Studio “Heaven on Earth”

 

Studio “Heaven on Earth” was established in 2004 in Mikolaiv, Ukraine - a city where the Church and icon-painting traditions had gone by the wayside and where an opportunity was presented for both to be restored. In time the studio was transformed into an icon-painting school. Traditionally icon-painting was considered a male form of art. Of the many students who came  to the studio, a few women stayed on to work. Presently there are seven painters working at the studio: Sergiy Pavelko, Ksenia Glebova, Natalia Soboleva, Olga Nesterova, Konstantin Samoilenko, Olena Glebova and Maria Pavelko.   
Ancient techniques are the norm in the studio, and only natural materials are utilized: lime-tree and cherry-tree boards; “pavoloka” – canvas, glued to boards; “levky” – 4-15 layers of a special  mixture made from chalk and animal glue. Paints are hand made with natural minerals and pigments mixed with egg-emulsion (yolks and Holy water blessed on the twelfth day of Christmas - Epiphany). Traditional technologies of icon-painting are time-consuming and costly.  For example, Brazilian crystal, African malachite, and Ukrainian rare minerals - kerchenit and black tourmaline - are used to make paints. You will often see gilding and silvery on the icons. Even the hooks to fasten the icons are hand made. Although icons are not signed, one can easily recognize the authors' individual styles and the spiritual messages of their works. 
Father Sergiy Pavelko - the director of "Heaven and Earth"- feels that icon painting is not only about the mastering of the skill but also a spiritual deed, and that is the reason why so few artists can become true icon-painters. He believes that the icon nowadays is often mistakenly perceived as an occult decorative item of the interior or a fetish, rather than having spiritual meaning. Today icon painters see their task as teaching people the true meaning of the icon. Father Sergiy says “The icon is sometimes thought to have nothing new, existing simply for aid in the repetition of canons. In fact, the canon doesn’t limit but inspires one to seek out and accomplish something new in the name of God ”. To sense what the icon is destined for, we must engage ourselves in great spiritual work – turn to God.                                                
This group of young icon painters is gaining popularity in Ukraine and abroad. Icon painting has become of great interest to Europeans, and many icons from Studio "Heaven and Earth" have found their way into the homes and collections of people in Switzerland, Germany, France and Japan.

Studio “Heaven on Earth” was established in 2004 in Mikolaiv, Ukraine - a city where the Church and icon-painting traditions had gone by the wayside and where an opportunity was presented for both to be restored. In time the studio was transformed into an icon-painting school. Traditionally icon-painting was considered a male form of art. Of the many students who came  to the studio, a few women stayed on to work. Presently there are seven painters working at the studio: Sergiy Pavelko, Ksenia Glebova, Natalia Soboleva, Olga Nesterova, Konstantin Samoilenko, Olena Glebova and Maria Pavelko.   

Ancient techniques are the norm in the studio, and only natural materials are utilized: lime-tree and cherry-tree boards; “pavoloka” – canvas, glued to boards; “levky” – 4-15 layers of a special  mixture made from chalk and animal glue. Paints are hand made with natural minerals and pigments mixed with egg-emulsion (yolks and Holy water blessed on the twelfth day of Christmas - Epiphany). Traditional technologies of icon-painting are time-consuming and costly.  For example, Brazilian crystal, African malachite, and Ukrainian rare minerals - kerchenit and black tourmaline - are used to make paints. You will often see gilding and silvery on the icons. Even the hooks to fasten the icons are hand made. Although icons are not signed, one can easily recognize the authors' individual styles and the spiritual messages of their works. 

Father Sergiy Pavelko - the director of "Heaven and Earth"- feels that icon painting is not only about the mastering of the skill but also a spiritual deed, and that is the reason why so few artists can become true icon-painters. He believes that the icon nowadays is often mistakenly perceived as an occult decorative item of the interior or a fetish, rather than having spiritual meaning. Today icon painters see their task as teaching people the true meaning of the icon. Father Sergiy says “The icon is sometimes thought to have nothing new, existing simply for aid in the repetition of canons. In fact, the canon doesn’t limit but inspires one to seek out and accomplish something new in the name of God ”. To sense what the icon is destined for, we must engage ourselves in great spiritual work – turn to God.                                                

This group of young icon painters is gaining popularity in Ukraine and abroad. Icon painting has become of great interest to Europeans, and many icons from Studio "Heaven and Earth" have found their way into the homes and collections of people in Switzerland, Germany, France and Japan.