Artist Biography: Barbara Parrish


I began my artistic journey long before I ever picked up a paint brush. As a child, watching my older brother paint gave birth to a secret desire to create art for myself. In lieu of art lessons, I followed a musical path, completing a Music Education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1n 1976. After college, I moved to Holmes County where I met and married my husband. The next twenty seven years were devoted to rearing our three children on our family farm. After the children left the nest, I finally confessed my life-long ambition to paint to my husband who bought me a beginner set of oil paints for my 50th birthday. With the encouragement of family and friends, I have made a commitment to develop my art and follow this path wherever it may lead. I am currently studying with Carol Epperson of Raymond, MS.

Artist’s Statement

Robert Frost in his poem The Pasture tells the reader, “I shan’t be gone long—You come too.” This may best describe my approach to painting. As I paint, I try to invite the viewer to mentally and emotionally enter a world that I have experienced. I never rudely push or a shock my audience but instead gently nudge him along. For me, a polite and less demanding invitation encourages the viewer to move through the painting at his leisure and explore it to his satisfaction. To extend the invitation, I rely on creating forms, directing the eye with brush strokes and movement of light, and subtle changes in temperature, chroma, and value.

It is important to me that I develop the painting while at the same time keeping everything on the canvas very loose. This gives me more range of expression, and the viewer has more freedom to interpret the work for himself. Sometimes he will serendipitously find things in the work that I did not even know were there. If a work succeeds, it is because the viewer responds to the invitation and finds something during his visit that resonates with his own experience.

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