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14 Stations of the Cross Restoration

Last summer in July 2020, I received a call from a friendly neighbor, asking me if I would come to take a look at the paintings across the street in the Most Precious Blood Catholic Church. I had been told that the paintings needed attention and wanted to cooperate with my neighbor, so we met there along with my neighbor’s tenant, a lighting designer, to see if the lighting could be improved for the paintings, as well.

After our polite masked hellos, we circled the interior of this very unique “Pueblo Deco” church, looking at each of the deteriorating 14 Stations of the Cross recessed in their 12-foot-high niches. The final Station on the left of the entranceway was in the worst condition and happened to be where the ladder had been placed, so up I went to look closer, wondering what the heck could be done for this poor painting with its “feathers” of peeling paint all curling up in unison. This dilemma of facing the fact that a true restoration of the paintings along strict conservation principles would likely attempt to flatten all of the original paint flakes, an exhaustive process probably requiring the painting(s) to be relocated and taking enormous time and funding. After discussing this preferred approach, my neighbor insisted the funding and will was not available to do this pristine approach, asking me instead to do my best work on them in place for my reasonable proposed amount of money and time.

Three very hot weeks later with the use of rolling scaffolding, all 14 paintings (originally composed and painted on steel panels by Dunbar Beck) were restored to the great appreciation of the church staff and parishioners, especially with the new halogen lighting. Anyone interested in the process used, feel free to email or call me.

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