Born in San Diego, California, Barbara Vaupel taught herself to draw. She took a night-school class in California with Floyd Chandler, who emphasized color and atmospheric progression. For a while she did advertisements and later proofread ads. But Vaupel wanted to paint horses - particularly quarter horses. "I never lived the life of raising and showing horses," she says. "But the next best thing to living the life is painting it!" Leaving friends and family behind, in 1967 she headed for Oklahoma. Her earliest horse portraits and rodeo scenes were done on commission. Among them was a portrait of retail wizard Sam Walton with his hunting dogs and pheasant. Recently, the landscapes dominate the horses on her canvases. "I guess that is because of my love of this Oklahoma countryside."
Along with gallery representation, Vaupel has shown in the Women Artist and the West exhibit, Tucson, AZ, and with the Texas Cowboy Artists. She is also included in An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West, as well as named 1999 Outstanding Art Book, 38th Annual Western Heritage Awards.