Acrylic portraits

The Mystical Cat

The Mystical Cat — an original acrylic painting by A.Vonn Hartung

The Cat has always evoked a mystical feeling in me. She holds secrets of the night, as the Moon reflects the light of the sun. Both the moon and the cat have always given me a sense of wonder as they reflect something more powerful than themselves, something we are not able to see.

An encounter with a Cat, her actions, her pause, her peace; there is a depth of mystery, that which lies behind the eyes that captivate his prey and sometimes his observer.

There is something in that stillness that makes me aware of what I do not know and importantly, inspires that fabled “curiosity” that others wiser than me have observed; an inspiration to learn—who we are and what propels us towards our destiny.

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El gato mistico— una pintura acrílica original de A.Vonn Hartung

El Gato siempre me ha evocado un sentimiento místico. Ella guarda secretos de la noche, ya que la Luna refleja la luz del sol. Tanto la luna como el gato siempre me han dado una sensación de asombro, ya que reflejan algo más poderoso que ellos mismos, algo que no podemos ver.

Un encuentro con un gato, sus acciones, su pausa, su paz; hay una profundidad de misterio, eso que se esconde detrás de los ojos que cautivan a su presa y, a veces, a su observador.

Hay algo en esa quietud que me hace consciente de lo que no sé y, lo que es más importante, inspira esa legendaria “curiosidad” que otros más sabios que yo han observado; una inspiración para aprender quiénes somos y qué nos impulsa hacia nuestro destino.

My Brother the Bridge Builder



Bridges unify people and make it possible for commerce (like rivers) to flow.

Bridge builders have always risen to take on the dangerous challenges and vital work of their construction.

My Brother the Bridge-Builder
“The Bridge-Builder”
18 x 24 inch acrylic painting

In this painting we can see the progress that the bridge makes possible: the defense of our country, the industries that bring prosperity and the cities of great population.

The iron-worker climbs to erect, refit and maintain the bridges – the vital connections that unify and make for a strong society.

As a tradesman the iron-worker, as all other dedicated workers, keeps our country connected, safe and prosperous, our people unified, and with the hope of a better future for ALL.

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St. Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of Missionaries

In celebration of St.Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of Missionaries

St. Francis Xavier patron saint of missionaries_retablo painting by AVonnHartung, in Parroquia San Francisco Javier (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico)This painting shows the humble Jesuit missionary baptizing a youth

St. Francis Xavier brought more than 30,000 souls into the Faith. Known as the “Apostle of the Indies” and “Apostle of Japan”, he is said to have converted more people than anyone else has done since Saint Paul.


Padre Julio Victor García commissioned this painting/retablo in 2002 for Iglesia San Francisco Javier (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico). It measures 6 feet in width by 11 feet in height and is my original design. I built it from solid mahogany, painted it in acrylic and gilded with gold and copper leaf.

Symbolic elements of the painting

The vertical format symbolizes this world, our Church and the witness of the life and evangelizing work of San Francisco Javier.

The frame displays the Sign of the Cross with which we as Christians identify ourselves in and through Baptism. It represents the tireless work of St. Francis, from sunrise to sunset. Additionally it shows the eternal truth, the Alpha and Omega of Christ. It acts as a window through which we enter to find further truths.

St. Francis Xavier is baptizing a youth. Significantly the youth symbolizes the future church. Hence we see the people coming to the Faith.

The Holy Family is represented by any and all who do the Will of the Father. Specifically, they are bringing young souls to be saved.

The Children brought forth by their Godparents engage us in reflection and contemplative prayer.

The Holy Trinity: Above the head of St. Francis we see the sacred image of The Holy Trinity.  The great 15th century Russian iconographer Andre Rublev.originally wrote (painted) this icon. Its inclusion is meant to draw us into the mystery of God,and to remind us of God’s love. Additionally it prophetically reminds us of Jesus’ words as expressed in John 15: 26-27 (“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.”)

The Background: Surrounding this cascade of divinity with its luminous light and vapors, are luxurious examples of Holy Creation. Specifically the abundance of nature expresses this concept. The breadfruit and mango trees symbolize Love, Beauty and Resurrection. Additionally we see the dove drawing closer, and the serpent which being driven away.

“They who pray with faith have fervor and fervor is the fire of prayer. This mysterious fire has the power of consuming all our faults and imperfections, and of giving to our actions, vitality, beauty and merit.” (Francis Xavier)


“Let it be Done”




"Let it be Done", painting by AVonnHartung for Walsingham UK

Deep in the night with the Star of Jesus centered in the sky, Mary is in prayer, surrounded by the symbols of her faith. She prays that in some small way she might serve in the coming of the promised Messiah. Suddenly her prayers are answered!

The ceiling opens!

The Angel Gabriel descends in divine glory and declares the message from God the Father. After pondering deep in her heart the words and their meaning, Mary gives her consent.

At that very moment she is filled with the luminous light of grace. She vows to fulfill the will of the Father and to deliver His only Son incarnate as Jesus Christ into the world according to His divine plan for our salvation.

A Vonn Hartung created this painting (acrylic 36″x 60″) for EWTN (UK)’s new welcoming center at the National Shrine of England (Mary’s House of Nazareth) in the village of Walsingham. The painting is an interpretation of the visions which Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (Augustinian Nun) received in 1821. Additionally the artist has added symbolism to enhance and clarify the spiritual and prophetic consequences of the Annunciation Event.

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El ángel Gabriel desciende en gloria divina y declara el mensaje de Dios Padre. Después de reflexionar profundamente en su corazón, las palabras y su significado, Mary da su consentimiento. En ese mismo momento, ella se llena de la luz luminosa de la gracia cuando promete cumplir la voluntad del Padre y entregar a Su único Hijo encarnado como Jesucristo en el mundo de acuerdo con Su plan divino para nuestra salvación. La pintura original mide 3 x 5 pies, acrílico sobre lienzo. Pinté este lienzo para el Santuario Nacional de Inglaterra en Walsingham (haga clic en el enlace para leer más). Es mi interpretación de una visión que la Beata Anne Catherine Emmerich (Monja Agustina) tuvo en 1821. Está en el Centro de Acogida de EWTN para peregrinos en Walshingham, Reino Unido.


“In 1061, the widow of the lord of the manor of Walsingham (Richeldis de Faverches) had a series of visions of the Virgin Mary, who showed her the house in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel made his revelation of the forthcoming birth of Jesus. Our Lady asked Richeldis to build a replica of the holy house in Walsingham.” It was at a time when it was extremely dangerous to visit the Holy Land, so this replica of Mary’s House would afford English Christians the opportunity to pay homage to her house in their own country. Walsingham became the premier shrine, and a large Christian community and monastery grew in its proximity.

“During medieval times, thousands of pilgrims from all over Britain and Europe visited Walsingham, including nearly all the kings and queens of England from Henry III (c1226). Royal visits continued right up to Henry VIII (1511). Then came the Reformation in 1538.”
When the pope refused to grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII ordered the destruction of Mary’s House in 1538. It was burned to the ground and the statue of Our Lady was taken to London to be destroyed.

Today 350,000 pilgrims annually visit the Shrine at Walsingham


 “When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.”

(Pope Leo XIII)


The opening of the roof exposes the open sky. Here we see the constellations of Virgo and Leo and the location of the holy house in Nazareth. The Star of Jesus, better known as the Star of Bethlehem,  signifies the presence and the will of the Father.

Mary’s Halo shows an ethereal lightening, a shimmering of the atmosphere around her head.This indicates her divine nature; her luminosity and state of grace.

The Scroll on the prayer table symbolizes the prophecy of Isaiah. (“Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14).

Mary’s belt shows a symbol of the Fetus.

The Three Lilies on the prayer table remind us of the promise of Joseph to honor Mary’s vow of virginity and dedication to the Lord.

The Three Lilies carried by the angel Gabriel are a sign of the fulfillment of her vow and a blessing of her faithfulness.

The Rug (woven in lamb’s wool) represents Mary’s faith and prayer life. Its design emanates from and surrounds the Star of Jesus. (“For we have seen his star in the east…” Matthew 2:2) Significantly it is made up of symbols and scenes in the life of Christ to come.

The design of the Floor Tiles symbolizes the flow which spread the Christian Faith from nation to nation throughout the world. (“Go ye and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19).

The Fireplace is a symbol of the home and family, of warmth, well-being and security.

The Drawn Curtain on Mary’s bed reminds us of the torn veil of the temple (Matthew 27:51). Hence, it is a symbol of hope reminding us of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, death and resurrection and promise of eternal life. The faint spectrum of color emanating from the curtain is a symbol of revelation.

The Hope Chest beneath the bed reminds us of the simplicity and humble social status of Mary.  This young bride of Joseph the Carpenter will become the Mother of God.