Featured Artist Christine Simoneau Hales | Artsy Shark

Artist Christine Simoneau Hales presents a collection of religious icon paintings based on historic tradition. See more of her portfolio by visiting her website.

religious icon painting of the holy family

“Burning Bush Icon” egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 12″ x 9”

Even as a young girl growing up in Massachusetts, I loved going to church. It was so beautiful there, so peaceful and filled with a sense of hope and joy. I was very fortunate that my two high school art teachers encouraged me to apply to art college at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. I couldn’t have been more surprised when I was accepted!

religious icon painting of the prophet Elijah

“Elijah and the Raven Icon” egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 12″ x 9”

I loved art college and felt that I had found my tribe and focus for life. And I’ve pretty much maintained that focus all my life. Through the years, I always preferred to do minor jobs so that I could keep my focus on painting. In the 1980’s I had a loft in Chelsea, New York City. There I painted and studied classical ballet for several years.

Religious icon painting Daniel in the Lion's Den

“Daniel in the Lion’s Den” egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 12″ x 9”

In New York City, I was a single mom. Often rising at 4:00am to paint until 8:00 when my son went to school, I then went to work as a photographer’s agent. It was a very difficult life, but I always felt it important to keep my focus on my art, since it was the most important part of me. I wanted my son to learn that you should never give up on your dreams.

painting of St. Joan of Arc

“Saint Joan of Arc” acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24”

Fast forward to the 1990’s when I married my second husband, who was a great photographer. He took me on a photo trip to visit convents and abbeys in France for a book he was working on. At a beautiful convent in France, I met Sister Myriam. She introduced me to the art of painting icons. I felt so awestruck and excited that I had found a way to embrace my love of church with my art!

icon painting of St. Francis

“Saint Francis Icon” egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 10″ x 8”

Since then, I have studied with great iconographers and learned how to paint in the ancient Byzantine tradition. I use egg tempera and gold leaf gilding on specially prepared wood panels, just as they did in the tenth century. Now, twenty years later, I am teaching iconography to many people all over the world. I’m helping them to include their prayer life with their art-making practice.

religious icon painting Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our L:ady of Guadalupe Icon” egg tempera and gold leaf on wood panel, 60 “ x 48”

For me, religious art-making, both icons and paintings, help me to continue that beautiful feeling I recognized as a child in the church. There is peace, love and holiness in the art that I create. I believe that the very best art gives the viewer a glimpse of heaven, an inspiration of hope, joy and a reason to carry on in this life.

artist Christine Hales painting in studio

Artist Christine Simoneau Hales working in her studio

Sharing my art at commercial galleries also gives me the opportunity to explore issues related to faith, spirituality, tradition and community within a more secular genre of landscapes and animal paintings that are both mystical and beautiful. Many viewers love the softness and mystical elements in my paintings, which they say brightens their day!

Christine Simoneau Hales invites you to follow on Facebook and Instagram

Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Click below to sign up for our twice-monthly email. You’ll get all this plus opportunities and special offers that you can’t get anywhere else!

More from author

Related posts

Latest posts