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Creating A Glorious Central Focus

Every painting project has its own unique Challenges and degree of difficulty, which is what inspires Don Wendt, owner of Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons in Greenwood, Mo, to take on projects such as Our Lady Of Guadalupe Catholic Church in San Antonio, Tx. When the Jesuit priest contacted Mr. Wendt in 2003 to bid this 100 year-old church, he sent detailed pictures of the entire building. The two men corresponded for almost two years before Wendt was given the go ahead to start the project in January 2005.

"The one thing about bidding a project on just photos and conversations that far from home base is that you have to be sure of your abilities to perform in a timely manner," says Wendt. With only a two-man crew and one "great" assistant and good friend, Cliff Foth, Wendt accepted the challenge.

Wendt knows that organization of all equipment, scaffolding and materials is critical for a successful project, and he has a proven process, or "method of madness," on all church renovations from start to finish.

The first thing the crew did upon arrival at the site was to set up two double rolling towers trussed together and then build platforms so they could work on square foot of the vaulted ceiling. Once the damaged plaster in the entire church was repaired, all walls and ceilings were completely primed out. Wendt used white shellac on all woodwork. such as the altars, and oil based primer on all plaster, which amounted to 125 gallons in all.

Before applying the finish - Pro Mar 200 - the crew worked up a four color pallet and placed their ideas, designs and vision onto a specific location in the church as a true sample of what the interior would look like once completed. "Combined with a full-color rendition, this is an unbeatable combination for raising awareness and support for any restoration," says Wendt.

And then the work began. The lower block walls and columns were accented with a stone granite finish and grout lines. The wall capitals received a deep blue background and were highlighted with mica gold. All the doors received an oak wood grain finish, and all altars were marbleized and accented with granite panels and columns.

The crew added stenciling with outlining to all ceiling arches. They created medallions with liturgical symbols on the upper walls and choir loft balcony. All ceilings were banded and striped to create inlay panels, and all other architectural moldings throughout the church were highlighted.

Wendt explained that the biggest concern was to make the altar stand out as the central focus. "The previous paint job some 30 years earlier was done with pastel colors, and most of the architectural detail was lost using just one color," says Wendt.

"That was about to dramatically change." The crew did some minor carpentry work in the nave. "The upper wall columns were short and did not look quite right, so we sawed off the bottom capital and moved that down to the lower columns. Then we made the upper column longer for a more finished looked," reports Wendt. And to finish the project, two fiberglass columns and capitals were added in the sanctuary to help frame off the gothic backdrop for the altar.

"After four months and alot of miles, we had completed another successful project," Says Wendt. "We enjoyed working for the people of the parish, but it was good to get back home." Congratulations to Don Wendt and the Crew of Ecclesiastical Studios & Sons for going the distance and masterfully creating a warm and majestic place of worship for the parishioners of Our Lady Of Guadalupe Catholic Church!


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