The way light plays across and unexpectedly illuminates forms whispers “Paint!”
It is the challenge of depicting light and the nuances of colors that truly pulls me into the creative process. It is when the magic happens and the piece takes on a voice of its own. When I step back from the work to see what has transpired, I still experience that childlike wonder.
I am passionate about painting children and pets. My work is influenced by the American Impressionist Mary Cassatt, whose works captured the freshness and vitality of everyday life of mothers and their children in the late 19th century. Over the years, as I raised my family, I discovered that the treasure of being a mother is the life and memories we create with our own children. It is with this theme in mind that I paint each portrait.
After earning a BFA from Missouri State University, Marla Rush Parnell continued her art studies with master pastel artists, learning to truly see the subtle hues in the colors of light and how to replicate those hues with lush layers of soft pastels.
She has created well over 400 commissioned pastel portraits, primarily of children and pets. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States. Currently, Marla teaches drawing and beginning/intermediate pastel painting to students in her studio at our Creava School For The Arts
Marla has received awards in numerous regional and national shows. In April, 2016, she earned a First Place award at the Pastel National 2016 at Wichita, Kansas. In March, 2010, her painting of a sheltie won Best in Show in the national juried Art Show At The Dog Show in Wichita, Kansas. Her winning entry was purchased by Purina and has been donated to the permanent collection of the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in St. Louis, MO
Marla is a member of the Pastel Society of America (New York), Gateway Pastel Artists (St. Louis), International Association of Pastel Societies, a juried member of The Best of Missouri Hands, and Springfield Regional Arts Council. She is represented by Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.