by Robert M Faulhaber
classic religious art to pascal candles
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants’ hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church. But now we know the praises of this pillar, which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor, a fire into many flames divided, yet never dimmed by sharing of its light, for it is fed by melting wax, drawn out by mother bees to build a torch so precious. – from the Exsultet text
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Robert Faulhaber has been painting Easter candles over the last 20 years. He was born the youngest of five children in Davenport, IA. He started drawing when he was three years old. Robert’s Catholic faith has always been an integral part of his life. He studied Russian iconography with the Prosopon School of Iconography. This method uses a paste made of raw materials, egg yolk, vinegar, and wine. Two of his icons are in St. James Church in Omaha. He also has icons in St. John Church in Duluth, MN, and Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, IN. Robert is married to his wife Jeanna and has a home studio in Omaha, NE. Most recently, his candles may be seen in his home parish of St. Bernard’s (Omaha, NE), St. Stephen the Martyr (Omaha, NE), St. Gerald’s (Omaha, NE) and St. Patrick’s (Fremont, NE). Robert’s candles were also featured in an article on the Archdiocese of Omaha website, the Omaha Catholic Voice, and Catholic News Association.
The Design Process
Each candle is a commissioned custom work of art. Churches may either select an image from Robert’s portfolio, leave up to Robert to select or suggest one themselves. Robert spends on average 5 hours to research the candle design. The design research includes evaluating the church’s décor, determining the appropriate Christ image, the appropriate cross design and if the candle will have a border.
The height and diameter of the candle are a significant part of design decisions. The larger the diameter, the more detail can be put into the design as it allows more space. The 3-3 ½” diameter candles are ideal. Candle height is also important. Robert will need to know how much of the candle is typically burned each year. Some parishes prefer for the candle to not burn into the design. This helps determine if there will be room for a border design or not. The painted image area is generally 24” in height.
Also during the design process, Robert is also selecting his color pallet and if he will be including design elements of the actual church. Some examples of church design elements have included colors, stained glass window designs, shapes of archways, ironwork or woodwork designs.
Robert then spends another 40-60 hours painting each candle. The design is first embossed into the candle. The embossing gives the image dimension. Then the painting process begins using acrylic paint. Painting is done using layers of color. The process is very similar to the color layering done with icons. For instance, a gold may have a red or brown base color. This makes the gold more radiant. The robes on Jesus may also have layers to bring out clothing folds or other highlights.
The candle may also have embossing done after it is painted. Using a variety of different styluses, Robert will add texture to the candle. This detail helps refract light and adds further dimension to the image.
Visit the Photo Gallery HERE
All proceeds from candle sales goes to supporting His Holy Face, Inc.
For more information or pricing, please contact Robert at email@example.com