Icon Writing Classes


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Christine Hales’ Icon class at Holy Cross Monastery

Two Types of Icon Writing Classes and Retreats

First, try the Introduction to Icon writing class  which is usually held for one evening session, a full day session, and then a morning or afternoon session.  In this class you will learn the basics of transferring a drawing, learning to mix and paint with egg tempera and in some cases, gold leaf gilding are demonstrated.  The student learns to create a basic Icon.  Painting is done with one or two layers of highlights and transparent veils of color.  You do not have to be an artist to paint an Icon! Come to the Advanced Icon writing Retreat, and you will have more instruction on Iconographic principles of light, perspective, sacred geometry and history. Because it takes time to write an Icon, this longer class is designed to give more time for layers, highlights, gilding, and olifa finishing at the end.  We will cover the same information as the introduction but with more depth and development.


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

Icon Writing Retreat- Learn the exciting History, and basic principles of creating an Icon with Egg Tempera in the Byzantine style. Ghost Ranch 280 Private Drive 1708 Abiquiu, NM 87510                                             Call: 505-685-1000

Icon Writing Classes 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.newchristianicons.com.

  • Learning from Byzantium–    May 11-13   2018       Cost:                                                                   Perspective in an Icon Beginners and Advanced are welcome.

  • Color and Light in the Icon–  July 24-27    2018 Advanced and Beginner

  • Sacred Geometry in Composition of the Icon  September 25-28   2018

Holy Cross Monastery, 1615 Rte 9W, West Park, NY:  Contact Brother Joseph at guesthouse@hcmnet.org    845-384-6660 Holy Cross is a beautiful Benedictine Monastery located North of Manhattan along the Hudson River. Here we are able to join in with morning prayer and Eucharist with the Brothers as part of our retreat.  The atmosphere of prayer is uplifting and their hospitality is wonderful!

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St. George Icon

You don’t have to be an artist to write Icons! Master Iconographer Christine Hales will provide the drawing, materials, and demonstrate step by step the method of classical egg tempera painting technique. An Icon is said to be the Gospel in pictures. Come join us for this introductory workshop combining prayer, sacred music, and Icon painting. Previous Icon students as well as beginners welcome! To register contact Br. Joseph@ guesthouse@hcmnet.org or call  (845-384-6660). Christine Hales’ Icons are in many Churches and monasteries in the US. She has a BFA in Painting, an MS in Art Therapy, an advanced citation in ministry, and maintains a studio in Hudson, NY .   www.newchristianicons.com Weekend Introduction to Icon Writing   Friday- Sunday is an Introduction to basic process and a simple Icon will be painted and you will Learn the Byzantine method of using egg tempera on gessoed panels to paint an icon. Experience this rich spiritual experience through  step by step teaching while creating your Icon. Artist and iconographer Christine Simoneau Hales expertly demonstrates each part of the method so 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. This class is designed for busy people who are looking for a peaceful and prayerful weekend. Students complete a simple Icon within this time frame and are able to bring their own Icon home for prayer or to give to a friend.


Christine is the founder of the American Association of Iconographers.  She publishes a monthly blog with Icon related information.  It is free and intended to form community among Iconographers. It also provides valuable resource information.

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Icon Writing Retreats

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Christine Hales teaching Icon class in Saratoga NY

“The icon writing retreat 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

You Do Not HAVE TO BE AN ARTIST  To Write Icons!

Icon writing retreats are an enjoyable way to combine praying and painting! Learn the art of writing Byzantine style Icons in these icon writing classes using the ancient method of egg tempera painting and gold leaf gilding. Each step of the process is explained and demonstrated by Master Iconographer Christine Hales.

Ms. Hales has a BFA in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA, and an MS in Art Therapy from the College of New Rochelle.  She has studied with the Nuns of New Skete, Vladislav Andrejv, Peter Murphy,  Philip Davydov, and her own style is evolving into a modern and also classic art and Iconography. She has been teaching Icon writing since 2006 and encourages students to bring their prayer life into the process of Icon writing.

Icon Writing Retreats  and Collecting Icons

Christine’s Icons are in Churches and private collections internationally. Her experience and training as an artist and art therapist combine to add a depth to the quality of art making that is both rare and beautiful.  Her interest in using art as a medium that brings healing and integration shows through in her Icons.


For more on Icon Writing Retreats Visit Christine’s Icon website  or her painting website.

Icon Commissions

Icon Commissions

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Christ in Glory Icon written by Christine Hales


A commissioned Icon can be a favorite Saint or a Scriptural scene. It should be one that gives hope and inspiration to the viewer.  Icons are often given as an ordination gift, a memorial for a loved one, or a birthday .   They are given to churches as well.  An Icon will be a beautiful reminder of God’s Presence for many generations. Contact Christine    (chales@halesart.com)

Icon commissions usually take a month or more to complete.  Using natural pigments mixed with the yolk of an egg, egg tempera painting is one of the earliest forms of painting and encompasses many of the classical painting traditions.


WHEN I WRITE ICONS, PRAYER IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROCESS. I research the saint, find relevant Scripture, and use this information to pray while I write the Icon.  I also include prayers for the person or church commissioning the Icon.

When I paint an Icon, I use  natural pigments and egg tempera, or acrylic pigments. The choice depends on where the Icon will be stored and the look desired.

The way I write and an Icon,  it is a  multi-step process.  I focus on spiritual development within the icon writing tradition.  I Also focus as well as on artistic development. Icons are known as the practice of  spiritual discipline for the mind, heart, and hand. Iconography is a continuation of the Russian-Byzantine icon tradition into the twenty first century.

  • To commission an Icon from Christine, email    (chales@halesart.com) your questions or request.
  • First, decide the size, the subject and date needed.
  •  Christine’s Icons are in many churches and private homes across the USA.


Weekly Icon Writing Classes



Weekly icon writing classes are held on Monday evenings at the Westminster Presbyterian Church , 262 State Street , in Albany, New York.

The class meets from 6-9PM.  Registration in advance is for six week sessions     $210 .      We use the Chestnut Street Entrance.

  • Session 1: March 20, 27, April 3, 10, May 1, 8
  • Session 2:  May 15, 22,  June 5, 19, 26, July 10
  • Session 3: July 17, 24, 31, August 14, 21, 28
  • Session 4:   Sept 11, 18, 25, October 2, 9, 16

This is a class for advanced and beginners.  Many of the students have studied for years and their work is excellent.  We pray and together create beautiful Icons to share with the world.  Email Christine Hales to save a place.

Icon Writing Supplies

There are several online sources for Icon writing Supplies:

www.naturalpigments.com, Pandora, and kremerpigments.com.  For paint brushes and other painting materials I use Dick Blick.

The cost of materials for a small ( 8x 10″) Icon can range from $120.00 – $200.00.  You will need red bole, prepared and gessoed Icon board, water color brushes, natural pigments, gold leaf, gilding materials , ruler, compass and the usual paper towels, pencils,etc.  Don’t forget the egg!

I supply all these for the Introduction classes but you may want to begin purchasing them on your own if you wish to continue writing Icons.