​ I began my career in art as a potter, and for 35 years, I belonged to the Colorado Potter’s Guild.   My work was largely utility pieces, until I discovered salt-firing hand-built pieces. 

In 2002, my husband and I purchased a sailboat and outfitted her for blue water sailing.  We sailed from Virginia to the British Virgin Islands, a trip of 1500 miles, straight down the Atlantic in 11 days.  We sailed for four of those days in gale-force storms.  At one point, we were 1200 miles off shore.  (You are never frightened in these circumstances, because you are too tired or too busy to worry about it.)  Since then we have spent about five months a year in the Caribbean. 

Before we left, I started taking watercolor lessons in Denver Colorado, and  have since shared this exciting experience with over 265 students in ten years.  In 2005, we moved to South Dakota where I  joined the Artist in Residence program at the Avera Cancer Institute for several years.  The best volunteer job ever!  Then, after teaching at the Center for Active Generations I started the Great Plains Watercolor Society along with a great, strong leadership team.  There are currently 120 members.



Education:  Self taught watercolor artist.  Watercolor classes from:  Stan Miller, Sterling Edwards, Frank Francese,  Karlyn Holman,  Judy Patti, Joan Fullerton, Ann Abgott


MBA - Business and Marketing, University of Colorado, Denver, CO; Bachelors of Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 



Selected Exhibitions:


Watercolor on the Plains,  March 2 - August 18, 2019 in the South Dakota Gallery, Visual Art Center, Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, SD


South Dakota Governor’s 8th Biennial Art Exhibition, 2019 to 2020.  


Reflections Squared, Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, SD; 


4th Annual National Juried Exhibition, NorthStar Watermedia Society, Minneapolis, MN, 2018; 


New Trends in Water Media, Colorado Watercolor Society, Denver, CO, 2018 (juried show);  


3rd Annual National Juried Exhibition, NorthStar Watermedia Society, Minneapolis, MN, 2017;  


National Healing Arts Program, Prairie Center, Sioux Falls, SD, 2014 (Best of Show)



Memberships:  Great Plains Watercolor Society, South Dakota;  Colorado Watercolor Society;  Northstar Watercolor Society.


Most importantly, I have found out that creating art is a wonderful thing to share; it is exciting, healing, and restful—all at the same time​

about

barbara sparks

Watercolor artist and teacher