Egg tempera and gold leaf on wood
18 x 24cm
Alana Thekla was first exposed to liturgical arts and iconography in conjunction with her introduction to the Orthodox Church. She was immediately struck by the harmonious interplay of sacred art, sound, and space that occurs during church services and the ability of this harmony to touch the soul and move it towards God and prayer.
Her appreciation for the beauty of the icon has led her to travels, pilgrimages, and practical study in different parts of the world including Greece, Russia, Macedonia, Georgia, the Holy Land and the Middle East.
She began her training in the United States through participation in short courses taught by Ksenia Pokrovsky and private instruction under Ann Margitich. Committed to learning the art, Alana Thekla relocated to Moscow, Russia in 2013 were she enrolled in the Department of Church Art at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University of Humanities. The following year she was accepted into the Moscow Theological Academy School of Iconography under the instruction of Natalia Evgenievna Aldoshina and graduated in 2019 with an emphasis on 14th-15th century Russian icons. Seeking to expand the breadth of her knowledge and gain experience in Greek iconography techniques, she began the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts Icon Certificate Programme taught by Aidan Hart that same year.
Alana Thekla’s love for iconography is deeply rooted in the Orthodox faith. Icons are not mere representational images of historical persons and events but a window through which one may encounter Christ and the saints in divine form. The process of creating these images from natural pigments on wood mirrors the theological concept of theosis (Greek: “making divine”) - a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God. God-given raw materials are taken and transformed; the creation is elevated and transfigured into the divine. And for the iconographer himself, the act of painting an icon becomes a transfigurational act, an act of prayer.
Alana Thekla currently resides with her husband in New York, USA where she continues to develop her skills in affiliation with the iconography studio at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY and through private commissions. She hopes undertake doctoral research in iconography at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts in the near future.