In Early 2014 I had the privilege to be called up to work on the recreation of a church mural at St. Aloysius church in Bowling Green, Ohio, The muralist is Felix Lieftuchter (b. Cincinnati, OH. 1883). My job is as an in-painter, which is generally the only thing I do on these restoration projects. An in-painter is the person who paints in the areas of lost paint. Continue reading
Felix Bernard Lieftuchter was an artist who was born in Cincinnati in on Oct. 29, 1882. He produced at least six major church decorations, worked with mosaics and engaged in portraiture.
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.
This past spring I spent 6 weeks working on beautiful Nantucket Island helping restore the Old South Church in Nantucket Island. Today it is the oldest of the large church buildings still standing in the town. Nantucket is about 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts and was the setting for the whalers from Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”. Off course the whaling economy is long gone, but now Nantucket is a wealthy vacation resort.
This summer I have been working on a church restoration at St. Francis de Sales Catholic church in Paducah, Kentucky. The funny photo-montage below is me posing for reference for one of two paintings I have been commissioned to paint for a small altar in the church.
I was lucky and surprised to find a great costume shop in town, Creatures of Habit, which was able to put together something resembling a Bishops vestments for me. I’m also doing another one of Saint Jane de Chantel. I am going to hire a model and a nuns habit and do a similar photo-montage and then create both paintings.
I’m working with Tony Kartsonas of Historic Surfaces on this job. We have done a lot of art in the church and still have much to do. I’ll do a more complete post when it is done. Below are some images from two stained glass windows I touched up.
As my friends know I have been spending a lot of time in the last two years working in Washington, DC on some mural conservations working with an Conservator/artist team to conserve some circa 1880’s decorative murals in an executive branch office building near the White House. With Page Conservation.
About the 1940’s the decorations in a whole series of rooms were painted over and by the time we got to them there were about ten coats of paint on them. So basically the process starts by carefully removing the over-paint while trying to save the original layer. Next, the remaining original mural paint is conserved and stabilized with glue and other materials. Then we re-paint the missing areas in, trying to conserve as much of the original paint as possible. We use reversible materials so our work can always be removed.
This differs from a “restoration” which usually means a recreation of old work as opposed to a “conservation”, which actually means to keep as much original work as possible.
in the following gallery which includes several rooms, you can see the beginning stages (where the ceilings are white), intermediate stages, and the completed stages where the original murals look, well, original! Keep in mind everything you see had been completely painted over.