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Jeannette van Uffelen has been drawing since she was very young and was known for doing it well since nursery school. Not that she paid that much attention to what others said about it. She just loved to do it and now she says: ‘When you do it a lot you can become good at something.’

She was a handicraft girl and loves to learn all the ways to create beautiful things, from knitting and sculpture to mozaic floors. Once someone saw her portraits and offered her to take over her professional business in portrait painting. Never really seriously was inspired to make it a profession, but she was always making something.

In the times she spent in Greece, where she loved to walk and visit little churches far away on the mountains, Jeannette felt the desire to learn the technique of iconwriting.

Jeannette vU4Some years ago she found Martin Mandaliev, who came to The Hague to do the Royal Academy of Art and is the 4th generation of a Bulgarian family with a long tradition in iconwriting. He lives and works nearby and so she’s got to learn all about icons, traditions, styles and finding her own. And because she loves also to make good digital stuff she made a professional website for Martin. Sharing talents.

Jeannette wanted to learn ALL about it, so she also took some time to prepair her boards in different sizes.


“I visit churches because of the sounds, the smells and the pictures. It’s not about the institute, but the gathering of people searching for silence, meditation,  and sharing some peace. The acoustic in most churches is amazing, so I sing there. Blessing of an icon is part of the ritual. This priest, who also paints icons in Martin’s class, does byzantine service in a catholic church once  a year.”