Richard Bernard Leonard was born in 1929 to parents Matthew John Leonard Jr. and Lizzie Graney-Leonard of Portland. At age 7 he underwent a horrific mastoid surgery, and almost lost his life. He grew up on 1208 and 1312 Congress Street, and around 1946 the family moved to 32 Sewall Street. Richard attended Portland School of Art, and was an acclaimed artist from an early age. See newspaper clipping below with him receiving The Baxter Award.
While living on Sewall Street, he opened up a paint store in 1967, on the corner called The Paint Pot, which is still in business today, and sells California Paints. Richard retired from the business in 1991:
While many in Portland know Richard as owner and manager of The Paint Pot, many others still know him well as a commercial artist.
Richard had befriended many of the Italian families of Cumberland County in his travels. The DiSanto Family, as owners of Anjon's, gave him the nickname "Leonardo" for his very popular mural work showcased on the walls of many of Portland's finest restaurants. To name a few, Anjon's, Sportsmans, DiPaolo's Restaurant, Deering Ice Cream Union Station, Bubba's Sulky Lounge, and the Hotel Victoria and Falmouth Hotel, and signs for Maria's Restaurant. He also worked on a large mural at a restaurant called "The French Club" in Lewiston, as well as several KofC and Freemason clubhouses in Lewiston, in addition to many murals in many private homes.
MURALS AT SPORTSMAN'S ON CONGRESS STREET
MURALS AT ANJON'S ON ROUTE 1 IN SCARBOROUGH
MURALS AT DIPAOLO'S RESTAURANT ON MIDDLE STREET
|RICHARD'S PAINTING OF RED SKELTON CHARACTER|
Back in the early 70's, he and John DiMillo were painting large dinosaur logos on the Sinclair gas tanks in South Portland. I seem to recall seeing one when I was a child, and having later dismissed it as my own childhood imagination. It was nice to learn that I wasn't hallucinating after all, once I eventually met my cousin Richard in person.
While every single mural of Richard's is now gone, due to businesses closing and building demolition, and since Richard managed to not keep photographs of his work, I was able to find a few photographs online, courtesy of people who like to memorialize historical Portland businesses.
Richard Leonard (2010)