Fern Bartel, rural Goessel, has been painting her latest work — a mural of a longhorn on the wall of the Branding Iron café — off-and-on for about a month.
“I’ve always really wanted something on the wall,” café co-owner Rod Boese said.
Boese and Bartel work together at Bethesda Home. He asked her to paint a mural on the front of his business. Her proposal for a longhorn was quickly accepted.
The painting fits the theme of the café and is related to the Chisholm Trail, by which thousands of longhorn cattle were driven from Texas to Abilene in the 1800s. A portion of the Chisholm Trail passed through Marion County.
Bartel has worked on the mural in the mornings on her off days, quitting when temperatures got uncomfortably high. She is adding a “WELCOME” message to the mural and may add shadows of other longhorns, to indicate the one pictured is part of a herd, but the project is mostly done.
“It’s gone pretty fast, actually,” she said.
Bartel has been a painter most of her life. Her favorite projects are larger paintings that benefit the community. She often paints backdrops for Goessel High School plays, such as last year’s “The Wizard of Oz.”
“I like to paint big,” she said.
Even in its incomplete form, the mural has been popular with customers, especially children, Boese said.
“One evening, we had a little kid pointing out there. ‘Moo! Moo!’” Boese said.