Marla’s marvelous four seasons

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, December 1, 2022

I’ve long been a fan of Cochrane artist Marla Blackwell’s depictions of our natural surroundings. But she really outdid herself in one of her shows I visited recently in Calgary.

Last week Mary Anna and I took in the last day of her month-long landscape exhibit at Framed on Fifth Art Gallery and Frame Shop. So sorry I waited so long!

Although the exhibit featured Marla’s autumn paintings, what immediately caught my eye upon entering the intimate northwest Calgary gallery was her celebration of all four seasons of this past year’s loveliness. Four of her acrylics particularly held my attention: Winter Light, Horse Creek Spring, Midsummer Greens, and her vibrant autumn depiction of the Trail to Big Hill Springs.

I asked Marla what inspires her so much about such scenes.

“My most passionate inspiration for my paintings is where I live and that is right here in and near Cochrane,” she said. “I have lived here for most of my life and I cannot imagine ever leaving this incredible landscape. All the seasons have their own special beauty and I love capturing it on my canvas.”

For some years it had been my wife’s and my autumn custom of attending Marla’s shows at her studio. Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic interrupted that for a couple of years, so it was a real treat to once more experience firsthand her artistry.

As far as exhibits, she said, she mostly shows her paintings on her website,, but will continue to have the occasional show. The creativity of her art students, of course, is a tribute to her infectious inspiration.

“I love to extend this passion of creativity by teaching others who wish to learn how to express themselves through painting. It gives me great joy to see the satisfaction they experience when they have completed a painting.”

Well, it was a great joy to me, thanks to Marla’s passion and marvelous exhibit, to contemplate once more four seasons of beauty here in our southern Alberta foothills. Thank you, Marla.


© 2022 Warren Harbeck

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