can also be used in gilding to brush the gold off the icon. The larger squirrel brushes #6 and #8 are also good for applying egg washes and floats to large areas.
The order form for pigments, brushes, and miscellaneous items (pdf) lists current prices.
Other supplies that we use regularly in icon painting are available for purchase.
Pipettes add measured drops of water or egg to our paint mixtures.
We use a stylus (a tool with a metal ball point at each end) to transfer our drawings to the board, and we use it to transfer a decorative design to a gilded halo.
We use plastic and ceramic palettes. Our plastic bubble palette is rectangular with 6 wells. Our ceramic palette is rectangular with 5 wells and slanted planes. We like the ceramic palette for line work and highlights.
After painting roskrish, we like to use a sea silk sponge to brush grit off our boards. We use a small ceramic mortar and pestle from China to grind our pigments. We use a glass stirring rod to grind pigments in palettes.
Gilding halos and backgrounds with real gold is an essential part of icon painting. We use a fine quality Italian surface (loose) gold leaf: 24 Kt Manetti Double Gold Leaf. Note that the price of gold leaf fluctuates with the world market price of gold. In our gilding process, we lay the gold on a red clay bole ground that we polish with an agate stone. After we lay the gold, we may choose to burnish parts of a decorative design with an agate pencil burnisher.
See the order form for pigments, brushes, and miscellaneous items (pdf) for prices and other details.
Our studio presently imports all of our icon boards from Eastern Europe. Our boards are made of linden wood with recessed oak braces, which makes for a lighter, easier-to-handle board. The gesso for our boards is composed of a special recipe of rabbit skin glue, chalk, and marble dust, formulated to serve the needs of Prosopon School painters.
We carry both flat boards and boards with kovchegs, both rectangular and round-top boards, and several custom shapes and sizes made especially for our studio. Our boards are all hand-made according to our custom orders, and it takes 2 to 3 months for us to receive each order. We make a special effort to keep in stock the sizes that our students most need, as well as the boards that are used in our tutorial packets and our classes. Our price list is revised periodically to reflect our current stock. Prices may change if the costs of production change.
See the order form for icon boards (pdf) for sizes and prices.