Fran is a versatile artist who excels in realism, particularly in drawing portraits and still lifes. To see more of Fran's artwork, visit her gallery: http://community.art-is-fun.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?scre...
When you view her portfolio, be sure to click on the images to view them larger!
Please join us for this interview with Fran:
How long have you been an artist and how did you become an artist?
I was fortunate to have a father who was not only an excellent artist, but who was generous with his time and his materials and supplies. The only things he wouldn’t let me use were knives and his airbrush. He lived in a time when Uncle Sam called him to service and away from his art twice, then just when he was just getting back into it, he died far too early. Everything I know about perspective, color, line and more, I learned from him before I was in school. I’ve always considered myself an artist.
What is your favorite medium and why?
I’ve worked in almost all media, but I always go back to colored pencils. I know of nothing that’s more precise, versatile and portable. You don’t need water and people don’t complain of the smell. I’ve done portraits in other media, but have never gotten the results I do with CPs. My favorite brands are Faber-Castell Polychromos and Derwent Inktense, both for ease of use and depth of color.
Pick one work of art from your Art Colony portfolio and tell us the story behind it. Why does this piece have meaning to you? What steps did you take to create the piece?
The portrait shown above is not my best piece of art, but it’s special to me. The subject was helpful to me in many ways. He’s Andy Kim, the Canadian songwriter/singer, creator of "Sugar, Sugar, Rock Me Gently" and many other songs. In 2007 and 2008 I traveled to Canada to see him in concert and he allowed me into sound check, where I took tons of photos. This portrait is painted with Inktense, used as watercolor and is a compilation of several of my photos. I had a lot of trouble with it, so I asked for his input and he gave me several tips that eventually got it done. It met with his approval and I’ll always be thankful for his help, when I’m sure he had more pressing things to do. Such a nice man.
Tell us about one medium, technique or style that you would like to try working with (that you have not tried before) and why you would like to try this.
I’ve always wanted to sculpt. My father sculpted small things, like puppets and animals. When I draw a face, I don’t think of it as flat. I sculpt it with my pencils. I’d like to do that with my hands in clay. I like the idea of lines and texture that can be felt.
Is there an element of making art that you enjoy the most, and why?
I enjoy it all, from shooting and editing reference photos, to drawing or painting, to posting them. I guess my very favorite element is actually building the layers of color, lightly and blending them, watching them begin to look like the subject.
If you could imagine the “perfect art day” for yourself, what would it be like?
Oh, that’s easy. It would be a day with no distractions and with my favorite music playing. Actually, I have a lot of perfect art days, since I’m retired.
If you could spend 24 hours with one artist, living or historical, who would you want to spend the day with and why? What would the two of you do?
Without a doubt, Norman Rockwell. I’m impressed most by the illustrators and Rockwell is at the top of the list. I always loved looking at pictures of his studio, with the enormous north window. I’m sure he would be painting and I’d be watching every move he made. Maybe I could detect some subtle technique that made him so great. If, by chance, he wasn’t in that day, my second choice would be Maxfield Parrish and the third would be N.C. Wyeth. All three were excellent artists who made lasting impressions on me when I was a child. That’s never changed.
Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists?
I always tell other artists to never destroy any of their work, no matter how bad they think it is. No matter how experienced we become, we all produce stinkers now and then. Every now and then, it’s good to go back and look at these things and realize how much we’ve improved. Maybe, we’ll also find out they weren’t as bad as we thought. Maybe they just weren’t finished.
The best advice I can give to an aspiring portraitist is to embrace what I call “the imperfect face”. No face is symmetrical and if you’re trying to capture a good likeness, the imperfections are what make it realistic. Don’t try to make both eyes or both ears or even both nostrils match and no one’s eyebrows, mouth or chin and jaws are perfect.
Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?
I’d like to say that The Art Colony is one of the friendliest art sites I’m been on... and I’ve been on most of them.
Congratulations Fran!! Loved your interview and love seeing your art!
Thanks so much, Mary.
Thanks, David. I hope you love them as much as I do. They're a lot of work, but it just takes practice.