The Holy Experience of Art

A four-part series by Liturgical Artist Symeon van Donkelaar at the Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre is pleased to invite you to a series of talks exploring the role of the visual arts in the World, the Church, and at Home. Beginning with a broad overview of the way in which good

New artwork for the Icons at Home Project

The paintings planned for the Faith at Home project represent a significant development for my work at the Red Earth Iconography studio. For the past 20 years, the studio’s work has been focused on creating original icons painted in egg tempera on handmade wooden panels and gilded with gold leaf for churches and homes across

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

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

Dirt to Divinity Presentation

I’ve been invited to give a public talk by the University of Toronto Art History Department about my work as an artist and iconographer on February 8th. I’m looking forward to sharing images of some of my latest icons, talking about the tradition that informs them, and why they’re made the way they are. I

Looking for Patrons

As I’ve already shared, the studio has had many changes over the past six months. There have been many different threads underneath the upheaval, but an important one for the studio has been the desire to work without contending with so many business considerations. Over the past five years, to keep the studio financially viable

New Studio Name

I’m excited to share a new name for the studio that has taken root here in Alberta: Red Earth Icons. When the studio moved, I knew it would be time to change its name. Conestoga refers to a particular place—one that has inspired me as an artist for the last 20 years. So much of what


Yesterday, the first snowstorm of November raged all day, so today, the bus to my school got cancelled. We got eight inches of snow, and it got really cold, so the buses wouldn’t start! (Yay!) Now I can help my dad, take pictures, and post on the website.

A New Home and Studio

It’s been three months since our family pulled up with our two-car convoy setting off to our new home in central Alberta. Although the landscape we travelled was awe-inspiring, we arrived pretty exhausted after months of packing, saying our goodbyes, and dealing with twenty years of accumulated stuff in my barn and studio. It was

Wood Storage

One of the challenges the studio is always facing is where to put the wood I collect for making panels (from what I’ve read, it’s a common problem for woodworkers …). So, I was very pleased to receive this “animal shelter” from the local building supply store and outfit it for keeping my wood nice

The Soldiers and The Fiery Furnace

With the angel and the youths depicted in The Fiery Furnace, all that was left was the rendering of the soldiers in the bottom third of the icon. And, it was here that I think the vision inspired by St. Basil’s commentary on the nature of fire in consumption and illumination really took form. The

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