A GREENOCK artist's tribute to his late sister has become a cherished piece of church art which is inspiring worshippers.

Jim Strachan wanted to thank his parish priest Father Denis Carlin for his support when his beloved sister Susan was dying of cancer, so he created an eye-catching oil painting of Christ on the cross.

Fr Carlin has a long standing link to the family from when he was priest at St Andrew's in Larkfield and chaplain at St Columba's High School.

He said: "I knew the Strachans when the kids were at school and when I came back to Greenock, to St Mary's, Susan had married my friend Eddie Gallagher.

"Tragically she had cancer and was taken into the hospice.

"I went in every day to give her Holy Communion and the night Susan died, Jim said he was going to paint me a picture in memory of Susan.

"I didn't know what to expect when he turned up at my door at St Mary's.

"I was totally blown away."

Susan was only in her 40s when she died 12 years ago.

Jim's tribute took pride of place at the dining room at St Mary's, but when Fr Carlin moved to Christ the King in Howwood he didn't have anywhere big enough to hang it, so it now has pride of place in the church there.

Father Carlin said: "People always say it's amazing, it is so original.

"The painting means an awful lot to me.

"I'm known Jim since he as a kid and I've always appreciated his talent."

Jim, 52, who was brought up in Braeside, sadly lost his mother when he was young.

He and his five sisters were brought up by his father, a car mechanic who also worked for the ambulance service.

Jim said: "The painting was a thank-you to Father Carlin, who would come out to the hospice at 5am and stay for hours with Susan.

"He was a real strength to my sister and our family."

His painting employed the foreshortening technique, to create the illusion of projection.

It took the acclaimed artist three months to complete.

He said: "I am so grateful that Father Carlin has it on display."