Icons for the New World from Iconographer Symeon van Donkelaar

Icons made by traditional methods and local materials that joyfully embodies Christ and His saints.


The work that happens in the Local Colour Saints studio is pretty magical, with a vision of heaven made out of the rocks and plants found here in Conestoga, Ontario. If you want to see more about that, you should check out the gallery and the photos.


Pigment and iconographic workshops have been offered in cities across Canada. If you want to learn about the traditional iconography, or experience making pigments from the earth, contact Symeon to find out when the next workshop is being offered.


Symeon is an engaging speaker who has presented in wide-ranging venues across North America. A born story-teller, his expertise in tying together meaning and process makes his talks interesting and accessible.


Symeon’s iconography, drawing as it does on the local palette of each region of Canada, is a hymn of praise calling each of us to a deeper regard for our fragile world, a deeper attention to the Holy Spirit who, “is everywhere present and fillest all things.”

—Fr. David J. Goa, Founding Director or the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life

I find his Symeon's work fascinating as it is an exploration of the flatter and more stylized threads of iconography. Color is frank and contrasted like a puzzle; clothing is abstracted towards simple geometry. His icons embrace a joyful play and transparent innocence.

—Jonathan Pageau, Editor of the Orthodox Art Journal

Symeon’s is a person of deep faith and compassionate embrace. In his teaching of icon-writing he brings profound encouragement to the participants.

—Fr. Gary Thorne, Chaplain to the University of King's College.

Symeon comes across as a really beautiful and knowledgeable and dedicated person. He seems to embody the classic tradition of the icon painter. You can see in him what art must have meant in so many cultures in the pre-modern period.

—Fr. Dan Donovan, St. Michael's College.

About Symeon

Symeon drawing a cartoon for an icon.

Symeon completed his six-year apprenticeship in iconography in the late nineties at a Greek Orthodox monastery, and subsequently went on to finish a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Berlin, Germany.

He is an iconographer with a passion for the local colours of the earth, mostly creating pigments for his icons from the land where he lives, but also collecting sacred colours while on local colour pilgrimages to unique places in the world. These earth colours have informed his style of folk iconography that defines his work.

Having accepted iconographic commissions since 2004, Symeon has created icons for churches, missions, and homes in Canada. He has offered workshops from coast to coast, and regularly presents internationally on his unique iconographic work to churches, universities, and at a host of convention venues.

Symeon currently works as the full-time iconographer in the Local Colour Saints studio in Conestoga, Ontario, Canada.

Commissioning an Icon

New icons are being painted every month. If you're interested in having one made, don't hesitate to contact Symeon. He has painted icons for many individuals and churches, and understands some of the questions you might have.