Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Muralist completes grand work of art in Ardmore


February 15, 2023

Braving the cold and windy air more than 100 feet above the ground, muralist Dr. Bob Palmer (Ed. D.) and his assistant, Lee Robins, recently finished a colossal painting of a Chickasaw warrior. His dizzyingly high "canvas" was the Bluebonnet Feeds' silo in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

"Dr. Palmer told me at the beginning, you better rent that lift for a month," said Kay Watson, Ardmore Beautification Council (ABC) board member who coordinates mural creations in Ardmore. "He worked very hard through some cold and windy weather to complete the entire project in two weeks. His assistant Lee Robins was a huge asset, making this work go safely and efficiently. Seemingly, Lee could read Palmer's mind. When the muralist needed a different tool, another color of paint, it would already be on the way up. They make a phenomenal team.

"We all know what a strong, cold wind feels like at ground level. That cold wind is much stronger and colder 100 feet in the air. Dr. Palmer had to get really close to the surface of the silo with the spray paint because the wind was so strong. But he kept bundled up and worked through every bit of daylight," she continued.

The finished piece features a Chickasaw warrior accompanied by two Chickasaw horses on each side. Clouds and symbols of wind patterns and a sun design create a background on the brilliant blue base coat that wraps around the monumental silo.

"I got to know a lot of nice, supportive people during this project," Palmer said. "I love the team effort that goes into painting. That's part of why I've devoted my life to painting. I love seeing my work make people happy.

"We were out there in the cold working feverishly," he continued. "But so many people drove up to see us or stop by to say hello, and we really appreciated that. I would turn around and there would be people all over filming it, just parked on the street looking or standing around and pointing. Even people passing by on the train would wave at us. It was a great experience overall."

The mural was one of the tallest murals Palmer has completed so far.

"There are a lot of challenges that come with working up that high. It is a little unnerving, but you have to respect the height, making sure everything is safe, that the harness is in place. You also have to deal with the elements, rain, wind, snow," Palmer said. "The proportions were the most challenging. It was just so huge and then the surface wasn't flat, it wrapped around. It wasn't always smooth. The curves created a challenge. It was definitely daunting."

Palmer has painted many murals across Oklahoma, as well as Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Macedonia and Greece. He has published a book about his paintings and travels titled "Painting Oklahoma and Beyond," which can be purchased from local bookstores and

The mural was made possible due to the collaboration of the Chickasaw Nation, Ardmore Beautification Council, Westheimer Family Foundation, Bluebonnet Feeds, Anchor Paint and others. Chickasaw Nation artists Dustin Mater and Marc Milligan designed the original mock-up for the mural.

The Ardmore Beautification Council has been a nonprofit community organization for more than 30 years, making a difference educating the public, hosting litter prevention programs, coordinating mural projects and promoting recycling efforts to name a few of its accomplishments. They partner with the city of Ardmore and Ardmore Main Street to upkeep the many flower beds and landscaping on Main Street, in Central Park, around the "Welcome to Ardmore" signs and other areas in Ardmore. The motto "A Beautiful City is Good Business" shows up in everything the Ardmore Beautification Council does.

"This is probably the grandest piece of outdoor art Ardmore has ever seen," Ms. Watson said.

"It is something we can all look up and clearly see our shared cultural history in Oklahoma, and particularly in Chickasaw Nation territory. It reflects a great sense of pride. I believe this is something everyone will be coming to see for many years."

Bluebonnet is working on plans to add lights at the bottom of the mural so the painting can be seen at night, hoping it will create yet another perspective of the masterpiece.

Palmer's work can be viewed on his website,


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