Marla Olmstead – artist with a backlog


Marla Olmstead, my favorite four-year-old abstract impressionist, has a backlog of 60 requests for her paintings. At her current prices, that is well over a million dollars in potential business. 

She has been painting for about three years and has turned out less than twenty paintings, so she is going to be very busy for some time. Marla paints for about an hour, three mornings a week, and most of her paintings are taller than she is.

She has been featured in Time magazine, Art & Antiques Magazine, the NY Times, In Touch Magazine, in addition to hundreds of other newspapers and magazines.

She has also been featured on The Today Show with Matt Lower and Katie Couric , CBS Sunday morning with Bill Geist , Inside Edition, NPR weekend edition, as well as 60 Minutes Weekday Edition.

Gaby Wood, of the Observer (UK), visited Marla and interviewed Anthony Brunelli, the artist and gallery owner who discovered Marla and hosted her first exibition in August, 2004.

Anthony says, "We’ve had calls from all over the world. We have a waiting list of 60 people who want to buy her work. Do you know,’ he asks, as a hint of tension creeps into his voice, ‘how long it’s going to take her to do 60 paintings?’

Gaby captured another interesting tidbit from Marla’s mother and father:

"It’s hard to watch her paint,’ Laura Olmstead tells me, cringing slightly, ‘because we feel in our hearts that some of her best work has been painted over.’

Mark laughs in agreement. ‘She’ll paint something we think is gorgeous, and then she’ll just paint over it. And we’ll go, "Grrhhh!"’

I think they are doing a creditable job of shielding Marla from exploitation. I’ve exchanged emails with Laura Olmstead, and she is the complete antithesis of a showbiz mom. Marla is not only talented, she chose great parents.

Read the rest of Gaby’s article and check out Marla’s new paintings.

You can see why this diminutive artist has inspired other mothers to encourage their children’s talents. I am sure there are other young artists out there with similar talents. We seem to live in interesting times…

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