Saint Bernard Church. Since the mid-nineties, on and off, I have been working on St. Bernard Church at the corner of 6th and H Streets in downtown Eureka, with the initial projects being in the Rectory. This year, with Penny Eskra as Interior Designer and under the leadership of Father Loren Allen, work on the interior restoration of the church began in earnest. Next year, 2011, marks the 125th anniversary of the church building, the oldest structure in Humboldt County that is still serving the same original function, a Catholic Church.
The cost of scaffolding for the entre nave was prohibitive, but it was possible for me to cobble together enough of my own and rented scaffolding to reach the ceiling above the Choir Loft. This gave us a chance to show what the completed restoration would look like. All plaster surfaces had been coated back in the 1980s with a spray-on gunnite (popcorn) and then sprayed a uniform beige/gray color in an attempt to cover up plaster damage and modernize the interior look. So getting that "popcorn" off was the first step. Not too difficult after getting enough warm water to soak in. Then all the plaster was reinforced with fiberglass mesh and re-floated out smooth; the beams and rafters were faux-grained to simulate the original redwood (I couldn't strip because one of the layers of paint had some lead in it, so it had to be encapsulated); and a newly created panel with gold leaf was designed to bring elements of the decoration around the altar to the upper sides of the church.
At a separate time, restoration work on the two niches to the sides of the altar was done.

Some images of the work. Clicking on an image will open it in a new JavaScript popup window:


New Work in the Barn: Paintings, oil on canvas.


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