Lisa Fricker: A Path of Her Own

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  “Unbridled”, Oil on Linen, 18×18, Second Place Winner at the 1st Spring Best of America Small Painting Exhibition at the Richland Gallery, Nashville, TN.

Exuberance amidst chaos is what comes to mind in the playful portrait by Lisa Fricker.  The backlit portrait appears almost dreamlike, with a quality of solidity and energy, seen yet unseen.  Inspired by light and guided by scientific principles of geometry, the artist has abstracted realism to embrace the random beauty of color, shape, texture and line.

NOAPS Fricker Oil on Panel 12x12 In the Studio  “In the Studio”, 12×12, Oil on Panel, Collection of the Artist

Lisa Fricker began drawing and painting portraits publicly and the tender age of 16, when she was employed by a theme park to paint portraits from life.  She later went on to art school, first in Nashville and then at the Paier College of Art in Connecticut.  Her study continued at the Scottsdale Artist’ School, where she studied with Bettina Steinke.

Fricker’s work has always centered around portraits and figures, and she has compiled an amazing list of commissioned works to her credit, not the least of which is the 92 portraits of inductees to the Astronaut Hall of Heroes at Kennedy Space Center.  Many of her works hang in other esteemed locations, including health care centers and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The artist often works in series, each focusing on experiences, theories of compositional geometry, exploration of color, and the balance of “chaos and control”.  Children are among her favorite subject matters; “they are fresh, passionate and raw: unique yet incomplete, continually experimenting with self-creation.  I am drawn to capturing small moments and finding ways to expand them into more universal experiences.”

NOAPS Fricker progress 1 of This Changes Everything  NOAPS Fricker progress of this changes everything 1st drawing  NOAPS Fricker progress of this changes everything 2nd drawing    NOAPS Fricker progress of this changes everything  NOAPS Fricker This Changes Everything Oil on Linen 24x24  Step by step process of “This Changes Everything”, 24×24, Oil on Linen, Collection of the Artist.

Fricker’s paintings begin with thumbnails, which she then works into her ‘fractal diagram’, which is the division of space based on principles of geometry.  She then lays in a value pattern, and combines that with areas of emphasized color.  Working over an underpainting, she draws in her compositional diagram rather than transferring her drawing to the canvas.  She uses a palette knife to apply the paint in areas of value and color focusing on the large shapes and forms, saving details for late in the process.  Her palette consists of Titanium-Zinc White, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Light, Quinacridone Violet, Viridian, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Burnt Umber; occasionally adding Manganese Violet, Cadmium Yellow Light, Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Magenta Cadmium Barium Yellow and Ultramarine.  Her supports are Galician Linen and smooth panels.  Fricker never seems to limit herself though, and now experiments with glazing and cold wax.

NOAPS Fricker Don't Be Scared oil on linen 16x20 Exempla St Joseph Hospital, Denver CO  “Don’t Be Scared”, 16×20, Oil on Linen, Collection of  Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, Denver, CO

Lisa Fricker has gained many accolades, and is a Signature Member not only of NOAPS, but also the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, the Pastel Society of America, just to mention a few.  This very recognized artist has gone her own path; she has been able to maintain her unique vision while working under others’ constraints.  She gives us this insightful quote to ponder: “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” –Martha Graham.

To see more work by Lisa Fricker, visit her website at

To see more work from the 1st Spring Best of America Small Painting Exhibition, visit

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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