In Still Life
Robin Frisella’s stunning pastels turn inanimate objects into visions of beauty
Most people with five spare minutes will send a few text messages, grab a cup of coffee, or take some deep breaths. If you offer the same 300 seconds to Robin Frisella, she will whip up a juicy apple so realistic that, if you didn’t witness her demonstration, you may think it is a photograph, an oil painting, or an actual piece of fruit.
But Frisella’s compelling, almost three-dimensional renderings are done entirely with pastels. The New Hampshire artist is chock-full of surprises. Although she has no formal training, her works have garnered multiple awards at juried fine art shows across the country. She picked up her first pastel stick in 2000 at a 12-week class she took with a childhood friend. “I was blown away,” she recalls, noting that every stroke went on the paper like butter. “I just could not stop!”
She subsequently quit her job of 18 years and began teaching art, entering competitions, and falling madly in love with her new passion. Her first entry in a juried competition won Best of Show. She credits her husband, Fred Frisella, for discovering the future location of her first studio behind a restaurant he ate at every day in Candia, New Hampshire. “There were bees in the walls and the ceilings were caving in, but he and [his] brother Bill made it beautiful,” says Frisella, whose gentle grace is reminiscent of the lovely objects she carefully curates and joyfully brings to life.
Her color of choice for much of her art is not the soft pink of blushing peonies, her favorite flower to paint, but red—the hue of apples and cherries, fruits of her labor and love. Red, the color of the giant bow that one of her clients had tied around a framed piece of work he commissioned as a special gift for his wife, who had lost her mother and two brothers. To tell the story, the artist and client cherry-picked heirloom objects including his wife’s favorite teapot and flowers from her garden, her mother’s glasses and wedding ring, and a watch and ring from her brothers, which are all depicted in the final work.
Her clients often bring cherished mementos and collaborate with her to curate a vignette. “Then I do my little thing,” Frisella says, with a twinkle in her eye. Her process is organic and filled with joy. She transforms the everyday—fruits, flowers, white ironware, and other objects that spark memories—into evocative pieces of art.
Frisella displays and sells her work at Frisella Fine Art in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. The gallery also carries gift items and home accents along with art by a dozen other artists who work in a variety of media including oil, pastel, fused glass, and encaustic. The sign outside the gallery reads, THE EARTH WITHOUT ART IS JUST “EH.”
Visit Frisella Fine Art
Frisella Fine Art
87 Lafayette Rd., Suite 6
Hampton Falls, New Hampshire