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Passion to Paint

Cerebral Palsy Doesn’t Stop Zionsville’s Chris Barr From Painting

Writer & Photographer  /  Megan Jefferson

Challenges are nothing new to Christopher Barr. He has cerebral palsy but has never let that stop him from doing the things he loves, and developing new skills, like painting.

“We all have things we are good at and we all have challenges. Everyone can learn a skill as long as they really want to,” Barr says.

Christopher has always been interested in painting. He grew up in Indianapolis, and like many kids, he remembers his first experience was painting with water colors when he was in elementary school. He loved watching the colors mix together and creating a painting. Christopher is now 47 and renewed his passion for art. Every week he takes part in a painting lesson with an instructor at his home.

Over the last three months, Christopher has created nine paintings. He has learned that art teaches taking risks, and that it requires practice and focus.

Christopher is inspired by other painters. Bob Ross is one of his biggest inspirations. When he first watched his show, he said he thought Bob Ross looked like a regular guy and thought to himself, ‘if he can paint, then I can paint.’ And guess what? I’m right!”

Christopher enjoys listening to Bob’s soothing voice and watching the magical landscapes develop.

Many of Barr’s paintings are landscapes, too. He especially enjoys painting mountains because he loves using his favorite palette knife tool. His instructor finds images to reference and helps him map out the composition. They talk about color and how to mix the perfect shades and tones. The painting develops and Christopher often adds things from his imagination like a cabin or clouds. The result is a unique blend of color, form, movement and imagery.

Christopher hopes to show his work locally at a coffee shop or restaurant.

“When I am painting, it makes me feel very proud,” he says. “At first, I was doing this as a hobby and now I’ve been selling my work too. I feel very proud of myself.”

Art awakens the senses and opens the heart and mind to possibilities. It fuels the imagination and creates opportunities for self-expression. Creating art allows one to experience the world in new ways and develop hidden talent. Art keeps the magic alive.

 “A lot of people think they can’t paint because they don’t have skill or talent,” Christopher says. “But that’s not true. Anyone can paint, as long as they have a warm feeling in their heart and really apply themselves.”

To see Christopher’s work, visit his Facebook page: Chris Barr’s The Art of Painting.

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