“The Way of the Family” – the Reflective Way of the Cross – in the light of the Family

Artist Sue Orchison lives in country NSW just outside Canberra. Her interest in iconography spans more than 15 years. Sue can be found most days busy painting religious images in her country studio. She has work exhibited in cathedrals, churches, schools and private homes across Australia. Here she takes us behind her most recent commission, a group of 10 images depicting the Way of the Cross mounted in a chapel of the newly restored Old Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul, Goulburn. Continue reading ““The Way of the Family” – the Reflective Way of the Cross – in the light of the Family”

Sophia – Goorambat Uniting Church, Victoria

A few months ago, a friend wrote that she had “just returned from a five-day trip to see the silo art in the Wimmera/Mallee and Northeast Victoria. Wonderful work, and such a boost to the towns that arranged for their people, fauna and flora to be presented in such a wonderful form”. What caught my attention however was the note “A highlight was a mural of Sophia in the tiny Uniting Church at Goorambat”, near Benalla and Wangaratta, Victoria.

Continue reading “Sophia – Goorambat Uniting Church, Victoria”

PATRICK HENIGAN – Devoted to God, St Francis and Art

At his 10-year survey exhibition held at the Mornington Peninsula Art Centre in 1989, Br Patrick Henigan ofm was hailed in the introduction to catalogue as the ‘Don Robert of Australia’.  Don Robert, the celebrated Benedictine monk and painter, was seen as the conscience of the French Lurcat tapestry revival in the late 1940s: so Hennigan may be dubbed as the conscience of the new spirit that evolved in Australian drawing from the late 1970s.  His spiritual and artistic journey to gain this recognition, however, was hard fought. Continue reading “PATRICK HENIGAN – Devoted to God, St Francis and Art”


Queenie McKenzie and the Spirit of Mary MacKillop

Art in our churches is generally quite static.  The way art is used in aboriginal communities is often very different.  The Creation or Gospel story will be painted and then the work of art is used in the liturgy or in the classroom to proclaim the scriptures.  The artist holds the painting and tells the story as shown in the painting.  For this example we return to Warmun (see George Mung Mung, Mary of Warmun on this website).  We turn to one of Australia’s most well-known and respected aboriginal artists, Queenie McKenzie (c. 1915–1988).  This work was painted in 1994 at the time of Mary MacKillop’s beatification.

Continue reading “STORYTELLING IN PAINT”


The Religious Art of Jan Hynes

Jan Hynes is a contemporary artist living and working in Townsville, Queensland.  She has painted many gospel stories in bright modern colours setting them in Townsville: in the Visitation, Mary and Elizabeth meet over coffee and mudcake; the Nativity is set, not in a stable, but in a service station with Joseph shown as a tradie and Mary carrying the shopping (see detail, left); she shows the adoration of the Magi on the Strand with Jesus being pushed in a stroller.  Rooted in the local, Hynes situates the bible scenes in her neighbourhood on the coast of Queensland.  Images of local plants, birds, and views of Magnetic Island establish a distinctively Australian context for us to rethink the gospel narrative. Continue reading “THE SCANDAL OF BARE FEET”


The traditional art of making an icon is an exacting process requiring much skill and knowledge that can only be acquired over a long period of dedicated commitment to the art.  The method that aligns best with the essence of the icon is classical painting with egg tempera, a technique of unknown origins from deep within the ancient world.  Adopted and perfected by the icon painters of the early church in Byzantium, the technique has been passed down almost without change to be employed by the few icon painters in our age whose practice remains true to the tradition. Continue reading “THE SACRED ART OF THE ICONOGRAPHER”


The Art of William Robinson

Standing awestruck before a mountain, [the mystic] cannot separate this experience from God, and perceives that the interior awe being lived has to be entrusted to the Lord. “Mountains have heights and they are plentiful, vast, beautiful, graceful, bright and fragrant.  These mountains are what my Beloved is to me.  Lonely valleys are quiet, pleasant, cool, shady and flowing with fresh water; in the variety of their groves and in the sweet song of the birds, they afford abundant recreation and delight to the senses, and in their solitude and silence, they refresh us and give rest.  These valleys are what my Beloved is to me.” Continue reading “CREATOR GOD AND CREATION”