Inspirational Paintings in Our Lady of Victory Chapel for Eucharistic Adoration
One year ago I had the pleasure of being a part of the team responsible for the painting of the “Our Lady of Victory Chapel for Eucharistic Adoration” located at St. Benedict Catholic Church and School in Holmdel, NJ. For those of you not familiar with a Perpetual Adoration Chapel, it is an incredibly beautiful and holy place that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for members of a parish to unite in each devoting an hour per week to come and sit before the Sacred Host in prayer and being in the Presence of God.
The first wall I painted shows the Maria Amparanos, Blessed Mother with little children, along with the Memorare Prayer and symbolic flowers framing the prayer. For all of the figures painted in the chapel I always begin with the face and take my time painting until I feel it is right, then move on to the details of clothing. The Blessed Mother’s face is at peace in this painting and I repeated the blue and rose colors throughout the painting. I enjoyed the faces of the children and tried to represent children from different countries around the world. My murals take about 3 layers of paint to get the shading and color intensity right. I add small details in the faces and costumes with a fine brush.
The “Mysteries of the Rosary” wall was a bit more challenging for me. Since the Chapel is attached to the School, the design team wanted to make it educational and colorful to teach the children about the 4 Mysteries (Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, Glorious) in a style that would be inviting and colorful. After taking some photos of wooden Rosary beads, I designed the layout in Photoshop of how the beads would flow around Mysteries. For the actual mural, I drew ovals where the Mysteries would be on the wall and taped string to the wall so it would naturally flow around the Mysteries, and individually cut out each Rosary bead in paper to get the spacing and shape correct. I painted the beads and crucifix in wood tones and gold.
After much research, discussion, suggestions and final design approval from Fr. Dan Swift and team members, I started to paint the Mysteries. I began with the face of Jesus in the Sorrowful Mystery. Like I said before, if the face isn’t right, I can’t move on because the rest of the scene is not important if you don’t capture the emotion. I shed a few tears while painting Jesus’ crucifixion so I know I did the best that I could. In the Glorious Mystery, Jesus is radiating light while the soldiers cower below him. Joyful Mystery was the easiest for me to paint because I love painting animals, notice the symbolic white lamb and dove in foreground. In the Luminous Mystery I focused on brighter and lighter colors since it was a wedding feast scene.
Finally, I was asked to paint the tabernacle. I gave it a faux marble effect to match the top of the altar. The outside of the doors are painted with gold crosses and the Alpha and Omega symbols. Since the doors are always open, most people will not see this part. The inside of the doors are painted with two adoring angels in bright colors with gold wings.
God gives us all talents to share with others. My prayer is that my gift of painting might help others find peace or understanding or give them something beautiful to see while sitting quietly in the Presence of God.