Barbra Wikle

Born: March 23, 1938
Dekalb County, Ga.
Resides: Habersham County, Ga.

As a child in a family of nine growing up in post-depression Atlanta, Barbara remembers padding the holes in her shoes with paper and telling her teacher time and again that she had forgotten her lunch money. This self-taught artist who has always liked to draw began her painting career timidly in 1986. As the owner of an antiques shop in the mountains of North Georgia where her husband had grown up, Wikle practically hid the first of her paintings, unsigned, in an out-of -the-way corner of the shop. A customer found one, asked who the artist was, requested that she sign it and then asked to purchase it. With this encouragement Barbara continued to create her naive works of art.

Barbara and her husband married in 1972. Between them they have eight children. A special and joyous part of the Wikle's life is their son Nathan who was born with Down Syndrome. The Wikle's say that they have experienced unconditional love from Nathan and in turn have learned to love others unconditionally. When Nathan was two years old Barbara learned that his given name of Nathaniel means "God is Given". Wikle's attitude in life is that she will make her way, persevering through good times and bad. In addition to her own children she has raised a grandson, and once, when separated from her husband, bought a few yards of burlap material and made tote bags which she sold to a local shop owner. Wikle's work is in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum International in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; included in the collection of Governor Zell Miller, members of the rock groups REM and Widespread Panic, an Atlanta Hawks team member, Dr. Charles Knapp, past president of the University of Georgia; exhibited at the Swan Coach House at the Atlanta History Center; and on the cover of "These Days", a Presbyterian publication distributed throughout the United States and Canada.