The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Artist applies talents in new look for church


July 19, 2017

Artist Steve Nunez works on the facade around the door of Full Gospel Church.

Last year, Steve Nunez and Pastor Thomas Grenz got to talking about painting the entryway of Full Gospel Church at 1314 Long Street.

Nunez brought it up again this year.

“I said, let’s try to do something,” Nunez said.

That evening he came up with a drawing.

“When I was going to art school, I never liked coming up with something until I was under pressure. Then it was like ‘I’ve got to get it done.’”

Nunez, 69, and his wife Muriel live in Lebanon but have attended Full Gospel for three years. He has other paintings inside the church – a board with interchangeable hand-lettered Scripture verses, and a chalice and loaf of bread that represent the elements of the Communion meal.

For the exterior painting, he wanted to frame the entryway for the church, Nunez said.

He worked on the mural for about eight hours each day, for about two weeks. The church paid for the materials but he donated his time.

“We couldn’t pay him what it’s worth,” said Debbie Grenz, Thomas Grenz’ wife. “It fits with the town.”

When he was done with the entryway, he painted some less elaborate flourishes on side of the building that faces Long Street.

He said once he starts painting, it’s hard to stop.

“I think I am pretty happy with the way it came out,” Nunez said. “You’re always critical of your own work.”

Thomas Grenz said it is a fantastic mural.

Some parishioners were surprised when they saw the door to the church, which Nunez painted to have the appearance of rounded edges.

“How do you make a round door out of a square door?” Thomas Grenz said.

Debbie Grenz joked that Nunez cut the corners.

Nunez has done some sign painting for local businesses including Heritage Northwest.

While he was working on the church mural, Nunez was approached by another business owner and members of the beautification committee for future projects.

He’s taking a little break after finishing the church mural, though he did sneak in some lettering for a logging truck.

Nunez retired from Linn County in 2013, where he did road striping and signs for 17 years. He also worked for Foress Signs for 15 years.

Nunez moved to Jefferson from Bakersfield and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1966.

He went to a small art school in Portland.

“What really got me was the commercial end,” Nunez said. “I like lettering.”

In addition to signs and billboards, Nunez’s handiwork can be seen on commercial vehicles and hot rods.

While he enjoys that type of work, he wants to do more oil painting now that he is retired.

The oils he has done over the years adorn the walls he shares with his wife Muriel.

The sunflower he painted before he went to Vietnam in 1970 has prominent space by the stairs.

Nunez was in the Air Force from 1970 to 1975.

He and Muriel met in 1976 in Alaska. Steve was working at a sign shop there. Muriel’s father was in the military and her family is from Hawaii and California.

Nunez has worked doing

signage at a variety of businesses. In 1993, the couple lived in Arcadia, Calif., while he worked at the Santa Anita Race Track painting signs.

They moved back to Oregon after a couple of years. One of their two sons lives in Albany and the other lives in Florence.


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