Several months ago I received a call that literally propelled my business to new heights. It was from a painter I met more than ten years ago, who held onto my card all these years. That call led to a commission to restore the altarpiece that rises on the wall behind the main altar of the Roman Catholic Parish of Saint Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York.
I was told it was about 40 feet high, but after I was finished, they had to take more precise measurements for another reason, and it turns out I was 68 FEET HIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am glad I didn’t know that while I was up there. Thinking I was “only” 40 feet high was a bit more bearable. I felt completely safe, as there was a huge platform of at least 15 x 15 that we were on. If I didn’t look over the edge straight down, or in between the planks, I was actually calmer than I had imagined. This project was another example of why I am so thankful I was a tomboy and loved monkey bars and hanging upside down on swings as a kid! It certainly comes in handy when I am on tall ladders or scaffolding.
The reredos, as it is sometimes called, had been painted beige many years ago. The new design scheme called for it to match a specific area of existing wood in the Cathedral. It was time and cost prohibitive to have it professionally stripped and restained, as one contractor had suggested. The only other alternative was to hire a professional like myself to create “faux woodgrain” with specialty paints, glazes and sealers. After a few rounds of picking a sample that all the decision makers approved, I was given the go-ahead. In less than a week, the transformation was complete. When the Bishop gave his stamp of approval, there was a huge sigh of relief!
It is currently impossible to take great photos of the piece because there is still a temporary wall built in front of it, to hide the rest of the construction going on. But I thought I’d pique your interest with a few photos, so you can see the transformation.