artNotes from Hyde House: Watercolor Botanicals at the Library   


Two artCentral Satellite Galleries have brand new installations ready for your viewing pleasure.

In the Foyer Gallery at the Carthage Public Library, you will find “Watercolor Botanicals”, the fresh new works of artCentral’s newest member artist. Fourteen-year-old Sierra Hicks has enjoyed sketching since she was very young. Early in the pandemic Sierra enrolled in a free watercolor course online. After taking the class she thought she still preferred her usual colored pencils, but over the next months Sierra found herself drawn to watercolors. As her gentle style emerged and evolved in her nature notebooks, she began to move to canvas.

Sierra’s love for art began with her love for science and her aspiration to a career in biology. Studying the natural world around her, she has created nature journals filled with sketches and paintings companioned with written notes and observations as well as diagrams of the budding spring twigs from a dozen trees on her family’s property and renderings of angles of flamingo beaks she noticed at the zoo, wooly members of the bison herd at Prairie State Park and a series of mosses and lichens observed on a recent family trip to the Great Smokie Mountains.

Sierra’s family has fostered lasting relationships around the globe as a Friendship Family to international students at Missouri Southern State University. Inspired to study Japanese, Sierra hopes to one day spend time exploring the natural world and the culture of Japan where she has a very special older “sister.”


A home educated student, from science and art to history and classic literature, Sierra loves to learn. She also loves gaining knowledge through travel and experiences: she appreciates the autonomy this lifestyle allows in her studies and other pursuits. In addition to art some of her interests include piano, ukulele and guitar. Sierra has played Pollyanna, Fern of Charlotte’s Web, and the 5 of Spades on stage at Joplin’s Stained Glass Theatre. She participates in a local youth choir and shoots in a trap and skeet league with her dad.

Sierra grew up in a Carthage neighborhood. Her family now lives on a handful of acres a mile outside of town. There you might find her painting in her mom’s garden or finishing her schoolwork in a canoe on the pond. Her room houses twenty-seven plants, providing subject matter for artistic pursuits while also keeping the air healthy in their home. In addition to her two beloved cats, Sierra lives with her very supportive mom and dad and an energetic little sister.

In her Artist Statement Sierra tells us: “I see all of nature as an affirmation of the Creator’s beauty, and I want my work to reflect some small measure of this. When I create an image and explore the intricacies of a plant’s colors and structure, I find even more beauty than what first inspired me to paint a particular plant. If something captures my interest for a painting, I usually study the subject for a few days and consider every detail. I will look at a flower blossom asking, ‘Will this be easy or hard to paint, and will my end result be worth my efforts?’ When I feel confident and prepared to begin, I take my chosen plant to my mini studio—my desk in my room. If the plant is outside, I gather up a pencil, canvas, brushes and palette, a micron pen, a tombow eraser, a cup of water and a lawn chair…then I get to work. I love painting!”

Eighteen artCentral artists, well-established in our regional art world, echo Sierra’s love for artmaking through the gracious underwriting of the McCune-Brooks Healthcare Foundation. Their eighteen delightful selections from artCentral’s Annual Membership Exhibition can be enjoyed at The Atrium Gallery in Sirloin Stockade. The diversity of imagery and media in these creations is exciting—from vibrant flowers to wildlife fowl to nostalgic landscape and domestic accoutrements—from photographs to oils and acrylics and watercolors, too. The styles of the artists represented are as unique as the artists themselves. Kudos to these hardworking and accomplished creators including Jane Ballard, Andrew Batcheller, Eric Beezley, Diana Bray, Jim Bray, Barbara Hicklin, Janice Kinman, Koral Martin, Connie Miller, Janice Myers, Ina Niday, Sandra Parrill, Jordy Vulpine, Lora Waring, Nancy Wildwood, Beth Yang, Marilyn York and Bonnie Young.

Opening August 6, 2021, at artCentral in Hyde House, Debbie and Richard Reed will present their paintings and pottery in METAMORPHOSIS—a collaborative exhibition showcasing their seventy-six new and original artworks!

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