Local painter creates icons for the Church of the Holy Trinity

Local painter creates icons for the Church of the Holy Trinity
Lori Feeney

Deacon Lyn Houze with the artist, Teresa Prince. The church will host two meet-the-artist sessions in June.


The Church of the Holy Trinity has a couple of new features to welcome back parishioners this spring: two icons painted by local artist Teresa Prince.

A deacon in the church, Lyn Houze, said he began discussing the idea of Prince painting something for the church with her a couple of years ago, and the pandemic brought about the perfect timing.

“As people came back from the year of the coronavirus, we didn’t want them to come back to the same old place,” Houze said.

One icon is of the virgin Mary, representing the incarnation. At the top are the names of the three churches that came together to form Holy Trinity in 1995.

Houze explained the reference for the second icon. “One of our first pastors, Fr. Mike Nimocks, had a Holy Card made to celebrate the anniversary of the Feast Day July 11, 2000. This card had an icon of the Holy Trinity on it from Genesis 18:1-8.”

According to a description written by Houze, the icon illustrates the day God appeared to Abraham and Sarah near the tree of Mamre as three men. Abraham and Sarah invited them to a meal.

“And while the three ate in infinite hospitality and utter enjoyment, we see the Trinity is about relationships. The Holy One in the form of three. The open side of the table suggests we all are invited to a place at the table,” Houze said.

Houze’s writing described the colors used in the icons. “There are three primary colors,” he said. “Gold is the color of the Father — perfection, fullness, wholeness, the ultimate source. Blue is the color of the Human — both the sea and sky mirroring one another and, therefore, God in Christ taking on the world and humanity. Green is the color of the Spirit in reverence for the natural world that grows everything from within by transforming light into itself, the work of the Holy Spirit.”

Working on a large scale

Prince explained how she went about painting the large icons using house paints. “I’m a house painter, and I repurpose everything,” Prince said. “I mix my own colors using what I have. I do a lot of layering of colors, so there are at least three or four colors used in the shadowing and highlighting.”

Prince painted the icons on a substance called MetalMax, a very thin metal. “I didn’t want them to look like signs,” she said. “This looks like they’re painted right onto the wall.”

Prince said they chose MetalMax rather than painting on the walls because Holy Trinity will be building a new church sanctuary. “Once it’s built, the icons can simply be moved there,” she said.

The lower portion of each icon measures 56-by-76 inches. The arching top piece on each adds another 24 inches. “I made a template for the arch piece and put that on top to make it look almost like a window,” Prince said.

According to Prince, each painting took about a month to complete. She started with large sketches. “Getting sketches to scale for something that large is a big challenge,” she said. “After the sketches were complete, I dismantled them into pieces to use as templates, especially for the large figures, to get them placed where I wanted them.”

Working on a large scale is nothing new to Prince. “I paint Victorian houses,” she said. “I’ve painted four of five of the big Victorians on South Broadway in New Phila.”

Prince is currently creating authentic war poster murals throughout Dennison and Uhrichsville. She never went to art school, but she said she has been painting houses since she was 8 or 9 years old. She did it mostly because she had four brothers who were all afraid to get up on the ladder to paint the house. “So I did it,” she said.

Meet the artist June 12 and 13

Holy Trinity will hold a meet-the-artist event after mass on Saturday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, June 13 at noon.

“Very seldom do you get to meet the artist, and we’d like people to have a chance to do that,” Houze said.

The event will be open to the public, not just those who attend Holy Trinity. The church is located at 1835 Dover-Zoar Road NE in Bolivar.

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