From The Bugle
Becky Barker enjoys
cherished pets and
bySara Schick el
“Art is everywhere,” said Becky Barker of rural
Barker is a portrait artist whose work graces the walls
of homes throughout the United States.
Her lifelong interest in art developed into serious
study and ultimately her own business.
“After my first child was born and he got older, I
started taking home-study classes,” she said.
She and her husband Rusty have been married 38
years and have four children, three of whom are living,
and four grandchildren.
The couple resides on her husband’s family farm, less
than two miles from the home she lived in as a child.
Barker began her Rainbow Trail Studio about 10 years
ago and balances her art along with her position as a paraprofessional
for the Prairie Central School District.
Jean Ertel of Gibson City commissioned Barker to
paint seven portraits over the years.
“I had my parents done. She made [a portrait] of my
husband’s parents for a Christmas gift,” Ertel explained.
“She just does a really good job. She never knows what
I’m going to throw at her,” laughed Ertel.
Rather than arranging for special sittings with her
subjects, Barker receives pictures of the person she is
going to paint.
This system works well as many of her clients are not
from the area and may even be from other states.
She has completed work for people in California,
Indiana, Florida, Colorado and Mexico.
In addition to portraits of people, Barker creates special
projects of beloved animals.
Often times, she is asked to paint pets that have
While some of her paintings remain true to the photographs
they come from, Barker is sometimes asked
to combine several subjects from different photos into
“I love doing the skin tones, hair color and eyes,”
She was commissioned to paint a portrait of a mother
with her two children.
The son passed away and the mother wanted a portrait
of the family together.
Barker was supplied
with various photographs
of the family members.
She managed to adjust
the size, lighting, and
clothing so the newly created
portrait looked as if
the family members were
posed especially for the
The process is labor
intensive and it typically
takes her around 25 hours
to complete a portrait of
She added, “Along with
portraits, I also do rocks.”
The Rock-A-Baby creations
are intricate paintings
of animal on rocks.
“We live on a farm. A
lot of the rocks are indigenous
to the area which
means they came out of the
fields,” Barker explained.
In addition to painting,
Barker enjoys cooking,
sewing and reading.
She also has an interest in
“I’m retiring in a couple
years, so [travel] is on my
list,” she said.
Egypt and Paris top the
list of places she plans to go.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Becky Barker Story: "