The  summer of 2011 I worked on  a church restoration  at St. Francis De Sales Catholic church in Paducah, Kentucky.  On this project I worked for  Tony Kartsonas of Historic Surfaces. Also on the project were Susie Buchholz, Nick Pavlos and Jeff Wolfe. The project was about 5 months long and I was there for over 4 months.

Paducah is the nicest town in the western Kentucky region, with a small arts and nightlife district along the waterfront. There is a well done series of murals along the flood walls, and is generally a pleasant and friendly, if unexciting place.

The  interior church walls  had apparently been covered with a kind of acoustic tiling, obliberating  the exsisting decorative painting. These were removed, the walls and plasterwork were repaired and repainted, and we completely re-created what had been there. Also the main alter mural had been crudely over-painted and this was stripped off and restored to it’s original appearance. Overall, it was a good restoration, because of the commitment of the entire crew and management to make it a really nice job. The local Priest, Father Roby, was very pleased.

A before and after  image of cleaning and conservation result of the main alter mural

A before and after image of the progression of cleaning and conservation of the main alter mural.

A before and after image of the progression of cleaning and conservation of the main alter mural (detail

A before and after image of the progression of cleaning and conservation of the main alter mural (detail)

I painted a new bottom to the main alter mural which had been previously covered by a higher alter.

New mural bottom

New mural bottom

I was lucky enough to get a commission for two paintings on this job, For a Remembrance niche at the rear of the church, which you can see more about by clicking here.

My Remembrance Niche Panels

My Remembrance Niche Panels

I also painted a small  mural for a side chapel entranceway based on designs by Friar Mark Joseph Costello, a Chicago based Capuchin Friar who serves as a liturgical consultant for many churches , and did so on St. Francis De Sales as well.

Side chapel mural.

Side chapel mural.

Side chapel mural(detail).

Side chapel mural(detail).

Below here are a couple images of the progression of the Trompe l’oiel decorations. You can see how they are started first with a stencil and then finished with handpainting.

 Cartouche progression.

Cartouche progression.

Trompe l'oiel Progression

Trompe l’oiel Progression

And below here is a progression of some very simple conservation of a stained glass window, but with dramatic results.

Stained Glass Conservation Progression

Stained Glass Conservation Progression

And finally below is a slideshow of more images from the entire church.

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1 reply
  1. Steve batusic
    Steve batusic says:

    Thanks so much Stephan!! This is really great! Hope all is well with you! Where are you working now? I do wish that you could have came back for the first Mass,

    Every day I go into the Church I still am in all of what has been done by all of you, the Church is really beautiful! I some times try to tell people how hard you all worked to make that happen!

    From some one who appreciates all yoiur work!

    Kind regards;
    Steve Batusic

    Reply

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