Painting Rudolf

Muralist-Paul-Barker-paints-Rudolph-the-reindeerA brief informal video of Santa Claus, his sleigh, and his reindeer I painted late fall 2013 (including Rudolph, his nose not yet painted red) for a residential client in the Chicago suburbs to install on his rooftop in time for Christmas. Continue reading

What Not To Do at the Zoo

Some of my earliest memories are of the Audubon Park Zoo in New Orleans. My family lived in my Grandfather’s big house within hearing distance of it. As a toddler I knew when it was noon because the lions would start calling for lunch. I still love the quaint WPA zoo buildings with animals carved into the brick, the formal fountains and statuary. But in retrospect I realized that the zoo in the early 50s was actually an animal prison with iron bars whose tops curved down into spikes aimed at the animals. The inmates lived out their life sentences in small cells. Given the spirit-crushing boredom, I can’t help sympathizing with an inmate taking the opportunity to fling something at the gawking bipeds outside. Continue reading

Jesus Was a Plumber?

A long time ago, when I was working as a custom cabinetmaker and doing murals as a sideline, I was hired to paint a religious scene in the lunchroom at a Catholic hospital in a rural Illinois town. Supervising me would be the half-dozen-or-so nuns from the order that had founded the hospital. Continue reading

Bird Brains

Shorebirds exhibit murals in the Aviary at Milwaukee County ZooI was painting a beach scene for a flightless shore bird exhibit for the renovation of the aviary at the Milwaukee County Zoo in 1993. The Zoo folks seemed pleased with what they were seeing, commenting on how realistic the sand dunes looked. “Like you could just run up them,” they said. Continue reading