For more than a decade Faith Frykman has been a positive presence in the Door County art community. She was instrumental in organizing and participating in the Sturgeon Bay Art Crawl and also in creating and contributing to the Door Peninsula Arts Guide. Having exhibited at galleries throughout the peninsula, Frykman is known for her paintings and pen-and-inks of birds, acrylics and oils of landscapes as well as her abstracts. For more information visit faithfrykman.com.
Peninsula Pulse (PP): Where were you born and raised?
Faith Frykman (FF): Born in Lincoln, Neb.; and raised in Wheaton, Ill.
PP: Growing up, did you have a teacher or family member who gave you encouragement in the pursuit of art?
FF: Mom was an artist and art teacher, and her sister was a sculptor of some note. Mom gave us all (six kids) a love for art and for the processes of creating art from our earliest years.
PP: How would you describe your current work? Has your work changed over the last several years?
FF: They call me “The Bird Lady” because I paint so many birds from all over the world. But I also love to paint figures, landscapes, portraits and abstracts. When I first arrived in Wisconsin I concentrated on abstracts but found that they are a “tough sell” here. Friends introduced me to plein air painting, from which I discovered a love for landscapes. Then, while experimenting with oil bars, I stumbled on painting birds and animals.
PP: What was the first medium you remember using and did you enjoy it?
FF: I painted a zebra with oil paint as a child and I still have the painting, but I’m sure pencils and crayons predated oils. In high school and in college acrylics became my medium of choice.
PP: How large are your pieces and how long do they take to create?
FF: How large? The smallest canvas is probably 4×4 inches but the largest abstracts are 30×40 inches. Right now, my birds range from 6×6 inches to 12×12 inches and each one probably takes 6 to 12 hours over several days, allowing for layers to day. For this reason, I work on three or four paintings at a time.
PP: Have you ever branched into working with other media?
FF: Yes, monotypes are a favorite medium. I also use pastels, oil pastels and oil bars. I switch to using acrylics in my house during the coldest months of winter because my studio, which is above my garage, is hard to heat. Also, I want to keep the chemical smells of oils to a minimum in my home. I’ve also created a series of pen-and-ink drawings, and at times dabbled with jewelry and other three-dimensional media.
PP: Birds seem to be a favorite subject matter of yours. What’s inspiring about birds?
FF: I’m not sure. One thing is the amazing variety of birds around the world, and another is the wide range of colors represented.
PP: What compels you to draw/paint them?
FF: Painting them is really fun. Plus, people seem to like them.
PP: You also have abstract paintings. How does your mindset change when you’re creating an abstract vs. a figurative painting?
FF: To me, all painting is a form of meditation, but an abstract requires more “letting go” to allow the artwork to paint itself.
PP: Have you always been an artist, or did you work in another field before finding art?
FF: After earning a B.A. in art, I owned a small gallery in St. Paul, Minn. for a few years. Then I spent about 40 years in the corporate world (in Minnesota, Tennessee, and San Francisco, Calif.) During those years, I squeezed in artwork on weekends and in evenings. One big reason for moving to Door County was to allow more opportunity to create art.
I also work part-time for two art magazines right now – PleinAir Magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur. Not only do the hours help to pay bills, the exposure to these art communities, plus great artists, artwork and techniques, is invaluable.
PP: How long have you been represented in Door County?
FF: My oil paintings and pen-and-inks of birds are at Woodwalk Gallery this year; AMO Gallery also has carried prints for several years.
Last year and for a few years before, I was in a Green Bay gallery that has since closed. Before that, my work was shown in Greco Gallery (also closed). Even before that, my work was included in the Frykman Gallery while it was in Ellison Bay.
Woodwalk Gallery, located on County G in Egg Harbor, is featuring a Home for the Holidays showcase now through Dec 16, when they will close for the season. There will be lots of handcrafted gifts – from functional houseware to artwork both big and small – available. For more information visit woodwalkgallery.com.