"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Come See St. Anthony Restored!

Last Sunday I was given this statue of St. Anthony and baby Jesus by a man named Frank, who asked if I could restore it.

He stands over two feet tall, but I thought the damage was minimal.  Lots of chipped paint and tiny cracks here and there, but I thought I could do it.

Of course, I was a little nervous, hoping I didn't bite off more than I could chew. 

 Using a fine-grit sand-paper, I first scraped off all the loose chips. 

At one point, I wasn't sure if the flecks of paint would ever stop coming off!

Once all the extras were removed, I used paper clay to resculpt the big problem areas.  His hood needed the most TLC.

My goal wasn't to make this look pristine.  I preferred to let some chips still show through to honor its age. (Wabi-Sabi!)

After a day of letting the clay dry, I primed the entire statue.  Although primed, the plaster soaked up the paint like a sponge.  In some areas, there are as many as three coats of paint.

But, the results were worth the effort.

He was sprayed with a matte finish first.  Then I applied Burnt Umber oil paint for an antique look, and sprayed him with two more coats of satin polyurethane.

I was so afraid of dropping him, I spent half the time cradling him in my arms as I painted him.

This statue belonged to Frank's father, who worked in a Catholic church that has long since shut down.

He was able to choose some items to bring home and this statue was one of them.  I think it dates back to 1920, but I don't know for sure.

This restoration project brought so much creativity, peace and inner happiness to me this past week I have to wonder......

Who was REALLY restored?  St. Anthony or me?


  1. I'm so excited for you,the Father and his church.Beautiful Jill.I also learned what to do and what to use ;)

  2. Beautiful job Jill! It truly shows that it was a labor of love!

  3. Great question!!! And you did an amazing job, you are a natural at sculpting and forming with your fingers!!! hugs...cleo

  4. Gorgeous. Another beautiful restoration.

  5. Bodacious!! All that Catholic education paid off. St Anthony is the saint of lost articles. He was fortunate to have "found" you.

  6. That is simply an amazing job. How sweet of you to do that for him. I'm certain he is thrilled, and will be forever thankful.