Born in Boston in 1942 Parker came to Portland at age 18 to study jointly at Reed and the Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she was a student of Louis Bunce, Jack McLarty, Mel Katz, Manuel Izquierdo, Harry Widman and George Johanson– all artists in Rock Creek’s collection. She received her MFA from Pratt (New York) before returning to Portland. She painted “Riversong” a 40′ mural for the Oregon Convention Center in 1990 and was honored with a retrospective at the Portland Art Museum in 1995 (curated by former Rock Creek faculty Prudence Roberts). In recent years Parker has painted major public art murals for the Midland Branch of the Portland Public Library, Lower Columbia College (Longview, WA), United States Courthouse (Bakersfield, CA), Lake Roosevelt School (Colee Dam, WA) and well as the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Although her painting has been firmly grounded in abstraction since her beginnings, Parker has never entirely left the inspiration of the natural world. In recent years her landscapes of clouds, water and mountains as well as a series on birds in their natural habitat have added a major contribution to the public art of the region.
Parker, who studied music and has a fine singing voice, has written: “I am trying to make visual music of a strong rhythmic nature.”