Painting of the Jordan River
 John Neal Murals and Fine Art
  Call me at 515 577-3285

Museum Works

This image is in the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum in Johnston, IA. It is 22' x 11'. It depicts a place called the Sunken Road at the Battle of Shiloh. The battle line will be completed with an artificial dirt road and mannequins in front of my painting.

 My soldiers are in various stages of loading their weapons (if they haven't been shot).

Here it is with all of the 3D stuff in front.

This is the WWII Pacific Theater exhibit at The Gold Star Museum without the 3D elements. We are depicting a generic landing of Marines on a generic Pacific island. This scene could have happened anywhere in the Pacific Theater of WWII.

Here's our finished WWII Pacific Marine landing.

This structure is a replica of the conning tower of a Cold War era nuclear submarine. It is in the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.

These photos were taken through the left and right doorways of the conning tower. You can see my painting on the inside wall with a real, functional periscope in front if it.

This is a composite image of my painting. It is what you would see if the periscope wasn't in the way. The central part is an accurate life-size Cold War era nuclear sub control station.

I really enjoyed all of the minute detail. The sub veterans told me that the steaming cup of coffee made it even more true to real life.

This is my painting for the Vietnam exhibit at the Gold Star Museum before they put the 3D stuff on the platform.

We blended as many of the different landscape features as possible. Veterans have told me that this painting really feels like Vietnam to them.

This is a French airfield durring WWI painted at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum. It is in honor of Americans who flew to help the French before the United States entered the war.

The war damaged storefront to the left of my painting houses a display that gives the feel of a WWI battlefield trench at night. As the visitor exits the trench they see a morning sky over my French airfield.

The wall to the right of my painting is a section of a ship's hull with "Dazzle Cammo". Durring WWI we discovered that we could protect our ships from German subs by painting them in crazy patterns. These patterns made it harder for the Germans to hit the ships with their torpedoes because they couldn't tell visually which direction the ships were heading.

The American pilots had two actual lion cubs for mascots.

This is a view of the WWII Normandy landing at the Dog Green sector (made famous by the film "Saving Private Ryan") from the perspective of a German machine gun bunker. There is no photograph of anything like this so we had to rely on research to create our own scene. It is painted on an 8' x 12' curved wall. 

A bunker was constructed with a machine gun which enables the visitor to view the landing from the perspective of a German soldier.

This is a Korean war F-86 fighter jet. It is the specific jet piloted by Captain Hal Fisccher from Iowa. The front nose section of the jet was sculpted and painted by another company, and I painted the rest of the jet onto the curved wall, as well as the cut-out of Captain Fischer. This is at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.

This is a life sized portrait of Captain Hal Fischer.

Indoor Murals

This is the entryway of the Union Hall of the Electrical Workers Local Union No. 55. We tried to display many of the things that linemen do to keep our electricity up and running, and how they take care of this in all weather conditions.

Everything is painted here including the window and the plant. This mural is in a very popular Mexican restaurant called Tasty Tacos in Urbandale, Iowa.

This is another window painting for another Tasy Tacos restaurant.

Another Tasty Tacos mural. The three windows allowed for more diversity in the landscape. I included many of the beautiful natural features of Mexico.

This bay window was painted on the stairwell wall in a private home. Notice the way I emulated the real wood work in my painting. This family wanted a specific light house to be "outside", but the image beyond the window could have been anything.

This one is in a private home. The owners aquired a beautiful desk from the 1930's and they wanted me to paint the entire room to look like an office from that period. I painted all of the walls to look like wooden paneling with two painted windows. Inside the windows I painted two colorized, retro photos of downtown Des Moines.

I colorized the two originally black and white photos that I painted from. One shows Locust St. looking west and the other looking east toward the Capitol building. My painted scenes were done to look identical to the old, colorized photos.

Here are front and side views of a sports themed dog kennel. As you can see, I had to design my concession stand around a real window they wanted to keep using. It is one of many fun murals I've done for the Avondale Vetrinary Healthcare Complex in Des Moines.

This one is 10" above the floor in the same room as the concession stand mural (the kennel). We wanted to show the guests doing the same things their owners are probably doing.

I used the pets of Avondale clients and staff for my models, and my dog is the hula dancer.

This one is in the lobby of the kennel or "pet resort" as they refer to it at Avondale. We thought that this painting should be a ritzy animal hotel lobby with their logo on the wall behind the counter.

You can see the whole thing from this angle. I like my puppy running through the lobby from the pool you would expect at a fancy hotel.

These are in the groomimg room.

This one was intended to brighten up some otherwise unused space above a doorway in a storage facility office. What could do the trick better than an under water scene with tropical fish?

This is a 6' x 4' guest bathroom. We wanted to make it feel like this room is under water with fish swimming around it.

All four walls have something painted on them.

You see this guy when you close the door!

I painted clouds in this 15' diameter circle on the ceiling of a church built in 1917 in Hartford, Iowa.

The older members wanted some clouds in this space because that's how it used to be years ago.

This painting is an accurate depictition of the Jordan River in Israel. It is above the baptismal tub at a church in Knoxville, Iowa.

This is the whole Jordan River baptismal painting up close.

This is a scene of the Rocky Mountains. It is 11' x 4'. I added the road and a red Camero that is exactly like the one my client owned in the 1970's. It is painted on two wooden gesso boards so it can be taken out of his basement if he moves.

This one is a plywood cut out plaque. It is a larger than life sized depiction of the Good Samaritan story. It hangs 1/2" out from the surface of the wall. These are fun to do because the outer edge is also a design element. An added benifit for the client is that they can be moved.

This is how the Good Samaritan cut out looks in the Helping Hands Food Pantry in Knoxville, Iowa.

These are two views of the library at St. Pius X Catholic School in Urbandale, Iowa. There are five cut out plaques you can see that reflect the priorities of the school, and, in some cases, the content of the books on the shelves below them.

This plaque represents the primary priority of the school with my own original depiction of Jesus. The children are dressed in their school attire. (All these plaques hang 1/2" out from the wall's surface.)

Here are some familiar objects from the students' every day life. These colors and objects will reappear in the other plaques. Notice the mouse peeking out from behind the lunchbox.

It was a challenge to make a dinosaur body appear to be skate boarding. The mouse is in his pocket, and he is wearing some of the colors from the previous plaque. The books on the shelves below him are about rocket ships, dinosaurs and skate boarding among other things.

You can see the backpack, skate board, and lunch box in this tree house. There is also a St. Pius X fleece and a staue of Jesus. The mouse is peeking out from behind the treasure chest. The tree house theme is from the books below, and this particular one seems to belong to one of the school's students.

This is one of my favorite images I've ever painted! It is the treasure chest from the tree house. The books below  it contain science-fiction, fantasy, fiction, and historical fiction. That is why my mouse is dressed in a Despereaux costume fending off a cat with a light saber, and one of Mr. Popper's penguins is dueling a fire breathing dragon with a Harry Potter wand. 

This one is above the hot tub in Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston, IA. It reflects the north woods theme of the hotel.

I enjoyed painting the moose and bears and duplicating the 3D rocks (in the lower left corner of the mural).

I painted it with exterior latex, and put on a clear coat to protect it from the humidity and fumes of the pool chemicals.

This is the entryway for a Chinese restaurant called Heavenly. The Food is from the Silk Road region and the mural is relectiive of the art from that area as well. The composition is my own, but the style is very different from the way I normally paint.

This one is inside the Heavenly Chinese restaurant. I painted it to appear to be a faded image on the old brick wall. It is imagery taken from the famous Mogao Grottoes in the Silk Road region. They wanted a mural reflective of their culture that also has a contemporary feel. 

This one is in the bedroom of a couple of boys. You can see that the style is taylored to younger children and more cartoony than my usual work.

A little girl's room. These are really fun and require far less time than my usual style.

This mural is above the dance floor at a Des Moines sports bar called Trophy's.

Outdoor Murals

Here are views from both ends of a 145' retaining wall at a retirement community called Deerfield in Urbandale, Iowa. The left end is 3' high and it rises to 10' at the right end. The mural was commissioned to beautify an area that is overlooked by people in the medical care facility. It depicts a four season Iowa landscape with rural and urban elements. I painted it with a mineral based paint called Keim which permanently bonds with mineral surfaces. I always try to encourage the use of this paint on outdoor murals because it will never peel or fade. If you are looking for an outdoor mural you can learn more about Keim at

The residents wanted me to include the bike trail that runs through the campus, including a portrait of their golf cart and one of the actual residents driving it.

The residents wanted a view of the Des Moines skyline beyond a cornfield at harvest time.

The Iowa state capitol is really beautiful. Everyone loved my rendering of the golden dome.

This is the first phase of a two part project. It is located in a business area called La Placita in Des Moines. It was completed in the summer of 2015. My job was to create a space where there is a Mexican party going on with the beginnings of a diverse crowd. Part two will be to add more people to the party, and maybe some decorations on the contemporary hacienda structure at the center. The hacienda, the surrounding orange wall, the wooden pillars, and the fountain in front of the mariachi band are reflective of the architectural designs of the surrounding buildings in the area. This was painted with Keim mineral paint.

This is the completed second phase of the La Placita mural. It was done in the summer of 2016. My son and I added 32 people.

The second phase was also painted in Keim, so this guy will be standing here fooling people for a very long time!

This is the west side of a brand new Tasty Tacos building. They designed the exterior walls with spots for me to paint fun window murals that are the same size as the actual windows. My son and I put three images on the west side and two on the east side.

These are portraits of family members who participate in the family business. Everyone was pleased with their likenesses.

These are life-size military figures from WWI through the present day painted on an American Legion post building in Melcher-Dallas, Iowa. It was uniquely difficult because the walls are made out of corrogated metal with ridges running vertically through the figures. 

The window image was painted on an insert that was glued into an unused window opening in the wall. If there really was a window in this spot, the stuff behind the figure is what you would see.

This is Graziano Bros. Italian grocery store. It has been in business in this building for over 100 years. The desire was to make it look like it did back in 1912. I painted the upstairs windows, the people, the Italian flag, the large picture windows, the canopies, the screen door and some of the original signage complete with the appropriate shadows.

Back in the day people used to live on the second floor. This guy is one of the original brothers.

I spent a lot of time rendering the kinds of products they actually sell inside.

I dressed two of my neighbor kids in 1912 clothing. Everyone really loves the little girl.

This is a portrait of the manager's grandfather. The sign is about their beloved sausage, but it is designed to look like an old school Gold Medal flour sign. They had product signs like this one on this part of the wall years ago.

This building houses the Italian American Cultural Center Of Iowa. It is 150' long and 15' up to 20' high. It depicts Italy on the left end, Ellis Island in the middle and life in the United States on the right end. It tells the story of the immigration of the Italian people, and how they continue to maintain their culture.

The water of Venice morphs into the Statue of Liberty were you see an immigrant family planting themselves in the U.S.

Here you see the Italian people making America their home by assimilating and still maintaning their culture.

This one is on a flood wall in Jeffersonville Indiana. It celebrates a local hardware store that has been around for  almost 100 years. It has portraits of all of the owners from its beginning until today.

This one is on the side of a garage in a very pleasant, private backyard. It was fun to do a simpler, cartoony style, and especially to do characters from Where The Wild Things AreI put my clients' dog in the scene.

This one is in Pleasantville, Iowa. It is a tribute to a famous local sprint car driver named Earl Wagner.

Earl's portrait can be seen from one of the town's main streets. Behind him is a local restaurant he used to frequent with friends and family after the races. I used the track to display eight of the cars he drove in chronological order. Next to him on the bench are two of his buddies, Dean and Slim, who owned or did mechanical work on some of the cars.

Earl's many accomplishments are listed on the dirt track of the Knoxville Speedway. I included one of his trophies, a painting (actual size) of a giant check he recieved, and the moccasins he drove in. The checkered flag contains the names of people who contributed to the mural.

The people in town tell me that they are startled once in a while when they walk through the alley and catch these two guys out of the corner of their eye.

This one was painted on the side of the American Legion Building in Cambridge, Iowa. It is a big thank you to everyone who served or will serve in our military. All of the branches are represented, and it spans the entire history of our country's military up to the time it was created. (Not all wars are represented, though.)

This is the first mural I ever did. It is about Riverview Park in Des Moines. I went there when I was a kid. My brother and I are the kids on the merry-go-round.