The artwork for John the Baptist is complete! Well, more or less. There's always things that could be touched-up. The remaining step is to varnish the icon to seal the paint, and to finish the backside, which also requires sealant and mounting hardware.
John the Baptist is an enigmatic figure in biblical history. He was either a mad prophet, a friend of Jesus Christ, a fairly close relative, or some combination of those. He was famous for baptising people to cleanse their sins, and he came to baptise Jesus. He also lived in the desert and wore animal pelts for clothing and ate local plants and locusts for food.
John is likely the hairiest of the saints, which was one reason why I chose to write his icon. I wanted to gain experience rendering byzantine hair styles. The beard an moustache represent a fairly strict adherence to the proper technique, the clothing is the minimal allowed in byzantine brushwork, and the mane of hair is experimental on my part.
In iconography, the colour blue is symbolic of the earthbound nature of man. Holy people wear blue to indicate that they have terrestrial origins. In this case, it looks as if John had killed and skinned the Cookie Monster. Obviously, that's not the case here. Nonetheless, if Cookie and John walked into the desert together, I figure I know which would come out wearing a cloak made out of whom. John was a tough man.
Merry Christmas to all of my JSVB readers, and also to the automated bots that keep checking on my blog. Bots need love too! Maybe that will make them less ornery.