In 1994, Sara Frischer, a professional sculptor and figure painter, moved to town. Instantly falling in love with Sherman’s natural, raw beauty that surrounded her, she found a new source of inspiration right outside her door. Picking up her paintbrush, she began to capture Mother Nature in all her glory.
Sara didn’t know it at the time that she would give up sculpting to dedicate the next ten years of her life painting mostly “open air” landscapes and nature scenes with Sherman in the forefront. In doing so, the Town of Sherman became her gallery and she became the town’s very own landscape and nature scene oil painter with a distinctively unique, impressionistic style.
To see a Sara Frischer original, one doesn’t have to look far to find one because some of them are on public display in town. Plus, there are plenty of Sherman residents who showcase them in their private collections. One of her treasures, an early spring abstract of Valley Pond, can be viewed at the Sherman IGA where it’s suspended from the ceiling.
Four of Sara’s paintings also grace the walls inside the Sherman School library. “Strawberry Moon,” “Fall Panorama,” “Bursting Forth,” and “Experimental Still Life” bring cheer and inspiration to art enthusiasts of all ages when they stop to appreciate her works of art. Sara’s two sons once attended the school as young boys. She also assisted Alisyn Hamilton, the Sherman School art teacher, for a few years, and taught art classes through the Parks & Recreation Department.
Today, only two of Sara’s landscape oil paintings are available to purchase. One is a scene from her Brookland Collection where she captures the simple beauty of the Naromi Land Trust Preserve, and it’s on display inside Mallory Town Hall. From her private collection, she’s releasing a stunning Valley Pond panorama, entitled “In the Field with You,” that she painted splendidly in her signature style using wide brush strokes of earthy golden browns and cool blues with bright color accents.
Local galleries once sold Sara Frischer originals, so she’s not sure where countless of her oil paintings ended up. However, a few more of her scenic pieces can be viewed in New Milford at Temple Sholom and Candlewood Animal Hospital.
Sara’s burst of energy and creativity that she experienced as a local artist for ten years straight ended abruptly in 2004. With a terminally ill child and mounting medical bills, along with a bad economy, Sara had to find more steady work and got “laid off from paint.” She then became a medical coder for the Western Connecticut Health Network. “It was a strange time in my life when everything changed. I started to feel like I was standing still. It’s very isolating after a while, and living in Sherman is very quiet. Painting is very quiet and isolating, too. I found myself painting, gardening, and doing odd jobs. I helped out at Babbling Brook Farm on Church Road for a year and it was hard work. I learned to bale hay and carried a lot of hay,” she said.
What now seems like a lifetime ago to Sara, she shared more about her earlier days as a professional artist. “I always worked in oil and I like oil the best. I worked for a while in the City and would take art classes at night.”
As a student, Sara received an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science, with a concentration in Fine Arts, from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. She then went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art, with a concentration in Fine Arts, at Queens College where she took courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, and print-making. She also participated in the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art in Norfolk, Connecticut.
Camille Pissarro and Paul Cezanne, both French Impressionist painters, are the master artists who always inspired her because “their works are just beautiful to look at, just beautiful and pure.”
In the 1980s Sara worked side-by-side with the famous sculptor, Jerry Luisi, at FIT. She continued to take classes there, too. Then, in the early 1990s, she lived in Lexington, Massachusetts, and concentrated on figure painting, drawing, and sculpting with a small community of artists.
Sara’s artistic career peaked in the mid-1990s through the early 2000s. Her paintings were frequently shown in both individual and group exhibits in Manhattan, and throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.
On permanent display at Memorial Sloan Kettering is a landscape painting entitled, “Gray Days.” which captures a scene just before Hurricane “Big Bertha” hit the region in 1996. This piece is, by far, her favorite. She also likes the other paintings around town in Sherman.
Almost every artist has a few works of art they will never part with. For Sara, she has a painting of Valley Pond that she will always keep because “it’s just perfect to me.” She also loves another painting of Kent Falls because “it’s a thin panoramic and it’s very abstract.”
Like the seasons captured in Sara’s paintings, life is a work in progress with many different phases. Sara may not be painting right now, but she will always be an artist and lives artistically. She is going through what she calls “a quiet period” in her life and is “observing and listening.”
Sara is expressing herself artistically once again and said, “one doesn’t ever just stop expressing oneself during times of introspection and soul-searching. For me, it’s all about photographs and a lot of Jazz right now.”
She carries a waterproof camera with her on all of her bicycle rides and is starting to build a collection of favorite nature scene shots. “I am in the process of reinventing. It’s a lot easier to snap a picture than to paint,” she said.
Sara added, “because I don’t have much time to paint, I listen. I listen to a lot of jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, my favorite. I observe a group of musicians. It’s all about the ensemble playing together. They work in harmony. At some point, it will show through in my artwork.”
What’s important to Sara now is making the most out of life. For her, “it’s really about living more than creatively make something that’s an object, like a piece of artwork, to collect. Life is about how much you enjoy life. I am like everyone else. I am trying to get through life and figure it all out. I am happy. I am fine. I am looking out the window. I’m in Sherman. Everywhere I look is beautiful. It’s all good.”
Visit: artincontext.org/SaraFrischer/ to learn more about Sara Frischer’s professional career as an artist.
Article and photos by Alicia Sakal. Originally written for Town Tribune, July 14, 2016 Edition.