December 11, 2003 at 3:56 p.m.
To use a popular phrase -- the church is now undergoing an extreme makeover. And, while it will certainly still be recognizable; when this project’s done it will also be transformed.
Eric Carlisle, of Mora, started redoing the inside of the church-- from the altar all the way back to the balcony-- in late August. He will be finished by January, if he works every day.
The enormity and detail of this project leaves the casual observer in a state of amazement.
The gilt-colored gold paint and vintage pastels being applied to walls and arching ceiling borders are breath-taking. The curved alcove roof over the altar now floats in a subtle “sky.”
The space itself was always inspiring. Under Carlisle’s care it is utterly memorable.
Carlisle said he first sat down with a congregation committee and went through very old photos of the church interior. Everyone tossed around ideas and techniques and mutually gave plans the stamp of approval.
What Carlisle set out to do, he said, was uncover the magnificence of certain architectural aspects, such as the two-foot-across columns, while respectfully incorporating artistic techniques designed to fool the eye.
Carlisle gleaned his color scheme from the huge stained glass windows.
Using a brief trial and error approach he finalized the actual pallet. Starting in the balcony, he applied shades of paint and could easily step back, while still under the rafters, to consider the effect.
Carlisle pointed out it’s hard to do that when you are out in high spots above the pews, some 50 feet in the air on scaffolding.
And, you sure don’t want to get halfway through a project of this size only to realize it’s not quite right.
Carlisle is an accomplished painter, with the restoration of another Chisago County landmark-- Fish Lake Lutheran Church-- on his resume. He’s also done commercial projects like the backdrop of the Channel 5 news set and restaurants.
He said he particularly enjoys churches, though. The structures themselves are beautiful to work in and he feels a personal rejuvenation in the end product.
Carlisle Studios can be visited on the web, www.carlislestudios.com.
Chisago Lake Lutheran Church is nearing the end of lengthy, extensive renovations and maintenance projects preparing for 150th Anniversary events and special services in 2004. Watch the Press in January and beyond for upcoming events.