It wasn't until longtime northeast Brainerd resident Phyllis Frankum was close to retiring that she had time to pursue her passion in life.
Her passion is seen in hundreds of her acrylic and watercolor paintings she has created over the past 17 years. Frankum, 69, never picked up a paint brush until 1992, five years before she retired as a computer aide in the Brainerd School District.
When one walks through Frankum's home that she and her husband, Arlo, built 38 years ago they'll see many of the paintings. A person may think that Frankum has done paintings all her life because of their creativity and professionalism.
Phyllis Frankum of Brainerd calls this painting "Pond Hockey." Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"I've always been interested in painting," Frankum said as she worked on one of her paintings of a lady's slipper, a flower that has become second nature for her to create. Frankum worked on the painting in her art studio located on the lower level of her home.
"I've never had time to do something for myself. I worked and I raised two children who kept me busy. That's what I wanted to do. Then when things began to settle down I said it was time for me to pursue painting. I've doodled a little before and did some paintings on my own and did crafts, but I never pursued anything with it."
Phyllis Frankum of Brainerd needs a steady hand when she does one of her paintings. Frankum said her skills with acrylic paints have helped her with her watercolor painting. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Frankum purchased books by several artists, including Dorothy Dent and took painting classes to learn how to paint. Frankum started out with oils and then moved to acrylics.
"When I started I painted on clothes and sold them at the Brainerd High School craft sale," said Frankum.
Frankum loves to paint nature and flowers and has done "a little of everything," when it comes to the art mediums, such as wood Scotties and rosemaling, which is a Norwegian rose painting.
Frankum's paintings improved through the years. Eight years ago, Frankum found her niche in painting, watercoloring. Frankum took a class with watercolor artist Rose Edin through Brainerd Community Education and she was hooked.
"I like the wet into wet look," said Frankum. "Watercolor you have to do in stages so the paint can dry.
Phyllis Frankum also creates rosemaling, such as this art piece. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"I think learning how to do acrylics first helped me with my watercoloring painting. Acrylics helps with the details."
Frankum, who calls herself an acrylic/watercolor artist, photographs things she wants to paint. A few of her masterpieces include an eagle nest painting that came from a professional photographer she visited at an Arts in the Park event; a pond hockey painting she did from a photograph she took when her son was 7; and a photograph she had of Split Rock on the North Shore near Duluth, which is her favorite painting.
"I won't sell this one, I love it," Frankum said of the Split Rock painting that hangs on the wall in the stairway of her home.
Phyllis Frankum recently talked about how she got into painting later in her life at her northeast Brainerd home, where she lives with her husband, Arlo. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Frankum sold a majority of her paintings. She said she had to sell her paintings because otherwise she'd have no place to store her work and she also wanted to raise money to buy more art supplies to keep her hobby going.
"I do a lot of painting," said Frankum. "What would I do with them if I didn't sell them? I did a painting I call 'Northern Lights' that I painted for my son and I ended up painting it six times because so many people liked it.
"I just love it, it's so much fun (to paint). I have met so many friends who do different art form mediums."
Frankum often gets together with her artist friends and she paints every Tuesday morning at the Lakes Area Senior Activity Center for the camaraderie. Frankum paints everyday for about an hour at home.
Phyllis Frankum of Brainerd painted these eagles that sit in a nest. She painted the picture from a photograph she bought from a professional photographer she visited at an Arts in the Park event in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Frankum's art was featured twice on the Brainerd Community Education brochure; she was given a Merit Award at the 2008 Artist of Minnesota Show; and she was voted Peoples Choice at the 2004 Brainerd Art Show.
Frankum is a member of the Nisswa Lakes Area Artists, the Brainerd and Crosslake art clubs, Encore Art Club, Franklin Art Center and Artist of Minnesota.
People may view Frankum's work at Brainerd City Hall or the Brainerd senior center. Frankum's next art display will be June 26-27 at the Nisswa Community Center.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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