A Real Artist

Style and creativity.  I like these things, and I believe most people do.  Being a bit of a snob, my own sensibilities cringe at the mingling of plaids and stripes put together in someone’s attire.  I generally feel ill when I encounter kitsch that is put forward as proper household or exterior decor.  Therefore, I appreciate someone who knows how to put things together in a pleasing and creative manner.  It is especially appreciated when you know well such a creative person:  a real artist (not an artiste).  In this brief posting, let me introduce to you Andrea Fordice.  She is a multitalented artist, and now she adds to her resume, iconographer.  She is parishioner at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Tacoma, Washington — the parish I am blessed to serve as an assisting priest.

Andrea Ward Fordice

Andrea Ward Fordice

Andrea grew up in Wisconsin.  Her spiritual life began while in college, interestingly enough while at Utah’s BYU where she received a B. A. in Fine Arts.  Upon graduation she returned to her native Wisconsin, and began attending St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church.  “The interior was mesmerizing to me.  I was instantly drawn to the icons,” she states.  At this parish she briefly explored iconography of the Byzantine style.  Time passed and she moved to western Washington where she met her husband Ron, who is now the Rev. Deacon Luke, Fordice, and began their family.

While living in the Seattle, WA area she met Fr. Tom Tsagalakis, an iconographer himself, and commissioned him to write an icon of Christ Pantocrator (Almighty).  Andrea adds, “I looked at that icon every day for a few years yearning to try the art myself.”

A few years later, Andrea met an iconographer named Collette McHarry.  “She is an iconographer who paints in the Russian style.  I loved the richness of the Russian icons and found out that they were painted with the ancient egg tempera technique…I pushed her to teach a class that was attended by seven people.  I fell in love with the whole icon painting life.  I dabbled for the next few years.”

However, at the time, Andrea never went beyond the “dabbling phase.”  Prayerfulness and iconography go hand in hand.  I fact, no icon should be painted without the needed prayerfulness that must attend the loving process.  She discovered that as her dabbling increased so did her time in prayer.

While visiting a daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren in California, she met Fr. Luke Dingman, who “was gracious and allowed me to work with him on his Life of St. Lawrence icons that he is creating for his church.”  She became more involved, and began to immerse herself in the art form.  She states she has also learned a great deal about iconography from a master iconographer, Fr. Dimitriou, and fellow iconographer Pamelia Colvin (who also attends Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Tacoma).

Andrea adds this in summary:

Iconography has become my prayer life along with my sacramental life, and keeps me on an even keel as I struggle to contain my disappointment with the world.  Iconography reminds me that we are not to be of this world, but look to the Kingdom of God for our hope and contentment.  I am grateful to be able to  finally accept this after fifty-five years of life.

My family and I have known Andrea, her husband Deacon Luke Fordice, and their children for more than 15 years.  She and Deacon Luke were our sponsors when the Williams family was received into the Orthodox Church.  This friendship has been a great blessing to us for all these years.  Andrea gives permission to add her web address to this posting:  www.andreajward.com.  Additionally, please enjoy the following slide show which demonstrates her talent and prayerfulness.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Christ,
Fr. Irenaeus

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