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I had studied illustration back in art school, which during those years was the only way to even approach realism in painting. Some of the greats from the golden age, such as NC Wyeth, Dean Cornwell et al. continued the tradition while it was challenged and nearly lost during the 20th Century. 

Vintage books by illustrator Andrew Loomis were an inspiration, and I returned to them when teaching and when challenging my skills. As a portrait painter, I had neglected composition and felt my weakness in this area. I became intrigued with Loomis’ approach for adding impact to an image, and tried a version of this to achieve dynamic balance. At about the same time I was discovering Mandelbrot’s Fractal Geometry, a visual approach to numbers, Chaos Theory, and amazing connections among everything in the universe… What has been discovered thus far in physics shows that there is a requirement for creation that involves some interaction between deterministic order and randomness.

Learn more about the Mandelbrot set here:  video 1 video 2


Guile | oil on canvas | 24" x 12” | 2016 


Boardwalk Fractal (Kathy) | oil on linen | 24" x 36” | 2014

Artists are taught about the Fibonacci Spiral as a tool for composition, but  Fibonacci is just one of many fractals. I began imagining ways to apply the idea of fractals to my two-dimensional surface, relating shapes within the image to its aspect ratio. And the proportions demonstrated in the human body, which are mathematical formulas for patterns of growth. They govern how everything is built, from cells to ferns to galaxies. 

The other thing that happened in my work at the time was an increased desire to work with texture and dimension, leading me to forget pastels and even brushes, to explore impasto, applying paint directly with the knife. I experimented with things like marbling oil on water to achieve emergent order; dendritic and cellular patterns that spontaneously emerge from fluid dynamics. Thinking about all this connectedness and conditions for the emergence of life sparked experiments in creating such patterns, allowing me a balance of control and freedom. Realism and abstraction. It continues to inspire paintings about this idea of humans as part of nature. 


Unbridled | oil on linen | 24" x 24” | 2018

In Their Shoes | oil on linen | 24" x 24” | 2017

Water Pistol Fractal | oil on linen | 18" x 18” | 2015



Lisa Fricker in the studio

Lisa Fricker in the studio

Lisa Fricker was painting portraits from life at the age of 16 – at a theme park! Short poses recorded in charcoal, pastel and watercolor served as an introduction to life drawing and unexplored media. After this trial by fire, she attended art school in her native Nashville, continuing at Paier College of Art in Connecticut. She left behind a scholarship to hone her skills as a classical pianist, but was later awarded a painting scholarship to the Scottsdale Artists’ School, to study with Bettina Steinke. 

She has portrayed 92 inductees for the Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center, CEOs, a Senator – and many children. She has also been commissioned by a dozen health care centers to produce murals and figurative paintings for facilities from Oregon to Florida, including M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. 

Her work has been published in The Best of Portrait PaintingThe Best of Flower Painting 2 and Painting More Creatively (North Light Books), as well as in Pastel Journal and Pastel Artist International magazines. 

Lisa is recognized as a Signature member of the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, and Pastel Society of America, among others. With eight solo shows to her credit, she participates in many national juried exhibitions, and at museums including the Butler Institute and the Haggin. Her works are included in hundreds of private and corporate collections, including the American Cancer Society and State Farm.