Encased in an oval frame under curved glass sits what appears to be odds-and-ends, bits and pieces of a life, placed meaningfully and skillfully by the creator of this mixed media piece. "Portrait of Becky" was a part of the retrospective art exhibition that was displayed at Carol Woods in April and represents resident and artist Jean Parish's mother.Included under the glass are antique hatpins, scraps of lace, silk flowers, colorful curling plumes and black-and-white photographs of Parish's mother and family. This is just one of the numerous pieces on display that Parish has created throughout her lifetime, works that range from paintings, sculptures and works of metal to other art mediums she has been inspired to explore.As a young girl growing up in Oneonta, N.Y., Parish always loved art and had a creative and encouraging family that supported her dreams and interests in the hobby. On her birthdays and for Christmas her parents gave her art supplies and materials, which she happily received."If anybody ever asked me what I was going to do when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be an artist," Parish said.It was a natural move for Parish to attend college to study art at Ohio State University. Later she attended Parsons School for Design in New York City, a progressive art and design school that was labeled "the training ground for Seventh Avenue" and studied painting and sculpture at the Art Students League of New York, an institution where artists are trained traditionally in Fine Arts.After this chapter of her schooling, she was offered a job at a major interior design firm called Dorothy Draper & Co. The firm, located in New York City, is the oldest established interior design firm in the United States and is named after the founder of the company, Dorothy Draper, one of the leaders of interior design from the 1920s to the 1960s. Parish had the opportunity to design fabrics, wallpaper, carpet and furniture. Her interior designs were featured as working art in major U.S. hotels and other widely used public spaces and private homes. The hustle and bustle of New York pushed Parish to a quieter place where she could have more time to paint and enjoy her interests. Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, offered her a job teaching design and interior design, and she accepted. The teaching schedule offered her ample time during the summers to paint as she pleased. She pursued another degree and received a master's in fine arts from Drake University, and stayed on as a teacher for two years. Although Parish enjoyed her time spent away from New York City, upstate was where her heart was. She was thrilled when she received a call from New York State University at Oneonta, and readily accepted a job offer to teach. Parish packed up her paintbrushes and went back to the town she was so fond of and taught there for 10 years.After her long stay in Oneonta, where she also studied color at MIT, Parish decided it was time to retire and relocated to Winston-Salem, bidding farewell to the cold weather of the Northeast. Winston-Salem attracted Parish with its hopping art scene and beautiful views. She resided there for several years before moving to a retirement community. Parish moved to Carol Woods in 1997, and shortly thereafter realized that art could be better represented in the community. Wanting to share her love of art with others and make sure that residents with limited mobility could still enjoy art, she created the Art Committee, which she chaired for 10 years. Parish knew that some people couldn't get out to the museums and art galleries and thought that exhibiting art on campus would be the perfect solution. Selected walls of Building 5 on the Carol Woods campus serve as art space for local artists to display their work. The Art Committee coordinates and invites artists to show their work. At a reception, residents can view and enjoy this artwork 24 hours a day. Color interaction and effect is Parish's main passion, and her bold use of color to evoke various feelings is active throughout many of her pieces. "I'm interested in color because the minute you change the color of the original, it changes the whole design," Parish said. "All my work on color shows in my paintings. It certainly influenced my paintings, but other things influenced them, too."Audrey Booth, a resident and fan of art and Parish's work, appreciates Parish's contributions to Carol Woods' art scene. "I think the style is sensational," Booth said. "It is so tastefully bright. And she is totally preoccupied by angles and interesting shading. I really love it. One thing about her is she can do so many things. Her wood constructions are wonderful, her paintings are great, she does paper cutting. I've just never known any body that did all of those things."The most important thing in learning art, Parish said, is observation. Without it, one can't understand the designs and details that are all around us, which translate so beautifully onto a canvas or into any type of artwork. Nature is the budding artist's classroom."Most people don't see things, and you really need to observe," Parish said. "You need to compare all sorts of things -- the heights, the widths, how the light falls on things. And understand nature because everything grows and has a certain flow and rhythm, and once you learn through observing what happens in nature, you can paint and draw, you can do anything. I'm still learning and observing, and I began when I was a kid. My mother was the one who started me observing."Ann Kendall, current chair of the Art Committee, respects Parish and the work she's done, and speaks highly of her determination and talents."I think she's marvelous," Kendall said. "It's that drive that made her survive the Manhattan world. I think she's quite remarkable. What I admire is her energy and her desire to create."As an artist herself, Kendall tries to view as much art as she can, create art, and is always on the lookout for potential shows to share with the community. "It is important to have art [at Carol Woods] because some people are unable to troop around. I think it is a very remarkable, intelligent community. We always have a big turnout for shows," Kendall said.