Skip to content


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.

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 and graphite and colored pencil like the examples on the left.

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.  In February 2009, he retired from regular employment to paint fulltime. He and his wife, Nell, have participated in art markets and festivals from Texas to Ohio.

His paintings have been described as peaceful and serene, with a quiet power to invoke memories of familiar places in the viewer’s own past.  His favorite themes involve quiet creeks and streams, winding paths and back country roads, and old structures with rusty roofs and missing boards, struggling to stand against the inevitable forces of time and weather.  While the bulk of his work in recent years has consisted of painting the landscape, his attention has turned increasingly to the development of whimsical illustration and storybook art.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2008 5:41 pm

    Ralph… You are a lucky man. 🙂 If you’ve always wanted to be an artist then you always have been. It’s a state of mind, the one that you obviously have been in.

    I like the gouache paintings that you’re doing. That is a wonderful medium to use.

    • December 7, 2008 4:19 am

      Marc, it’s a real pleasure to have someone of your reputation stop by and comment. I’ve become a fan of yours through WC. Thanks.

  2. July 9, 2009 9:27 pm


    I just spent the last hour reading your commentary on becoming an artist in 45 years. I was doing a search on William Anzalone and stumbled on your site. I met Bob Wygant on a couple of occasions and was represented by the same galleries as he was. I found your story fascinating (I have experienced the vicissitudes of the art business. Your work is striking in it’s simplicity – keep it up.

  3. July 18, 2010 3:38 pm

    Ralph, I have been looking at some of your paintings using WC with pen & Ink and brings back memories when I was practicing architecture (I’m an architect, ret.) and used to do architectural rendering of some of my projects, but now I use it on paintings as well occasionally

  4. Mike Irvin permalink
    November 11, 2010 1:10 pm

    Raplh, Debbie & I are in Sante Fe looking for any of your work. Got any here?

    • November 11, 2010 2:47 pm

      Sorry, Mike. I don’t currently have my work in a gallery at all. I appreciate the thought, though. If you’ve seen my work at any shows I’ve been to, you know what it looks like. I’d invite you to go to my galleries on my blog at and see if you find something you like. Thanks a lot for the interest!

  5. anthony batstra permalink
    January 5, 2011 6:15 am

    Hallo Ralph, I’m very found of your paintings, I’m a art teacher my self in Amsterdam, but the atmosphere in your paintings is really beautifull, the stilness, I Like it. About four months I stop working (retared) and then painting and drawing the whole day. Do you know, Isaac Israel and Monet ofcourse, they are my favorites!
    Greetings from the Netherlands

    • January 6, 2011 5:34 pm

      Hello Anthony! It’s very nice to hear from you. Monet, of course, but I’d never heard of Israels. I especially like The Donky Ride. Wonderful light in that one. Isn’t it nice to be able to paint and draw all day if you feel like it? Thank you for your very nice comments!

  6. March 28, 2011 6:57 am

    Mr. Parker:

    Just stumbled across your blog in a Google search and wanted to say how much I like the painting of the old Williford House ….The paintings of the old house immediately caught my attention as I have been fascinated by that old house since I was a little girl. Your work is a wonderful rendition of the old place.

    You see I grew up in Fairfield,Texas. Since coming back I too have taken opportunities to take many photos of the place. I find that it still captures my attention even though I’m much older,now.

    I’m looking for an opportunity to use it in one of my future story quilts.

    I don’t know if you like quilts or not…but I invite you to visit our blog at Enjoy!!!!

    Sherry Ann

  7. Steve Grubbs permalink
    December 5, 2012 7:41 pm

    I’m almost embarrased to ask, based on your success in other fields, but where can I get a set of Revision Man comics? Do you get asked about that often? I was explaining what “scum-x” was to a young engineer.

    • December 5, 2012 11:42 pm

      Hi Steve! Revision Man was only printed one way: by xerox, then passed from person to person. I don’t know if anyone has a complete set. I’ve got a partial set, but it’s in storage with one of my kids. Boy, that was a long time ago. That young engineer probably never heard of lettering guides, erasing shields or t-squares, either.

  8. June 14, 2018 6:55 pm

    Love your work Mr. Parker and also your state of mind. Retired from 38 years of teaching and now full time artist. Been painting for 15 years and now teaching to young retirees the pleasure of it.
    Keep feeding this blog love it. When is your gouach book coming out? Inform me immediately when available.
    ( in Canada)

    • June 14, 2018 8:41 pm

      Dan, book has been out for quite a while. Go to the menu bar at the top of this blog (where you found BIO). At the end of the second line in the menu, click on Books. That will take you to a link that will take you to the book.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: