Bio and Artist’s Statement
Ralph Parker received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston in 1972, and worked for many years as a draftsman in the oil industry, a freelance architectural illustrator for architects, developers and graphics firms, and produced technical illustrations and marketing materials in the automotive armor industry. He and is wife Nell also operated an art gallery for a short time in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
For most of his adult life, his fine art was an extension of his work experience as a draftsman, consisting of detailed, highly rendered drawings in pen and ink, graphite pencil and colored pencil.
His small book, Becoming a Painter in Only 45 Years, chronicles the ups and downs of a lifetime of working at non-art jobs, while pursuing artistic endeavors late into the night and during weekends. It contains over 40 images of drawings and illustrations done during those years. It can be previewed here.
In 2007, Parker shifted his focus from just drawing and turned to brushes and paint. Choosing gouache as his medium, he spent the next seven years teaching himself to paint with online guidance and mentoring from other artists. In February 2009, he retired from regular employment to paint the landscape fulltime. In early 2015, in addition to gouache, he began drawing and sketching again, producing whimsical storybook art with pen & ink and watercolor. In 2016, he began exploring the possibilities of plein air/urban sketching, and in 2017 at age 73, he began painting the landscape in acrylics. He and his wife, Nell, have participated in art markets and festivals from Texas to Ohio.
I love making art. As a child, I copied the newspaper comics. As a teenager, I drew hot rods. As an adult, I focused on Native American and western art. When I finally started painting, I looked for peaceful scenes filled with light, that invite viewers to remember a place or moment in their own experience. I want them to stop for awhile, to sit on a quiet creek bank, or stand at the edge of an open field and enjoy the sun and listen to the sounds that nature makes.
Aside from painting with brushes, I also love line work and spend a lot of time working in pencil and pen & ink. I can get lost in whimsical illustrations of quaint old buildings and storybook environments. In my senior years, I’m still learning and experimenting with descriptive art.
FIRST PLACE, Paintings – 125 Show 2010, Plano Art Association, Plano, TX (“Reflections”, 9×12 Gouache)
FAV 15 – September 2010 Canvoo Bold Brush Painting competition (jury’s favorite 15%) (“Secret Bridge”, 16×20 Gouache)
FAV 15 – October 2010 Canvoo Bold Brush Painting Competition (“Into the Woods”, 8×10 Gouache)
FAV 15 – July 2011 Canvoo Bold Brush Painting Competition (“Little Blue Cottage”, 9×12, Gouache)