This months featured artist is Frances Jordan.
Frances is based in Surrey, England and provided me with this enlightening interview about her life as an artist.
Please tell me a little about yourself.
Since I was a little girl I have always drawn and painted and I so much wanted to go to art college, but my parents were against it. In my teens after work I went to adult education classes and took life-drawing and watercolour.
My husband liked the work I was producing and suggested that I frame some of it to hang it on our walls. I was very reluctant with this suggestion as I felt it was nowhere near good enough and to me there is nothing worse than looking at a load of amateur art on a wall.
Who has inspired you in your art journey?
A few years earlier I had bought from a gallery a work by the artist Albert Houghton FRSA and I told my husband that I wanted no work of mine to be hung on our walls until I was at least as good as this man. My husband promptly found out where Mr. Houghton lived and asked him if he could pay for four lessons as a birthday present to me. Mr. Houghton was unenthusiastic, but his wife thought this was such a lovely idea that he reluctantly agreed.
I had my first lesson from a man who obviously didn’t want to teach me. I was told that I wasn’t to speak or ask questions. I had just to watch and then I was to go home and recreate the painting he had just done. If he felt mine was good enough, he would give me another lesson, if it wasn’t, he would end the lessons.
I had my four lessons and slowly a friendship grew between us and he asked me if I would like to paint with him at different locations in Surrey and naturally, I jumped at the chance. I became, I guess his young protégé, and I watched and learnt from him. I felt very privileged. After his wife died his family moved him up to Cambridge so they could look after him. He used to phone me and tell me how lonely he was – it was very sad. I will always be very grateful for what he taught me and the friendship that I found painting with him.
Which medium/media do you like to work in?
I love watercolour and kept to this for many years. I now teach watercolour and would like to thank Mr. Houghton for inspiring me.
I will now work in any medium as long as I can get what I need for any particular subject that I am working on at the time and my current favourite is working in oil and mixed media.
What subjects do you like to paint?
I am very concerned with our environment and the natural world, so it seemed to be obvious to go for large expressive paintings depicting nature at its wildest.
Who has been your biggest influence?
Although I look at art and artists all the time, I guess my biggest influence is Turner. The colour, light and transparency he brought to his work is second to no other. He could show the grandeur and strength with one stroke. Living artists that I like are Kurt Jackson, Antony Garret and Stuart Edmondson.
Have you had any formal training as an artist?
I decided to take myself off to art college as a mature artist and went to East Surrey where I achieved an HND in fine art. It was then suggested to me that I try for Central St. Martin’s London. I am pleased to say and feel very honoured that I got accepted on their Fine Art degree course.
Do you have a particular subject or theme you work to?
Currently the themes that I have been painting are the elements-; – earth, air, fire and water – which have given me plenty of ideas and scope. For ‘fire’ I chose to paint volcanoes, and now I am painting seascapes for ‘water’. The next element I’m intending to tackle is ‘air’.
I love art and the people who make it. I think they all have the seeing eye; a love for beauty and all that is around us.
What advice would you give to a young person interested in art?
I would say “don’t be put off, follow your dream and work hard”. To be good and taken seriously one needs to study one’s craft. Learn from the best but follow your own path.
Where can people see your work?
Currently I have work on display in Bramley and Chertsey at the No Naked Walls gallery and throughout the year I exhibit at different venues including The Edinburgh Art Fair, Sandown Race Course and AppArt.
Frances teaches watercolour classes to a number of students. For more information about Frances, her classes and to watch her painting a beautiful watercolour painting with the SAA, please take a look at her website, www.francesjordan.com