The VAAM Gallery (McPherson Arts Alliance, Inc.) in McPherson features the paintings of Salina artist Rick Frisbie March 1 through April 27. The vivid colored canvases exhibited have a variety of subjects, including landscapes, still life, figures and portraits.
One painting expresses this quote attributed to Aristotle, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” Frisbie lives by this philosophy. “You learn to paint by painting,” he says. “Artwork is work. It’s a process, and I have so much to learn.”
Most days you will find him at approximately 5:30 am in his four room studio, where natural light streams in through large windows, to paint for three hours before heading to work as manager of a financial partnership and as a teacher for English as a Second Language courses. In the evenings, and sometimes when he is able to steal away in the afternoons, the artist returns to his studio to perfect his art.
Throughout his adult life, Frisbie tried his hand at a number of artistic endeavors without any formal training. He created sculptures and hand-dug clay vessels. He built furniture and carved figures out of wood, sandstone and limestone. He dabbled in photography, and sketched and painted in a variety of mediums. His focus dramatically sharpened 13 years ago when he enrolled in an evening painting workshop. The course inspired him to take a watercolor class through the Salina Art Center and to concentrate all his artistic efforts on painting. Shortly afterward, he enrolled in an advanced painting class at Bethany College. He found the classes taught by Mary Kay and Frank Shaw very encouraging and helpful and continued with them for four semesters. Following this he has taken numerous painting workshops located in different states and Canada. His hard work has been rewarded by being invited to hold solo and two-person exhibits and being selected for participation in many juried exhibitions.
“Calliope of Color” is the title he has given to a broad selection of his paintings from the last several years. A calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending steam through large whistles. They are loud, hard to tune and the pitch of each whistling pipe is affected by the temperature of the steam producing the sound. They are a main attraction of circus fun and parades. He says “When I look at my paintings I sometimes have a ‘calliopic’ experience.”
“The paintings in this show are whistling a variety of subject matters, styles and techniques. I think that they also whistle with emotional steam—the steam of both the painter and the viewer. Whether fun or serious, one artist said my paintings are united by a ‘strong palette.’” I like color and contrast. And yes, there is something of an intentional lack of perfect pitch and wackiness that my paintings share with the calliope.”
The reception for Rick Frisbie will be April 7, 2–4 pm in the VAAM Gallery.