Although, I'm not an artist or painter, I created this beautiful icon of Mary Magdalene during my first-ever iconography workshop with Karen. I've continued taking one on one iconography lessons with Karen via Google Meet. These virtual sessions have greatly improved my technique and resulted in captivating icons.

St. Mary Magdalene
Archangel Gabriel
John the Baptist
Mary, South Dakota
Matthew icon 1

"I never thought I would be capable of doing something like this in my life! I do not have an artistic bone in my body nor the world's steadiest hand. However, the time learning with Karen about the tradition, theology and techniques of iconography has not only made me appreciate the icons in my Church, but has significantly improved my own dexterity, skill and understanding of the techniques that go into the icons themselves. In just a short period of time, I've gone from a complete stranger to iconography to now having written the icons of St. John Cassian and The Three Handed Virgin. The line work, highlighting, form and many other parts of the process have all vastly improved thanks to Karen's good instruction and God's grace.

Matthew icon 2

Even in workshop environments, Karen does her best to ensure that every student finishes the workshop with a work deemed worthy to take home, and with instructional techniques you will remember the next time you go to work on an icon. I would happily recommend her to anyone who is looking to get started, or wants to learn more about the fine details and history of these holy images!

Matthew, TX
Susanna G. icon

Taking the icon workshop changed my life! Our subject was Mary Magdalene whose life was changed by Christ. Yes, changed because I completed a very hard task, painting. There was a moment where I was going to give up, but I rallied, asked for help from God and realized if I was ever faced again with a new task, a new situation, a new difficulty, I just might pull through if I stay and don’t run.

Thank you, Karen!

My note: Susanna’s gift is music – the Lord gave her a beautiful voice! She had never really had much exposure to any kind of art and she challenged herself to take an icon workshop. My mantra in class is always the same, “Trust the Process.” This applies to life as well! Workshops are never about an art project! We are all in a process with our Creator. When we humble ourselves and persevere, the Lord transfigures us into something beautiful, into His image. Workshops are ultimately about what particular lesson each student needs at that moment. I love seeing students have these spiritual breakthroughs!

Susanna G., Belen, NM
John icon

Thought you might like to see the St. Francis print framed. Nice connection (and result) from the woman working at Michael's in ABQ, who gets to follow her passion and talent, and spread joy even if she doesn't have her own equipment and shop. At least that is what was stirred in our meetings and overflowed to other clients in line. Yes, I feel these icons are portals that lead to the quickening of the Holy Spirit within each and all, and then the illusory barriers disappear and love flows naturally. Thank you.

Janie icon

After completing the Introduction to Techniques class, I arranged to take a private (customized) 8-day icon writing class with Karen at her home studio. I’m so glad I did! The studio is light and bright yet cozy. The accommodations are clean, comfortable, and quiet. And the open kitchen where I prepared my own meals is a terrific bonus!

The customized class worked well for me, not only because I received great one-on-one instruction, but also because I was able to work at my own pace without the pressure of a workshop schedule. Being able to take my time on my first icon was important to me, because prior to taking the Techniques class, I had never held a brush. But by carefully following the process and doing all the steps that Karen patiently guided me through, I finished my icon and am pleased with the results. I enjoyed the experience so much that I plan to take the Pigments as Personalities class next, and I look forward to taking other workshops.

Thank you, Karen!

Janie J., Corrales, NM
Jill icon

You cannot fail when creating an icon with Karen Smart. As a very accomplished iconographer, she can guide you every step of the way. Her class is casual, friendly, and all levels of ability will do well there. The icon I created under Karen's instruction has received lots of admiration."

Jill H., Tijeras, NM