4 Year old Marla Olmstead

The so called “Child Prodigy” Marla Olmstead is in the news again, gaining more international exposure than most veteran artists. Her work is now selling for up to $15,000 each. I wonder if those same works will still be worth $15,000 in twenty years time?

“She builds her paintings in layers. Children don’t do that. She starts with big swatches of colors and then adds details and accents on to that. That’s what is so impressive and beyond what other children do” says gallery owner Anthony Brunelli.

Good for her if she’s having fun painting..

cbc – canada

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.

Comments

  1. There’s going to be a story on Marla tomorrow night on 60 Minutes Wednesday (Feb. 23, 8PM on CBS). Should shed some light on whether she’s the real thing.

  2. I am actually currently watching that. I have not made up my mind, however on what I think of her…

  3. Wow. Basically Marla’s parents created them all and she is a big fake. People will do anything for money but anyone that would use their own child like this should be put in jail. I hope they return all the money the paintings have sold for.

  4. Let me start off by saying this: I know Mark Olmstead, Marla’s father.
    Mark always was, and is, a glory hound. He was an athlete in High School, but never a star. He failed to progress because he lacked the ability.
    He was a mediocre student at best.
    His favorite line when he was in school and shortly thereafter was “don’t you know who I am? I’m Mark Olmstead, number 10, quarterback for Binghamton High!” Now it would seem his calling card is “Marla’s DAD.”
    Nobody in this area has ever believed the hype.
    Let me say as a person that knows Mark and knows him well I don’t believe that his daughter is painting the final product that they are selling.
    I do believe that she paints a portion of them and that Mark finishes them. If you watch the film taken by the hidden camera you can plainly see that she sloshes around with the brush, covers over things and randomly places shapes and other globs of paint on the canvas. Not nearly the polished, united presentation you see in the gallery.
    I hope that she is a prodigy, but I believe that she is a normal four year old with opportunistic parents.
    I know Mark, and this has living vicariously and sucking up the attention written all over it.

  5. That’s a shame. My son has been painting since about 2, and I didn’t take it seriously until others would come to our home and comment on the colors and composition. I don’t know what others see in Marla’s work, but I’ve never been one for abstract art. Actually, I didn’t think to do anything about my son’s work, until I put a pen in his hand (to distract him) and found that all his drawings are very realistic, and detailed. It’s amazing. I would never tamper with his work.
    How do I get my son’s work exposure? I have over 500 drawings of his that I just don’t know what to do with. He’s so attached to them, he doesn’t want me to throw them away, but he’ll give some away…and wants to keep the rest. Anyone have ideas???
    His work has been evaluated and I was told that he is advanced beyond his years (he started drawing using perspective at 4), and draws better than most adults. What should I do?? I wold appreciate any comments. He’s 6 now, and continues to develop.

  6. I would suggest keeping them in good storage so he can look at them again in 10-20 years. I only have a few of my own from childhood, but I treasure them. I just wish my mum kept more for me.
    Otherwise, good marketing and a bit of luck and 60 minutes will be on their way around very soon. Maybe Marla can share some tips from her website..
    http://www.marlaolmstead.com/

  7. I taped and watched this 60 minutes episode over and over again. I notice in some instances it look like more than one hand working on a given painting on the home videos and the hidden camera taping. The sad thing here is the only one who is being hurt here is Marla while her parents cash in and capture the glory of attention…shame on them i hope someone in the media see my posts and view the tapings again ..SHAME!

  8. Hey Artchic, do you know where I can get a look at the taping online? would love to see it myself. Thanks :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s understandable to see how people are suspicious when you can’t see what is really going on. Unlike Marla, Adora Svitak, the writing prodigy, she writes live on the show and everywhere she goes to present her writing, incredible talent, already sold international rights for her book Flying Finges, website http://www.adorasvitak.com

  10. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1713123,00.html

    Prodigy on a mission to turn children into lovers of literature

    She dashes off poems and reads Voltaire in her spare time. Now Adora, eight, is coming to tell British pupils how to write

    Anushka Asthana and Matthew Ogborn
    Sunday February 19, 2006
    The Observer
    Adora Svitak loves to read and write. Over the past 18 months she has had a 296-page book published and written 400 short stories and nearly 100 poems. Typing at 80 words a minute, she has produced 370,000 words while reading up to three books a day. The last novel she finished was Voltaire’s Candide. Not bad for an eight-year-old.
    As if that wasn’t enough, the child prodigy has also made it her mission to persuade other youngsters to ditch their computer games and pick up a book or a pen.
    ‘When I was little I thought everyone in the world liked to read, because it was so fun,’ said Adora. ‘But then I realised that was not exactly true. I want other kids to read and write more all over the world, because it helps them to understand things better.’
    Adora tours schools in her native Seattle, demonstrating touch-typing and carrying out PowerPoint presentations on how she learnt to write and why it is fun to read.
    She takes in props, such as cuddly toys, to show how things around her inspire story ideas. One of her slides reads: ‘If I saw a black cat near my house, I could make up a whole story about a witch and the family she had cursed.’
    In June she hopes to come to Britain to convince children here of the joy of reading. But some have questioned whether she will get as warm a welcome as she does in America. Children who have struggled with reading might feel patronised, said one child psychologist.
    And few will be able to understand the difficult books that Adora can tackle in a morning. She reads widely, from fiction to history and biography. She was only four when she started writing stories, but her writing really took off when her mother bought her a laptop at six. At seven, her first book, Flying Fingers, a mix of her own fiction and writing tips for others, was published. She already has a deal for her second book, a collection of poetry.
    Adora is supported by Joyce, who is an interpreter. But she insists the campaign is Adora’s own doing. ‘She does this off her own back,’ she said. ‘She understands what she is doing, but we do encourage and support her.’ Their decision to come to the UK comes after figures showed that 52 per cent of five-year-olds failed to reach literacy, language and development targets.
    Reading for pleasure is one way to push up achievement, according to Viv Bird, director of Reading is Fundamental, a project run by the National Literacy Trust. She said peer-to-peer encouragement was very important: ‘It is fantastic that Adora is getting people thinking about books. I just hope her trip is not met with too much cynicism.’
    Bird said it would be good if Adora teamed up with local children who were also writing books.
    One British success is keen to meet Adora. Libby Rees, author of Help, Hope and Happiness – a self-help book for children whose parents are divorcing – said: ‘It would be fun to meet someone who has done something like me. I really hope I have encouraged children to write.’
    Libby, who is 10, is set to host her own Trisha-style chat show later this year. Charles Faulkner, of her publishers, Aultbea Publishing, said it was the honest and positive outlook of children that made their writing unique. ‘It is not just their age, but the quality of work is very refreshing,’ he added. ‘These children are exceptionally bright and ahead of their years in school.’
    Adora has the reading age of 20, according to her teachers. But success hasn’t gone to her head.
    ‘She is not arrogant at all,’ said her writing teacher, Felisa Rogers. ‘She is above average ability, but we make sure we tell her that this is because of her hard work.’
    Adora the author
    Prince Garrick scornfully tossed aside a beautifully gold-embossed leather-bound book. ‘Peasant’s trash,’ he scoffed to the trembling minion who had presented the gift.
    ‘B-beg p-pardon, y-your sup-superior h-highness, I n-never meant no h-harm,’ the servant stuttered, stepping back and tripping over an ornately designed china pitcher.’
    • Extract from Flying Fingers

  11. Anonymous says:

    She is the real thing.
    Carl or whatever your name is all I can say is that you’re jealous yeah right you know Mark what a joke!
    Marla is amazing. Her father wouldn’t lie that’s rubbish.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It interesting that nobody’s actually talking about the paintings themselves. What I’d like to know is what all of your opinions would be if you were completely ignorant of the circumstances of their creation?

    Or does that not matter anymore (did it ever, really)? Even though this is an exaggerated case (and yes, probably just a load of hype), it seems to be another example of haw the art community generally chooses the lazy route of critiquing the creator of the work and the circumstances of its creation (a little fact-checking combined with second rate psychoanalisys) rather that having to observe the work and take the risk of having having an opinion that hasn’t already been vetted by whatever group you belong to.

    So, if a 5 year old is so clearly incabable of creating a painting of enduring quality (by either conventional or you own personal aestetic standards), then all of you should always, without much hesitation, be able to identify one in a figurative line-up. Can you? Are you sure?

    Tim McElreath

  13. Anonymous says:

    You can see the paintings on her (eponymous) website. Some of “her” paintings are good. One that she is known to have created – “oceans” (on the second page of her gallery) – looks different than the ones that I think are good, though. “Oceans” has teddy bear heads and paw prints and the brush work isn’t as sophisticated.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Teddy bears and paw prints? Clearly a reference to Jeff Koons’ early nineties ceramic work. I’m liking her more and more . . .

  15. Well good for them all the best!

    Art is art, I can be nice or really ugly but when you see a price of few thousands attached to it.

    Well the folks that have money, like a few million standing there in the bank account.

    Well hell what the hell lets spend it on this!

    Thats what I have encountered with art.

    And well marketing is everything if you get press you get attention.

    Traffic = $$ simple

    And well just the fact that famous people buy it, the rich like to hear that!

    Oh I bought a Yanook painting and guess what Wyclef Jean has one!

    Cheers,
    Yanook

  16. I’ve been studying this concept in a college aesthetics class. We have encountered the questions..Is it art? Who determines what art is? Is it the artwork or the process that matters?
    At first sight I thought that Marla’s paintings were beautiful. I am an abstract painter as well and I could only wish to be as expressive. Then I did a little research on the artist. I understand that she was only 4 at the time and that she probably doesn’t understand what she is doing. She has no intent. Does this make her work less valid? Her work has been approved by the art market and has been exhibited in galleries, therefore someone has accepted her work as art. What does the artworld think of her work? Is there anyone outside of the media and the uneducated buyer that thinks her work is art?

  17. Michelangelo is art, so is Caravaggio and Velázquez. Picasso is art and Lucian Freud too, who could deny them? This girl hasn’t got enough time to mature as a person. How is she going to relate to the history of hard working masters who learned through years of training and dedication? It takes more than brushes and paint to be an artist.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If art collectors are willing to pay tens of thousands for a painting it should be because the painting is that good. If it’s good enough to command that price then it doesn’t matter if her father painted it or not.

    If they’re buying it bacause it’s great work “for a child”, then they should admit that they’re buying a novelty item, not a piece of artwork.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Carl… I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you. Sounds like the classic high school nobody getting back at the starting QB – apparently Mark missed reunion and this blog is your only outlet. Your comments are invalid.

    What do you really think about Marla’s art? Everyone else at least has an opinion on the Art (none right, none wrong). Is this beyond your capability?

  20. To Rachel Ritter….Marla’s work is more valuable than many “artist” out the. She is so innocent, you can see it in her face when she paints how peaceful she is and content. Just remember being a child and doing something you loved. Marla’s paintings are a look at her wonderful soul, a look at childhood.

  21. I hope the work is Marla’s but I haven’t really looked into it. I think that a lot of them are beautiful.

    I do sometimes wonder exactly how to evaluate abstract are, but feel I can easily say that what I’ve seen of Marla’s work is very, very different from what my nieces and nephews have produced. that Marla’s paintings have a sense of color and composition so magnificent. I wish I could paint like that.

    I can’t wait to see her art develope as she gets older.

  22. Anonymous says:

    honestly. i think it just shows how ridiculous modern art and critics of all kinds are. If i put paint brushes on my dogs feet, hes gonna come up with something cool. critics say a painting is great and its taken as fact. Critics say a movie is good and its fact. When it comes down to it, most praised art is crap and most praised movies are crap. Its just the painting industry and the movie industry trying to make a buck by telling peopel what to buy.

  23. ok- Q:
    Besides the nice lady with the gifted little drawing son — do any of you people have children or nieces and nephews (that you spend alot of time with not just visit for an hour on sunday)?

    I have many many young cousins and also 2 adorable nephews.
    my older nephew is 3. He has trouble speaking and has problems with hand strength, whatever that means. He’s gone to a special school since he was 2.
    If they really enjoy it, any child can cover the canvas. We sit on the floor and paint or draw with him on our own paper because he likes to do that. we paint the kitchen floor ( it takes alot of bleach to make our home clean again!) and we paint the walls and the fridge and the paper too.
    if you paint on his paper he scribbles it out and draws over it –in layers.
    why layers? because you run out of paint on the brush and have to go for another color. and he mixes his colors. at 2 he knew the colors and in garbled baby talk would recite as he mixed his own colors: red, blue make a barney! ( barney is a purple dinosaur on tv) and such.
    so why is it so hard to believe that a little girl can cover the whole canvas ( which she doesnt–have you seen night sky?)
    An artist is someone who sees things in a different light than the rest of the population – whiether its a fascination with the way things play on each other such as color or texture or font…… or a completely alien way of seeing things.
    i get distracted by the way the logo on a truck sits. Why? my mind is playing with it. ask my car– its seen enough bumps and crunches to tell you. what would a shrink tell you? i have ADHD and while yes i do, does that mean my paintings are somehow not as thought out and achieved as another’s?

    are some of you saying yes?

    this is an interesting thought because i dont paint abstractly. Im a mural painter and a graphic designer. One cant really talk about etherial ideals when a tree looks just like the tree i took the picture of to paint. or can they? ive had people come up and try to tell me what i was feeling when i painted a landscape. C’mon. im not 7 as Marla is. Im 30 and know exactly how to tell you what my feelings are and were, if any such thing besides frustration at recalcient paint brushes or fast drying paint could be conveyed.

    are you the same kind of people that think that animals have no soul or feelings? because science hasnt proved feelings exist ( in your eyes— hello? brain waves lighting up different parts of the right side of the brain arent feelings right there on an MRI? nice….).

    maybe this child cant have complex feelings eventhough studies show that children and teens are under much greater stress levels than we are?

    and Marla’s father….. no one told me what kind of painting he painted…

    hey guy that claims to know him –( like i believe A) that out of all the places on the web you’d magically find this one to talk about his kid and B) that you arent some slub stuck in high school nerd memories if you did know him one swirly too many?—what type of person are you anyway?)– what kind of painting did he paint –or maybe you dont know the adult him after all?

    im not flaming you all. or even some of you.

    i just want to know why you care if a little girl is covering a canvas or not…. ( she does so with colored background before she paints- saw that on a german news crew’s tape— hey i work for the media in my graphic designing, look at various stories and not just one before leaping to a thought)

    history is filled with children doing things that adults didnt think they could. yesterday a one and a half year old dialed and called 911. he even knew his address. it wasnt clear but it was enough. — you mentioned mozart or someone somewhere did. there are thousands of MENSA members out there that one wouldnt even know they were anything more than someone who cant spell it seems.

    so.. i bring one more thought out of the fish pond to rise and sink again………..
    if an elephant or ape or dolphin can paint a picture–why cant you believe a little human being can paint a picture? shes more in touch with her right brain than you or i…..her left side is still developing. life hasnt defined the way she looked at things at 4 everything is an abstract concept at that age and colors are new things shiny and bright….so why cant a child be amazing at abstract painting ( with all the thougth behind it that adults try to glean away from THE WAY THINGS EXSIST)?
    im just sorry that as she gets older the iconic images that we all culturally share will start to influence her paintings.
    chew on that thought please.
    then tell me how idiotic and arrogrant i am. :) such is the way of internet chats and blogs and anywhere strangers cant see the threat in anothers face as they attack. but do me a favor and stop attacking a family just because you dont spend time around little children.

  24. “hey guy that claims to know him –( like i believe A) that out of all the places on the web you’d magically find this one to talk about his kid”

    Wasachildartist, this conversation actually shows up third on google if you search for Marla Olmstead. She also regularly gets press attention around the world. Another point is that she’s 4, not 7. Also another point is that you assume that nobody here has kids nor has seen kids paint. That’s a bit of a hefty assumption don’t you think?

    At first I was sceptical, nobody has seen the kid paint anything, the father was a painter and they’re turning her into a cash cow. However when I actually looked at the paintings, I couldn’t care less. They’re actually quite pretty – although I don’t think they’re paintings that are exclusive to the talented.

    However I think $15,000 is too steep for them, regardless of whether it’s a child or an adult who painted them.

    The question will be, in 10-15 years when Marla is all grown up, will people still want her art? Will we see a maturation in style? Will she be able to develop even further if this is her art?

  25. I was completely blown away by all the criticism for this child

    Why is it so hard to accept, let alone doubt, that the paintings were done by her? They were very simple, and just because she’s four doesn’t mean she’s incapable of throwing paint on a canvas with a little bit of effort and thought

    Some criticism seems to be plainly for her age, and others because of her dad being a dick. I was kind of sickened to see she has a big flashy website with offerings and prices. If her parents cared about her daughter at all, they wouldn’t be exploiting her like this

    But to just doubt her work completely? I just don’t understand. The works can easily be painted by a kid, so why such heavy doubt???????????

  26. I just realized I had the perfect argument to back up her art. I have but one relic of my past, and that is a oil and watercolor painting I did when I was 5

    Just tried posting the picture here, and it failed. I am posting it on my blog, so please go visit and see for yourself!

    Now that you have seen it, is it’s validity as hard to accept as Marla’s?

    Though of course it is not layered or as beautiful as Marla’s, but…. it is not far off. Does it not show that a young child can produce something more than just paint thrown on canvas? Why doubt her work (besides her parents obvious exploitation)

  27. My best advice for whatever it’s worth Shawna is just let you kid come into his own. I had a friend in high school who also was a ‘prodigy’ artist, he started drawing Disney, and loony Toon character on model at five, six, years of age. Let him follow his own dreams. I wouldn’t try to publicizes, or sell his drawing. He’ll figure out how he wants use his gift. Don’t spoil it for him.

  28. This is all about ego, and feeling special, and what it means to be special. Everyone wants to be special, taken seriously, respected, and admired. Sadly, for smaller individuals, their egos cannot handle the prospect of a 4 year old doing what they do.. possibly better. I am well aware of the sickening effects of ego on ones character. And I know that even if it were proven beyond a doubt that Marla was doing the paintings, people would sooner discredit her parents then accept it. These are called weak people, and these are most people.

  29. You are absolutely on target!!! Most of the comments putting the work of this child (and her fmaily) down almost reeks of envy, posing as legitimate criticism. For God’s sake, the child is only a little girl…give her a break you cynics.

  30. Wow, you can’t say the parents don’t have guts to even try to pull this off.
    …and stupid people with money continue to jump in.

    BTW: Good work Mark!

  31. Chuck, the artist. says:

    “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

  32. Anonymous says:

    By Watching the Documentary that Marla may start the paintings but the Father is definatly “Lets Sy” adding the finishing touches. It may be that the Fat5her has not Suceded in the Art World as he might have hope and somewere down the road, made the dicession to use his Daughter in order to make quick Cash. From the moment I saw the footage of her on the kitchen floor, it was apparent that she did not have the skills to “Layer” paint as most of the Paintings show. She puts down the base of the painting but someone else is finishing them ie: Father/Artist!

  33. Anonymous says:

    It is so obvious that the better paintings are not done by Marla. “Ocean” is completely different from some of the better art. If you watch her paint, she clearly does not even have the capacity to be as detailed or clean as some of the artwork is. She paints like a four year old.

    If her father did them, then good for him – they are really extraordinary. But don’t lie!!! I saw the movie and it is clear to me that the father should stop living through his child and using her to fulfill his life. Marla does not seem happy by the attention or the media being in her face. The mom actually seems to care about how it is affecting Marla – the father seems to only care about himself. But mom doesn’t care enough to block his sore ego! I would believe the blog about him being the high school QB.

  34. Anonymous says:

    They basically forced that foolish woman to buy “Ocean”. You could tell she didn’t even want it.

    Also, how they were treating the reporter who made the movie, made it even clearer that they are frauds. The mom obviously has no control over her husband’s ego, despite how clearly damaging it is for Marla. It makes me really sad and I only hope she can be a real woman and protect her child. I actually think mom believes him.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Mom does not like the art shows, actually shows some sense, Marla would rather be home, and Dad is grinning with the fame. He makes me sick!!!

  36. Anonymous says:

    You don’t have to be a genius to figure this out. Just look at “Ocean” and compare it to “Colorful Camouflage” and “Colorful Rain”. There is no way in hell Marla painted the later.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I’m finishing up the documentary now. I think that Dad finished the work. The paintings shown earlier and the ones selling in the doc look different from the ones that we saw her paint. Different stylistically, composition, layering, movement, etc.. I feel for the mom and kids. And Dad too, for not being totally honest. Hopefully they’ll all get past this and move on.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Just finished the documentary. I personally believe that in the beginning, the father was finishing her works, and when asked about it, thought it cute to say “Nah, Marla did it all by herself.” However, when the story spiraled into a National phenomenon, there was no way he could back out of the “little white lie” that he’d told at the beginning, especially when the money started rolling in. Now, I am wondering . . . will her art be a fad, like Beanie Babies, or will it be worth millions someday? Supply and demand will dictate the answer to my question. Heck, if I find a Marla Olmstead that I like, and it’s available for something around $2500 or $3500, I might buy it. But NOT because it was made by a child (or her father), but because a) it’s a nice picture that I like, or b) because I think there’s a chance that someday the laws of economics will dictate a very high hammer price at an auction.

  39. I too have just watched the documentary and am wondering why no one has yet mentioned the comment about Zane. The Olmsteads are taped as the are gathering together in the hotel hallway on the way to attend one of Marla’s shows. Marla says that Zane painted one of the works in the show. She specifies that it was the green one. Maybe the two siblings are painting these pieces. If so, if would account for the stylistic discrepancies. Who else noticed this dialogue about Zane?

  40. Wow the art community was so(easely) easily moved or fooled by this hoax. Like thats never happen before,right.. .Simian art draws rave reviews http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2002/11/29/chimp_art021129.html
    In my opinion,I just don’t thing Marla qualifies has a art prodigy .Beside that word prodigy is used way to much these days.
    Anyway 60 years form now those 10,000 dollar paintings that Marla made will most likely be sitting in some attic or basement all faded to time the artist that painted them all but forgotten ,But rest assured the La Gioconda will still be hanging at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France

  41. I noticed the exchange in the hallway between Marla and her father. I thought it strange that he disregarded her comment, as if to hope that noone else hears it. I truly believe that this is a carefully, concerted effort of more than just Marla. Surely someone else in that home is involved in the creative process. Zane or Dad, maybe? There is no consistent style but then again at the age she is, maybe that is the reason for the inconsistency, children at that age do not think in a concrete way, unless, say maybe, they are TRULY gifted. Whatever the case, I can’t dispute that the paintings are good, at best and questionable, at worst.

  42. Like most of you I have seen the documentary. It’s clear that Marla does paint. Take a look at Oceans and Flowers. They are almost exact in there styles and these two paintings are the ones on camera. What a surprise!! A few others have this same style. Hence, she painted them also. These paintings are unpolished and lack detail. Now take a look at some of her other work, unfortunately for us, NOT painted on camera. Yeah, quite different huh… Here’s my explanation. Go to her website. One painting is a black canvas with white paint squirted on to it called Roads.
    Here’s the deal, the dad gives her a black canvas and a white tube of paint and say’s squirt away. Brilliant!!! Next, he gives her another canvas and says just use your fingers to dab paint on this one. The result, Colorful Rain. And so on.. She is a few years older now so you might think that her style would advance. By looking at the website I don’t see this. As a matter of fact, most of her newer paintings look rushed and unfinished. Anyway, good for Marla, because she is an innocent child who is doing something rather than sitting in front of a tv with an xbox in one hand and a bag of cheetos in the other. Now if someone can help me. Was it just me or were the’re two dudes in this doc claiming to be her father. The guy in the hotel lobby and the guy painting and the end are two different people. And if so, are both of them lying??? Only time will tell….

  43. When I was 8 I took an oil painting class. I learned to prime the canvas, and as the paintings progressed they looked like a child had done them.. I was 8.

    the painting stayed at the instructors, and the following week at class, we discovered that what we painted (all the kids) had been redone when we went home.

    I took the paintings home and my mom thought they were awesome, but I was upfront with her and told her that they were not mine. she kept them though because I did do alot of them even though things were changed. I did the base work, but the teacher did the rest.
    They were too good for a beginning class much less an 8 year old.

    I am 35 now and we still have the paintings but they never were hung. and will never be hung, because they are not my work.

    I think Marla could have started the paintings but someone finished them for her. I just saw the documentary tonight, 3 years later.

    I find it interesting that she mentioned Zane did the green one.
    He probably did work on it.

    I also think her dad works on her paintings too. Did you see the one she did in the yard. that was a typical 4 year old painting.

  44. I think the paintings are wonderful and Marla did paint them! Everyone will find this out soon. Please encourage all children to function independantly and instill the basics and keep it basic….Love and Honesty. Paul

  45. Marla’s work is beautiful for a child her age. Anybody who knows anything about good work will tell you that those paintings were done by a child. This movie about Marla is not about Marla, it’s about the father and mother and how sad and pathetic it can appear to want to feel important. Weather or not he helped her with the painting…… they are still just o.k, they are not a masterpiece. She’s a sweet looking kid, and if she’s really talented then time will tell. One does not just grow out of being creative. It is always with you.

  46. Anonymous says:

    It’s sad that the documentary caught the father, disregarding what his daughter was asking.. Dad .. “tell me what to do” “come and help me” He made a joke of what she was asking. He seemed really nervous, even to the point of calling his wife to say “they got what they were looking for..here we go again..Is it my imagination or was this a sign of guilt?…What I saw here was a little girl looking for he father to help her paint as he has always done….I only feel sorry for the suckers who bought the painting believing they were painted by the child, when they weren’t.

  47. Anonymous says:

    One lady in the documentary mentioned the value of Marla’s art was the innate naïveté and freshness of a child artist. We usually look condescendingly upon children, taking away value from what they do. Thinking about her as an artist, her view of the world is profoundly interesting.

    Yet this childlike innocense has been corrupted by her insertion into the market. Even if she did do all the painting herself, her father’s influence is obvious, in the intention as well as in the creative process. (Who gets her colors? who chooses the format where she paints? who gives the titles to her paintings? …”Ode to Pollock”… who gives her the brush or the spatulla?). Why does she have to be famous? Why does her art have to be sold like that?

    Whatever the case is, this exposure definitely not in Marla’s or her art’s best interest.

  48. Anonymous says:

    i think marla did those paintings herself if the father wanted attention he would have said eather he made it or his son

  49. Anonymous says:

    Is Marla real? Is there a God? They’re the same freaking question!–and I have to say, that documentary has turned me into an atheist.

  50. gustavo(morenog815@hotmail.com) says:

    ok i saw the documentals now (21/06/2009) but my question is for what the little child is maybe the child prodigy ¿is impossible? she have a natural give .
    and in this time she’s paintting ?

  51. It’s not that what Marla paints isn’t valid…It’s that she was and is being sold as something she isn’t. If your child can paint…great….let her evolve…let her keep painting ..if a few years go by and she’s still interested…get her some lessons. Hey! Even sell a few for $40 or $50 bucks,,,,but see it for what it is…great art takes time. Artists pay there dues. Wanting $10,000 for a 4 year olds paintings is simply just greed driven. Think bigger picture. To quote Oscar Wilde: “You know tha price of everything and the value of nothing” Why not share the gift and not take money….
    James Picard
    http://www.jamespicard.com

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  1. [...] noticed a few child art prodigies popping up on the internet lately. Marla Olmstead has been mentioned before on artnewsblog, as the 4 year old art prodigy, and for being featured on [...]

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