St. Joseph’s Art Workshop


This Workshop is under the patronage of St. Joseph the carpenter, the master builder and protector of the Holy Family.

The purpose of this Menu Tab entitled St. Joseph’s Art Workshop is to discuss and present examples of step-by-step construction of sacred images in the Latin Rite tradition. I will post the Workshop lesson steps within this Menu Tab and not on this site’s regular Home page. I will notify viewers and surfers of the availability of a new post through the Home Page.

I desire to present an easy method for the painter to view construction steps and easily scroll up and down within this Tab to see previous or later steps without leaving this Tab itself. This will prevent the viewer from encountering the potential difficulties of searching within this blog’s Home page that are filled with other posts on a variety of issues. I hope to take you through an entire step-by-step creation of a sacred image.

This Workshop Tab will begin with the explanation of required materials and constructing a sacred image from beginning to end using acrylic paints. After finishing the first sacred image I will  progress to building an image using egg tempera paints (egg yolk binder plus natural earth and mineral pigments). The future will bring the use of watercolor in creating sacred images of the Romanesque, Gothic, and modern period.

Please notice that I am not using the term “icon” within this Tab. My reasoning: the Greek Rite of the Catholic Church, and many other associated churches in the Orthodox and Eastern Rites, use the term “icon” to represent an image constructed according to certain principles and in a very specific and traditional way. I respect their right to claim the necessity of keeping true to their Canon of iconography within the Orthodox Tradition, and thus, only name a painting an icon if its elements conform to that Tradition.  Other artists within this field of sacred art disagree with me about that point-of-view and it is their right to do so. Please read my post of April 2, 2018 on The Canon of a Catholic Sacred Artist (located in the Home page), it will help you put some of these issues in perspective.

Thus, this Tab’s pages will be presented as a free on-line “workshop.” I am happy to share with the interested artist or “budding artist” the information and experiences that I have had within this illuminating and prayerful field of sacred art. My explanations and sacred images will reflect my interpretation of painting within the Western tradition of sacred art. I do this as an ordained deacon of the Latin Rite, that is, the Roman Catholic Church. I do not claim to teach the methods or opinions of my teachers within this area of sacred art.

Some of my sacred images are in the style of an icon; however, at times I may not follow traditional rules, such as the exclusive use of certain materials, board preparation, etc. I will attempt to explain the differences as we progress through our experiences in the Workshop.

The first post associated with the Workshop  is currently under construction with more to follow. Because of the nature of a workshop these posts, within this Tab, will be short and to the point. I will post a brief message on the Home Page to inform my subscribers and those surfing the web, that a new post is to be found in the Menu’s St. Joseph’s Art Workshop Tab. As mentioned before, The St. Joseph’s Art Workshop will be available as a continuous scroll so the viewer can refer back to previous posts and refresh their memories on the steps and materials discussed. Please continue to scroll down to read other posts in this Tab, I usually notify of an update around every seven to ten days to give the participating artist the opportunity to finish a particular lesson within this First Exercise of painting a sacred image.

This St. Joseph’s Art Workshop will not be a place for speculation or theorizing. It will be a site that will offer my insights on materials, methods, experiences, and suggestions. I desire it to be helpful to the viewer in building their own sacred image from “the ground up.” Hopefully, it will be a foundation for the participants artistic development and further study. The first post within this tab will be published during the weeks of April 2018.

March 26, 2018                © Deacon Paul O. Iacono 2011-2018

PAINTING A SACRED IMAGE  –  Lesson # 1: Getting Organized! – Required Materials!

  1.  Required Materials, Part 1:
  2. In order to paint a sacred image a number of basic  materials are required. 
  3. Your paints will either be the paint line entitled “Jo Sonja” by Chroma, or, “Golden.” Jo Sonja is a good quality acrylic paint that is economical for the beginning artist. I would recommend paints by “Golden” if you would like to increase the quality of your paint and be able to pick them up at an A.C. Moore or a Michael’s store. I recommend the Golden paint in small squeeze bottles.
  4. The blue bottle is medicine dropper bottle that you will use to apply small amounts of distilled water to your paint cup. The bottle labeled “Flow Medium” is used to add small drops of this product to your paint in order for the paint to “flow,” that is, be applied in a smooth fashion. The little glass jar is used to wash out your brushes between colors. I use small glass jars, with distilled water in them, so I can wash out a brush filled with Titanium White and not get the brush contaminated with the water from an Ultramarine Blue. No worries if such things don’t bother you.
  5. The brush selection is critical. You will need the brush shape called “Round,” in sizes, “00,” and a # 2, 6, 8. The brand that I recommend is either Winsor and Newton, or (my favorite) Dynasty”s Faux Squirrel. Both of these brands, as well as the paints, may be obtained from  I also have a goat hair brush by Loew-Cornell, with the title “Maxine’s Mop” in a 1/2 inch size. This is a great brush to smooth out and blend paint with delicate vertical strokes. Check out Maxine Thomas’ YouTube videos on different techniques she uses with her brushes. I had difficulty finding these brushes in AC Moore or Michael’s. I eventually found them on Amazon.
  6. I highly suggest, that you obtain a “ruling pen,” a compass (good quality, as shown in photo) a “Tuff Stuff” eraser stick by Papermate, and a larger white eraser for pencil, and an inexpensive plastic 12 inch T-square (T-square cost: $5.00 at Staples). Your pencils should come from an inexpensive drawing set available at Dick Blick stores. I will provide you with a list of paint colors you will need, too. I have dealt with DicK Blick’s on-line store for many years. They are an American company based out of Illinois. I have spoken with them on the phone and on-line and they have always been reliable and courteous. It is fine if you like other on-line stores. A few that come to mind are Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff out of North Carolina, and of course, Amazon.



6.  Required Materials, Part 2: IMG_0765

I highly recommend this company for your wooden panel on which you will paint your sacred image. The name of the company is Innerglow Painting Panels. They are based out of Pennsylvania. Their website is; phone number is 1-877-430-3639 (toll free). The size that I recommend for the sacred image that you will paint is a board that measures 9″ by 12″ and is 1/2″ thick.

Don’t worry if  you call and get a machine. Just give them your telephone number and they will call back, or, deal directly with them on-line. They are courteous and efficient, too. Why do I recommend this panel? It is because, even though you may be a beginner, you will be proud of the sacred image you eventually will produce. Your first attempt deserves to be secure and preserved on a quality board. The cost is very reasonable;  check the website for their current prices (I believe the current price for a 9″ by 12″ is $10. )

You should visit their website because they provide a thorough description of how they make their panels. These panels are for all media except egg tempera paints. Their products are all wood and safe. They have a very thin coat of what appears to be acrylic white on them when they are shipped to you. It is permanent and doesn’t affect the paint that you will put on top of it.

April 15, 2018                © Deacon Paul O. Iacono 2011-2018

7) Required Materials, Part 3:

From Dick Blick’s Art Supplies Website ( I am providing you with a list of Jo Sonja paints by Chroma because, for the beginning artist, they are good quality paints while being inexpensive, too. If you would rather use Golden’s pigments, and/or mix and match, that’s fine, too. All acrylic paint is compatible across all companies. Make sure you purchase an acrylic medium to provide you with a medium other than water because you need the medium to act as an adhesive to flow the paint and act as a binder of the pigment to the board. Golden’s Cadmium Red Medium Hue in 2 oz. squeeze bottles is a necessary color for this first sacred image.  Remember, A.C. Moore and Michael’s Craft shops provide you with an array of Golden colors, brushes, and mediums if that is easier for you, however, it will be slightly more expensive.

From the Dick Blick website: “Chroma’s Jo Sonja colors are flow formula acrylics. The colors are highly opaque, with excellent covering power and a beautiful velvet matte finish. Their colors are popular for decorating practically every surface from paper and canvas to wood, cardstock, terra cotta, metal, fabric, ceramics, glass, and some plastics. They conform to ASTM Quality Standard D-4302. All products in the range are compatible and clean up with mild soap and cool water.”

Mediums: 1) Flow Medium — When mixed with Jo Sonja colors, the paint flows better for long strokes, liner work, calligraphy, and airbrushing. 2) All Purpose Sealer — This pure acrylic coating can be used as a surface “primer” to seal a wide variety of materials (including wood, metal, and glass) and to help the paint adhere better. There is no need to seal the piece first because the sealer is mixed directly with the color, so it goes on as you add a base coat or decorate. 3) Clear Glazing Medium — Transform Jo Sonja’s paints into transparent colors for glazing, for creating wood stains, or for special glaze painting techniques. The transparent color allows the underlying color or the wood grain to remain visible beneath the glaze layer.”


1) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Yellow Oxide, 2.5 oz tube  Item#: 00722-4114       $3.07

2) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Warm White, 2.5 oz tube  Item#: 00722-1784       $3.07

3) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Vermilion, 2.5 oz tube      Item#: 00722-3764         $3.07

4) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Ultramarine Blue Deep, 2.5 oz    Item#: 00722-5134       $3.07

5) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Titanium White, 2.5 oz tube     Item#: 00722-1704          $3.07

6) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Storm Blue, 2.5 oz tube             Item#: 00722-5914           $3.07

7) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Sap Green, 2.5 oz tube               Item#: 00722-7094           $3.07

8) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Red Earth, 2.5 oz tube               Item#: 00722-3734            $3.07

9) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Raw Umber, 2.5 oz tube          Item#: 00722-8074             $3.07

10) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Raw Sienna, 2.5 oz tube         Item#: 00722-8064             $3.07

11) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Purple Madder, 2.5 oz tube   Item#: 00722-6414             $4.94

12) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Permanent Alizarine, 2.5 oz  Item#: 00722-3394             $4.94

13) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Pacific Blue, 2.5 oz tube         Item#: 00722-5014              $3.07

14)  Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Norwegian Orange, 2.5 o   Item#: 00722-4504                 $3.07

15) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Naples Yellow Hue, 2.5 oz Item#: 00722-4244                   $3.07

16) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Naphthol Red Light, 2.5 oz  Item#: 00722-3194                 $3.07

17) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Green Oxide, 2.5 oz          Item#: 00722-7374                    $3.07

18) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Gold Oxide, 2.5 oz tube   Item#: 00722-9004                      $3.07

19) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Carbon Black, 2.5 oz            Item#: 00722-2124                  $3.07

20) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Cadmium Yellow Medium, 2.5 oz  Item#: 00722-4094     $6.23

21) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Cadmium Yellow Light, 2.5 oz tube   Item#: 00722-4074  $6.23

22) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Cadmium Orange, 2.5 oz tube  Item#: 00722-4534            $6.23 This item is Backordered – Expected 05/16/2018

23) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Burnt Umber, 2.5 oz            Item#: 00722-8054                  $3.07

24) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Burnt Sienna, 2.5 oz tube    Item#: 00722-8044                  $3.07

25) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Burgundy, 2.5 oz tube   Item#: 00722-3144                         $3.07 This pigment is currently stocked but only 10 Available, Order Soon…

26) Jo Sonja’s Artist Acrylic – Antique Green, 2.5 oz tube      Item#: 00722-7924              $3.07

If you purchased all the pigments in this list, cost of pigments is:                            $93.00

*** Remember to buy your brushes, the board, a bottle of Jo Sonja Flow Medium: 8 oz. Item #: 00712-1055  Cost: $5.55; and The Sealant is highly recommended –                    Item #: 00712-1045, All Purpose Sealer, 8 oz., Cost: $6.17. You may want to buy their medium that makes their colors more transparent, since they are manufactured to be opaque: Item #  0712-1005 Clear Glazing Medium, 8 oz.,  Cost:   $7.10.

Estimated Shipping and Taxes: TBD

They ship to United States and internationally – 

INTERNATIONAL PHONE +1-309-343-6181 EXT. 5402 · FAX (800) 621-8293

Within the USA: DICK BLICK ART MATERIALS · P.O. BOX 1267 · GALESBURG, IL 61402-1267 · TOLL-FREE PHONE (800) 828-4548  

DICK BLICK ART MATERIALS · P.O. BOX 1267 · GALESBURG, IL 61402-1267 · TOLL-FREE PHONE (800) 828-4548 INTERNATIONAL PHONE +1-309-343-6181 EXT. 5402 · FAX (800) 621-8293