Frances McGowin, a regular contributor to Scenic 98 Coastal (Adventures in Retirement), is also an artist. Hard to imagine she has time for painting since she is out exploring all her post-retirement options. However, “creating art is a daily necessity for living in my post-retirement world.” she says.

Frances painted 20 years ago. Her professional work schedule had demanded all of her time until now. Immediately after retirement, she jumped back into her creative mode. “I have been exploring abstract painting through intuitive guidance. I am painting with a clear mind and no preconceived agenda. If I start critiquing a painting, I take it as a sign that it is not working, and I clear my mind and start over.”

While most artists, abstract and otherwise, paint using inspiration blended with skills and composition in mind, Frances has a ritual of quieting her mind and focusing on a feeling, not a picture, design, or goal. “I follow my impulses to select a color and execute brush strokes. I am always excited about the painting that emerges through the applied layers,” she says. “The name of the painting will usually occur to me after I have several layers of paint on the canvas. That’s how I know that a painting is close to being finished.”

Her paintings are a compilation of colors, shapes, and variations of brush strokes. To appreciate the organization within the seemingly chaotic whirling configurations, it is necessary to view the painting from a distance and then look closely to feel its energy. There is clarity in each painting.

World famous artist, Claudia DeMonte wrote “Beyond impressive paintings! Just brilliant!” about Frances’ artwork. DeMonte has a studio in New York City but travels with her artwork to show in museums and galleries around the world.

Although Frances is a newcomer to the Alabama art scene, she is already represented by Villa Décor in Fairhope, Sophiella Gallery in Mobile, and will show in March at Stonehenge Gallery in Montgomery. She will also be headed to New Orleans to open a fourth gallery in late spring. “I just want to keep painting. Selling paintings is necessary to make room for more canvases!” Painting seems to be a lifeline for Frances’ exuberant energy. It’s like her charging station.

I asked her where she would go from there. Predictably, she said, “I have no agenda, but I am excited to see what unfolds.” Just like her exploration of retirement possibilities, Frances is all about going with the flow and discovering new opportunities to see what “fits” and feels joyful.

Her art is ever-evolving. Each painting is an original creation with roots beyond Frances’ own imagination. Her paintings are a piece of her spirit and are energized by her connection with them.

What does Frances hope that others see in her work? “It is really not about seeing something; it is really about resonating with a painting. If a person is trying to analyze one of my paintings, they have already missed the point.”

“If you clear your mind of judgment, it frees you to feel the inspiration behind a painting,” explains Frances. That must be why you find people standing in front of paintings in museums for hours, gazing at the beauty behind the actual colors and figures in the image. “Paintings make sense beyond the senses,” says Frances.

Villa Décor in Fairhope will be hosting a reception for Frances McGowin on Thursday, March 23rd from 4:00- 6:00 PM.

To preview Frances’ artwork, visit Villa Décor, Sophiella, and Stonehenge. Frances also has a painting in the Eastern Shore Art Center’s juried show going on through March. Try to notice the feeling that emerges from gazing at her paintings rather than analyzing them. “I hope it sparks a connection,” is Frances’ objective.

Join FRANCES McGOWIN ART STUDIO Facebook page to follow her latest paintings.

Mar 8, 2023
Artsy Side Of Life

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