When she moved back to the Ozarks in 1972, Lipe decided to make her paintings "more than just a Sunday thing." She began painting classes and doing serious commercial painting. Her accounts include shops in Branson and War Eagle Mill. Lipe also writes and publishes children's books, e.g. the "Ricena's Pond" series, and "Sooty", using her paintings as illustrations. She's won numerous awards in art shows and competitions. Her work has been featured twice with Willard Scott on the Today show. Some of Lipe's teachers have been nationally known artists Liz Rogers, Shirley Wilson and the renowned western artist Lee Parkinson. Lipe presently teaches oil painting to adult education classes in Springfield.
As a teacher, Lipe nurtures individuality and helps each student develop his or her own potential. Lipe's students said she helps them see beyond the first dimension and their paintings come alive with shadow, depth and dimension.
Lipe's paintings are in private collections and on display throughout the United States and Europe. Her paintings have been purchased by art connoisseurs such as the Jacques Petitpiers, the David Kershaws, the Wesley Halls and the Shoji Tabuchis.
Lipe was born in Kansas City during the Great Depression. Her family migrated to Detroit where her father worked in an oil refinery. She welcomed a new sister to the family in 1939.
During the war years, Lipe, her mother and sister moved back to Kansas City after her father was called to active duty by the Naval Reserve. Her father was killed on Okinawa in 1945.
The family then moved to California to be close to Lipe's mother's family. While in California, Lipe contracted polio and her mother began her own battle against a brain tumor. Lipe, her mother and sister then moved to Bolivar, Missouri. During Lipe's sophomore year of high school, her mother died. Lipe's aunt stepped in and cared for her and her sister. The family moved to Guam where Lipe's uncle worked.
While on Guam, Lipe became a night club singer. Singing had always been an important part of her life. Lipe sang in enlisted men*s clubs, the NCO clubs and the officers' clubs. She even hula danced in military hospitals.
In 1954, Lipe returned to the states to attend college in Berkeley. While in Berkeley, she met her husband Dean. They dated two weeks and were married on New Year's Eve in 1954. They have a son Steve, who is married, and has a daughter Coley. "The craziness of Berkeley" prompted Lipe and her family to move back to the Ozarks.
A student evaluated her instructor, Riki Lipe, by writing: "She helps me see beyond the first dimension. I had never seen a cloud, a tree or a field of grass until I tried to paint them."
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