Fran White

Fran White


The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.


Most definitely, it is the yearning that drives me to practice and create. Quite recently I have become aware however that to create a painting, for me is not a simple or singular act of placing paint on a substrate. It takes time, quite a lot of time, and each painting evolves through the process until it emerges at some point – not always of my knowing.

For example, my painting Park Life which started its journey in Cornwall in late summer 2019. It then evolved throughout the winter, before emerging complete very recently. Or is it complete?

Park Life – The Full Story

It was a hot day on the beach. I had already been observing and painting on the beach, so my mind was engaged with women reading.  Walking back to the house I noticed Edith lying on a bench reading and I took a photograph. She wasn’t feeling well so she was not aware I had taken the photograph, but I told her afterwards.

When I returned home I created watercolour postcards to find my way in, which is the way I tend to work, then I collaged to extract more information and at the same time started to abstract the image. I then moved on to oil sticks on cardboard and eventually un-primed fabric and linen stuck on to board and canvas. I found this element particularly challenging but under the tutelage of Nick Bodimeade, eventually found a way through.

Bigger primed linen canvas followed and that’s when I felt the painting started to evolve and manifest – this step was critical and the outcomes were fruitful as they gave me more than I expected. I realised during the process that I needed to abstract some elements, in order to understand what was necessary to keep. Again, prompted by Nick I focused on the marks as opposed to the whole.

I initially chose a bright sunny colour palette, representative of the season, but this evolved to anything I could find as the painting evolved. I spent some time looking at paints; their properties and transparency/opacity.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the journey from real depiction to abstraction. Some limiting beliefs kept creeping in but I pushed ahead and still showed it to a few trusted people for a response. Their feedback pulled me along and I got completely into my flow; I became unstoppable, at which point the painting took on its own life.

It is Now Finished, I Think

The final piece is a cardboard cut out that I will now have framed, but there are other elements that I might also frame.

The feeling of reaching this point in the journey fills me with satisfaction – it was an artful fight and I one enjoyed immensely. I also feel I may have found my working methodology, for now, that will support me continuing to grow as an artist.

What I have learnt from this process:

  • Keep on keeping on
  • This process unlocks the opportunity to look at the next steps – selection, framing, exhibiting etc.
  • I am resilient – I don’t give up easily

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