In 2003 I had an accidental but providential conversation with Susan Maxwell, Headmistress of our school at Sheridan Rd in Chicago. Eventually the subject of my icon ministry came up. I mentioned my desire to do one of our two saints at the moment of the mission to America. Susan was delighted and said the school would commission one - a large one - for their chapel. So our two desires coincided perfectly.
I thoroughly enjoyed researching Society history as well as the clothing (especially the hats) and sailing ships of the early nineteenth century. While painting, I felt immersed in the scene, prayed to each of our saints for guidance–and for patience: this is a 3 x 4 foot wooden panel, requiring a specially elevated table and another pair of hands (not readily available) to set the icon upright for critique. With egg tempera one cannot use an easel because the thin washes would run right down the surface. Because I could not reach the top of the icon except from either side, I sometimes resorted to painting upside down with a mirror!
Patricia Tighe Reid rscj