About

For the last twenty years, Symeon has worked to create sacred icons of profound beauty for churches and homes across the US, Canada and Europe. He currently lives with his family in Central Alberta and works as a full-time, professional artist.

Symeon’s artwork has a unique style—offering simplicity and stillness in its vision, as well as a love of colour evident in its gem-like hues. As an iconographic artist, he was trained in the Greek/Byzantine expression of iconography. However, Symeon’s own temperament draws him more towards the wonder-informing styles such as the Romanesque or ancient Coptic, where the revelation of divine reality isn’t limited to naturalistic expression. Instead, in his work, we experience visual art that moves beyond nature and symbol to a direct expression of knowing and experience in its own right. Through the gravitas of his style, Symeon brings the real presence of Jesus Christ and his saints—those men and women fully alive in the Spirit—into the lives of those living today.

Symeon’s painted icons can be found in chapels and churches across Canada and the US, as well as in the homes of people around the world. His work also blesses the homes of many in the form of high-quality art prints, which the studio makes in-house in order to ensure that they remain accessible to everyone regardless of their earthly means.

Building The Altar of Mt. Carmel

At present, the studio is blessed to be building an altar for the Mt. Carmel Spirituality Centre outside Edmonton, Alberta. If you’d like to see the altar’s progress, please feel free to view the regularly updated photo journal of it’s building found here: Building the Altar of Mt. Carmel

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I really haven’t had a lot of experience turning wood on a lathe, but after a morning of doing so I think I quite like it. Best of all, the wood blanks turned out looking great. Now all that’s left is cutting and fitting them to the altar’s main legs …

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Recent Icon Articles

The Return of our Icon Prints

The Return of our Icon Prints

This summer at Red Earth Icons has been focused on a project: To reintroduce the studio’s fine art icon prints. After the move to Alberta last year, all the papers and equipment used to create our prints stayed in their moving boxes while the space took shape and other work in the studio took precedence.

Saints Zenaida and Philonella

Saints Zenaida and Philonella

Sts. Zenaida and PhilonellaThe Charitable Physicians— October 11th — The story of Zenaida and Philonella is not well known in the Catholic Church, but it really should be. These two early Christian saints were bright, intelligent women who are the first canonized medical doctors for their work as physicians in the church. Through them we

The Angel in The Fiery Furnace

The Angel in The Fiery Furnace

In sketching a cartoon for the icon of the Fiery Furnace, I found that it divided quite naturally into three horizontal layers. In the centre layer were the three young men and their prayerful worship of God. As my pencil moved to the upper third of the icon’s drawing, The Angel of the Lord began

The Story of The Fiery Furnace Icon

The Story of The Fiery Furnace Icon

In the Book of Daniel, there is an account of four young men who are forcibly taken from their home in Jerusalem to serve in the Babylonian courts after the city falls to the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar. The most famous youth is Daniel himself, whose exploits are recorded throughout the book, but in the third chapter, we also have an account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—his countrymen and fellow captives. The icon of The Fiery Furnace centres on the story of these young men.


Kind Words

His Icons lead one into a renewed Spirit of reverence and celebration.

It is my honor and my privilege to offer this testimonial of Symeon van Donkelaar’s Iconography. His style is elegant and simple and leads one to an experience of effulgence. His use of natural coloring is lustrous and gratifying. Following the traditional cannons of Iconography, he is true to the ancient traditions while offering new and notable interpretations. His Icons lead one into a renewed Spirit of reverence and celebration.
Fr. Edward J Tomasiewicz
Of blessed memory. Retired faculty member, DePaul University.

His icons are distinctive and beautiful …

Symeon’s philosophy, his insistence on local color, speaks to the incarnation: as God took on a specific body in a specific place, Symeon’s work is rooted in its particular location. His icons are distinctive and beautiful, at once otherworldly and folksy, both transcendent and intensely human. Grounded in time and place, these beautiful icons testify to God’s presence in our world, here and now.
Elissa Bjeletich
Author and podcaster

Symeon’s artwork calls us to a more profound regard for our fragile world.

The Incarnation calls us to a deep regard for all creatures, the beauty of flora and fauna, indeed, the earth under our feet. The earth we walk on is a reliquary and the minerals and colours of each particular place a sacred treasure. Symeon’s artwork, drawing as it does on the local palette of the land, calls each of us to a more profound regard for our fragile world, and deeper attention to the Holy Spirit who “is everywhere present and fillest all things”.
David J. Goa
Founding Director, Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life