Mural for Holy Rosary Catholic Church
Life brings challenges….it is precisely these challenges that help us to grow and become stronger. I recently met a challenge which overwhelmed me at first but I put my trust in God and He saw me through.
Fr. George V. Puthenpeedika, the priest at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, had enough faith in me to paint a mural for our parish. It was early spring 2013, when he approached me about the idea after Sunday Mass. I must have had a look of disbelief, because he patted my arm and said, “think about it”. Little did he know, that was all I could think about for the next few months!
The thoughts that were running through my head were, “I’ve never painted anything so large before” (the wall measures 15′ x 18′), “I’ve never painted realistic type clouds”, “What if it doesn’t turn out well”, “What if I like it, but nobody else does”…….and so on……
After his request, every Sunday at Mass, I would look up at that HUGE white wall behind the crucifix and envision how I would paint something that large. I found it rather distracting and tried very hard NOT to think about it during Mass. At one point, I said to Father George, “Father, I am a perfectionist and I’m afraid if I don’t like the outcome of my efforts, I will have to switch parishes because I won’t be able to focus on Mass as I will be to consumed with how I could have done a better job.” We both laughed…. however, there was some truth in what I said.
Finally, I picked a start date. That made it more “real” to me. Which, honestly, was a good thing. My goal was to paint the mural in three days…which gave my husband a giggle. He was amused at my ambition. I have been known to set unrealistic goals from time to time…underestimating my abilities. But I stuck to that goal and prayed about it often.
The Saturday before I was to begin the mural, I spent some time researching online. I printed photos of clouds and rocks. Then, I did a test run, so to speak. I gathered my acrylics and painted a “mini me” of the mural measuring 18″ x 24″. I was excited with the outcome and the fact that I painted it in 1.5 hours. This was the boost of confidence I needed. Kevin wasn’t at home that weekend as his band, SHOUT!, had gigs both Saturday and Sunday night out of town, so I text him a photo of my small painting. He thought it looked too grey but I assured him it was just the photo…that it wasn’t that grey. I also told him my reason for choosing greyish-blues……
- this mural is the background of Jesus’ crucifixion….it was a time of sadness and uncertainty
- I also didn’t want the sky to be too busy and bright which would distract from the focal point of the alter and crucifix
Day 1, Monday, August 19, 2013. Today is the day we start the transformation. Kevin gathered a crew of men to take down the heavy crucifix and remove everything off the wall. Then he and I washed the wall and went shopping for supplies.
Day 2, Tuesday, August 20, 2013. I started around 11am painting the background using a roller while standing on the scaffolding. I am not a big fan of heights, so it took me a bit to get comfortable on the scaffolding. I painted the top 1/3 of the sky with the darkest shade, then the middle was a lighter shade and the bottom third of the sky was the lightest shade. After the background, I used small 2oz bottles of craft paint so I could have several different shades of blues. I started on the first cloud and began to panic a little.
Because I was painting so large, the paint would dry before I could blend the colors. I was trying too hard to make the mural look like the small painting I had created…. I had to get that out of my head because I was dealing with a whole different animal. I worked and worked at the cloud until I was satisfied, then started the second cloud which came a little easier. Like anything else, the more you do something the easier it gets. So by the end of the first day of painting, I had two clouds done…..
Day 3, Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Today I came in around 9:30 am with confidence. I was determined that I wasn’t leaving until the sky was finished no matter how long it took….I was willing to stay until midnight if necessary! I not only met that goal but also drew the rocks and painted the first layer of brown.
Day 4, Thursday, August 22, 2013. I arrived at about 11am and went straight to painting the rocks. I found this much easier than painting the clouds so it went quickly and smoothly. However, I discovered working ground level was more difficult physically….I don’t bend like I use to and when I would get up off the floor it was very slow-going! After the rocks were completed, I got back on the scaffolding to take down the painters tape and paint any touch-ups that were necessary, then cleaned all my mess up.
Day 5, Friday, August 23, 2013, 9:30am…we arrived along with a few other amazing folks to put everything back in order
Overall it was a great experience. I really leaned on God to help me through and calm my nerves. I am honored to be able to give back to God the gift He so generously gave to me.
Many thanks are in order…….to my husband, Kevin, for his willingness to help get everything prepared for me to start and help in getting it all back in order, to all the men who helped with the removal and replacement of the crucifix, Kyle, Ryan, Karl, Tom, Paul, Vinnie, Bill, Jeff, Pete (sorry if I missed anyone), to Marita for donating the money for the supplies, to Kim, Pam, Lisa, & Laura who work at the church and would stop by to check on me and offer encouraging words, to Kim for keeping the air conditioning at a very comfortable level and letting me work as late as I wanted, to Daryl for loaning the scaffolding, to Jim & Bob of P & H Plumbing for loaning the wheels for the scaffolding, to friends and family who stopped by to offer encouragement and most of all to Fr. George for his faith in my ability.
By the way…Father was not there during the whole process. He’s back home visiting family in India. I would love to be a fly on the wall when he sees it for the first time