FRANKLIN FURNACE —Harold Carmichael from Wheelersburg has been at it again, restoring the biggest and probably most complicated statue in Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, ‘The Last Supper.’
Carmichael, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June, has been working on his own to refurbish some of the statues in the Cemetery in Franklin Furnace. The Last Supper is a late 15th-century mural painting by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is one of the Western world’s most recognizable paintings. The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Carmichael has outdone himself on this one. It is unbelievably beautiful and so eye catching.
Carmichael has added some special touches to this one this time. He and his brother Roger Carmichael have installed solar lights above this one so you can see it lit up at night. Carmichael said that this was his brother’s idea that Roger said, “We need to put lights up there.”
Along with the lights, he has added the names of Jesus and each disciple at the table, so people can see who is in what order on the statue. He said he had painted over this part a few times and is not sure yet if he wants to move one of the names. He also talked about how close he and his brother were and that they had worked together for many years. His brother, who is a ‘young’ 83, was up on a ladder installing the lights said of doing this, “I love it.”
Roger Carmichael also wanted to put a flag up by the gazebo in the cemetery and got permission. Then he and Harold’s wife cleaned up around the gazebo and it is now another beautiful site there at the cemetery.
While talking about the statue, he talked about how he had painted it white twice before he got it right and that in all total, he had spent 72 hours on it, but he had originally thought it would take over 100. He said about doing this project, “I wish I had two more of them. Everybody should take on a project like this and make things beautiful. It does them good. It tickled me to death to do this. In fact, I’m never finished with it in my head.”
Carmichael spoke on the different colors he had changed on each of them a couple of times. He also said that each character in the statue has three or four coats of paint on them. He added that he wants to whitewash the brick area under the statue, not paint it but clean it up a bit. He also painted the frame that is around the statue, which he said had never been painted. He said that when he was working on this one, he would have a table set out while he was working with all the paint on it and that his wife must have washed 200 brushes.
He said that when he did the other statues, he bought all the paint, but that a man who is getting ready to start a business selling tractors, weed eaters, lawnmowers and that type of equipment, located there by the Big Sandy Warehouse, called him and said I know you are going to do that one because we saw it on TV. I want to donate the paint for it. Carmichael said that he will keep the leftover paint and if anything shows damage after the winter, he will touch it up.
When interviewed before about the other statues and work he did at his age, he said then, “I’m thankful, thank the Lord I’m 80-years-old and have made it this far.”
Carmichael never wants any recognition for his work. He just wants the folks to enjoy them after they are finished. This statue of ‘The Last Supper’ is bound to be one many will enjoy for years to come.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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