Painting of the Crucifix
20 August 2023
When the Crucifix was installed above the Tabernacle just before Holy Week, I noticed how the corpus of the Lord was almost ‘lost’ with it being wood on wood. Moreover, when contrasted with the statues of our Lady Star of the Sea and St Bernard that have ‘flanked’ the Sanctuary since 2021, I wondered whether, as another project, I might make the Crucifix polychrome, that is, in full colour, so as to draw out the focus of the Lord on the Cross and to harmonise with the full colour statues of the Sacred Heart and St Joseph and our Lady and St Bernard.
Preparation before Painting
After a light sanding, I prepared the corpus with an undercoat of a material called gesso, often used to create a good, sturdy base for the top paint to adhere to. Without this, it would be likely that the paint would peel off or with the heat of Summer and the cold of Winter, the paint would crack easily and chip off.
From bare wood to polychrome
After leaving to dry for 24 hours, I was able to begin painting in colour, with acrylic. The vibrant colours I chose will hopefully complement the colours of the other statues and even the deep blue of the Sanctuary carpet. In choosing a red and gold detail for the loin cloth, I wanted to replicate the red and gold cloak of the Sacred Heart statue in the side chapel - to give a clear visual sense simply by using the same colours that the One crucified on the Sanctuary is the One glorified and risen in the side chapel. After painting base layers and building up definition and texture, and again allowing 24 hours to dry, a top layer of varnish was added to protect from dust, light, and damage. The Crucifix has been restored to the Sanctuary - I hope it will aid our devotion and prayer at Mass.