By Ann Leach

Almost all of us can remember the old joke about “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” and the famous answer of “practice, practice, practice.” From artist to athlete, the rally cry is the same: practice.

And artist Barbara Hicklin does just that with continuing lessons in watercolor and oil painting. She has developed her work as a representational painter and devotes a number of hours each week to learning more about her chosen mediums.

“I have been a fan of watercolor for many years and collected paintings for years but never had the time to pursue it,” Hicklin said. “Life got in the way. But only recently have I been able to devote the time to learning to paint.” 

She began taking lessons at Local Color 12 years ago and said, “Once I got started, I was hooked.” 

Since setting that goal, she has studied with local artists Donna Roberts and Paula Giltner, and has taken workshops with such watercolorists as Paul Jackson, Tony Couch and Birgit O’Connor.

Hicklin is inspired by nature and enjoys painting flowers and birds and exploring the myriad of possibilities of still life painting. She shared her painting of Joplin’s flower, the iris, with us as an example of her attention to detail and the beauty she experiences in nature.

Her practice has paid off and she was invited to join the artist cooperative at Local Color about five years ago.

“It has been a great experience and we all learn from each other,” she said. “This has given me an outlet to sell my art, and I am always happy when someone admires and purchases my work.”  

Though she doesn’t paint every day, Hicklin is always on the lookout for ideas. And her shift at Local Color every Tuesday keeps her surrounded in art and color. She returns to the gallery to paint with her teacher, Paula Giltner, on Wednesday afternoons. 

She herself teaches a class in beginning watercolor on Tuesdays. “I don’t have a ‘quota’ of pieces I want to produce,” she said, “But I am always working on something.”

Hicklin is committed to continuing her goals as an artist. “People often say to me, ‘I wish I had your talent,’ but I believe there is an artist in all of us,” she said. “It just takes a lot of time, work and persistence to find it. My only goal is to keep improving my skills and to just keep painting.”


Hicklin is a member of the Joplin Regional Artists Coalition, Spiva Center for the Arts, ArtCentral and the Missouri Watercolor Society.