Writing the Light


SUMMER SCHOOL | Crete 2024

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September 15 — 25, 2024

A 10-day immersion class with Mihai Coman held at the famous Putna Monastery, Romania







This unique course is a rare immersion in learning the ancient techniques of Buon Fresco wall painting while staying in one of the most famous monasteries in Romania.  The Putna Monastery is well-known in all of Europe as an important spiritual, historical and cultural landmark.

Along with the residency instruction will be various excursions to see and gain exposure to the current work of contemporary iconographers of the local region as well as visits to see nearby ancient churches and many examples of Romanian sacred art.  The active observation of various iconographers as they work on current church projects is a special additional learning benefit to the workshop.

Participants will live in a simple monastic setting, explore various local churches and receive training on how to draw and paint on a large scale using the ancient Buon Fresco painting technique.


Specifically the course will cover:

  1. Painting as an organic part of the temple – the relationship of Iconographic themes and architectural forms with the temple as a holistic synthesis in a reference to Divine Liturgy.
  2. Drawing on a large scale. Participants will draw with charcoal on large scale paper both faces and a small composition.
  3. Painting a large scale face of Christ Pantocrator using the Buon Fresco technique.
  4. Other various drawing exercises and compositions based on the onsite and local church examples.
  5. An in-depth look at materials and various techniques of wall-painting with considerations between ancient and contemporary church painting.


The daily schedule will allow ample free time and also encourage independent drawing inspired from various churches or on independent themes for a retreat-style experience with a balance of instructor feedback and oversight.  The hands-on workshop will average 4 – 6 hours daily of direct instruction in large-scale drawing and Buon Fresco painting from Mihai Coman balanced with the excursions to various important churches, galleries and museums.  Mihai will be joined by his assistant and the Writing the Light Program Director to complement the learning experience. Beginners to advanced iconographers welcomed. 

Learn more about instructor Mihai Coman here.

maximum of 16 people can be accepted into this program.



Exclusively in Romanian language, the documentary gives a beautiful impression of the daily life at the Putna Monastery.  Our residency will truly be a unique cultural experience in tandem with the learning experience.



Daily schedule, OVERVIEW: 

8.00-9.00 breakfast

9.00-12.00 working hours

12.00-13.00 lunch

13.00-17.00 working hours

17.00-19.30 free time

19.30 or 20.30 dinner


Daily Worship options:

17.00 – vespers (evening prayers)

19.40 – compline (bedtime prayers)

4.30 – nocturne (midnight prayers), matins (morning prayers), 

7.30 – holy liturgy 



Day 0 – 15.09.2024 arrival — TRAVEL DAY

Arrive at Putna Monastery from Suceava Airport in the afternoon by monastery van transport.  Check-in to individual lodging, tour the monastery, group dinner and welcome talk.


Day 1 – 16.09.2024

Presentation of true fresco technique (technique, materials – lime plaster, colors, brushes)

Afternoon excursion to Patrauti monastery


Day 2 – 17.09.2024

Introductory class for drawing, preparing drawings for a bust saint — same size as future wall painting (all-day).


Day 3 – 18.09.2024

Excursion: visit current church painting project in nearby region of contemporary Romanian iconographers


Day 4 – 19.09.2024

Instructor demonstrates painting a bust saint on wall in fresco technique with explanations

Afternoon – students prepare wall for next day


Day 5 – 20.09.2024

Transferring the drawing on the wall

Painting garments


Day 6 – 21.09.2024

Painting the portrait and other details


Day 7 – Sunday 22.09.2024

Afternoon excursion to Sucevița and Moldovita monasteries

Dinner out

Assistants prepare wall for next days exercise


Day 8 – 23.09.2024

Painting a second exercise on the wall – fresco (probably another bust saint)


Day 9 – 24.09.2024

Finish painting second exercise on the wall – fresco 

Pack and closing dinner


Day 10 – 25.09.2024 – departure, TRAVEL DAY

Participants will depart by van at around 9am to arrive at Suceava Airport by 10:30am.

Please expect a few minor adjustments to the schedule based on excursion availability which will be updated with participants as we near the residency.


Full Tuition: 1,500 Euros (a non-refundable 400 Euro deposit is required if you are offered a spot, and is the first payment towards full tuition)

After a deposit is made, the first payment installment of 550 Euros will be made in April with a final installment in June of 550 Euros.

Note that the Lodging and Meals fee is paid separately to the Putna Monastery around August 1st (you will receive specific instructions for making their payment in mid-July).  See more information further below.


  • The 400 Euros deposit is non-refundable, but transferable if we are notified prior to June 1st, 2024.

  • Should you need to cancel attendance, you will receive a refund for any balance paid minus the deposit with the deposit turning into usable credit towards other programs of Writing the Light only if we are notified prior to June 1st, 2024. If you cancel your attendance after June 1st, you will forfeit your deposit, and will only be refunded your remaining amount paid plus an additional fee of 100 euros taken out of any tuition remainder to be refunded to you unless you decide to move all your tuition to another program in the future — in this case, you will only incur a 100 euro withdrawal and transfer penalty. We will work as generously as possible with students, handled on a case-by-case basis.


Putna Monastery Lodging and Meals Fee: (varies, see below)

This separate fee will include options for modest lodging (bunk-style apartment or simple shared/single rooms) along with most meals while at the Monastery (three meals a day), and transport to and from Putna Monastery and the nearest airport — Suceava (SCV).

The lodging is very clean and basic.  Students should expect a simple, monastic experience.

Students are welcome to have a spouse or friend accompany them as a non-workshop participant and they will only pay the lodging and meals fee.  A questionnaire will be sent to students in May in regards to the lodging preference and if there is a spouse or friend joining as well any dietary restrictions.

All indicated prices include the daily meals of breakfast, lunch & dinner at the monastery.
 (two sleeping rooms each with two to three beds per room bunk-style and one shared bath):
One For Men — (4 to 5 persons)
One For Women — (4 to 5 persons)
40 Euros per person/per night (Total 400 Euros Per Person)
2 beds and a private bath
To choose:
1. 50 euros per person/per night for 2 persons sharing* (2 beds only) (Total 500 Euros Per Person)
2. 75 euros per person/per night for private room use (Total 750 Euros Per Person)


NOTE: if opting to share a simple room with another person, you will be able to designate who you wish to share with or we will pair you with someone. Requests can also be made for the apartment option if attending with a small group.

The Lodging & Meals fee will be paid directly to the Monastery a few months before the residency towards the end of July (non-refundable).  We will give instructions on how to secure the payment directly to the monastery at the appropriate time.

All food at the Putna Monastery is grown or raised by the monks themselves.  One should expect high quality, healthy meals in line with an Orthodox diet.


MATERIALS: Students must bring a sketch pad and drawing tools.  A small materials fee will be charged to cover icon board, pigments, lyme and mediums for Buon Fresco painting along with a personal set of brushes to use and keep (to expect the equivalent of 60 additional euros, paid around the time of the lodging and meals fee in July, closer to the residency).  Students will be able to keep drawings and possibly a piece of their wall painting, but in general, the main buon fresco learning experience made on the walls of the monastery will not be able to be taken home.

Any meals during excursions outside the monastery will need to be covered by the individual (only to expect one or two on excursion days).

To Register:

Please fill out the basic form (through the red registration button at the top of the page) which will automatically begin the process.

You will then be notified and billed through PayPal by Cinnabar.  



Please email Keri at info.writingthelight@gmail.com if you have any questions.


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