Barbara Powell is an artist and teacher living in Hagerstown, Maryland.
She works in acrylics, watercolor and oils, and is well-known along the East Coast — especially in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas — for her miniature buildings, done in acrylic on wood. She has created miniatures of many famous buildings, including a series she calls the Morgan County Collection Series.
That series consists of over 40 buildings in the historic town of Berkeley Springs, W. Va., including the county court house, area churches, the fire station, hotels, a local castle, a Roman bath in the park, all of interest to the town’s many visiting tourists.
The chaplain at Camp David has even commissioned Barbara to do wooden miniatures of his chapel, which he then presented to visiting dignitaries.
Many fans collect her miniatures.
Barbara has always had a knack for drawing, something encouraged by her mother at an early age. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, she developed an appreciation for nature early in life, something that would eventually have a profound effect on her choice of subjects when painting.
At 17, she attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, but had to leave when her father lost his job a year later. That year of art school cemented her life-long love of the arts, however. She would later take a variety of art classes as she raised a family.
She has used practically every medium – from pottery to crafts to all types of paintings – to give life to her creative ideas.
She had never used oils as an artistic medium, however, until she stumbled upon a class in Hagerstown taught by a Bob Ross certified instructor. She decided to take a few classes and soon was hooked. Eventually she decided to become a teacher herself and went to Smyrna Beach, Florida, to become certified.
She currently teaches the Bob Ross method of oil painting in Maryland and Pennsylvania. As a certified Bob Ross instructor in landscapes, florals and wildlife, she draws students from South-Central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.
Her classes run five hours, including a lunch break. Many of her students have never painted before, but everyone finishes a painting during that time.
“I love teaching,” she said. “It gives me great pleasure to see a student finish a painting he or she can take home that same day and be proud to display in their living room.”