The idea for this exhibition, the artist’s fourth with The Scottish Gallery, was for Frances to do as she always does when faced with a studio empty of everything but stretched, pristine canvases: to go to Iona to make her start.
However, rather than a fleeting visit this was a prolonged stay. Hers is both a sailor’s and a painter’s understanding of the island, looking inward and out and she has added many new locations and aspects. Like Peploe and Cadell before her she demonstrates a profound understanding of how the variation of weather and sea, and of aspect and viewpoint, makes the island an infinite giver of subjects. Nosing around the little bays and coves, amongst the shoals of the West coast of the island in the family fishing boat has lent her new insights.
The Island of Storms at the North End is not ignored but now here are Port na Fraig, The Mermaids, Pulpit Rock; vistas towards The Burgh and Ben Mhor, on Mull; Eigg and the Treshnish Isles. Here also are yachts moored at St Ronan’s Bay, a little picture of a beached boat and creels at Martyr’s Bay, a cat on a corrugated roof by the Post Office and the magnificent Bay at the Back of the Ocean.
In 2013 Frances was awarded the Charles Rennie Mackintosh residency at Collioure. These jewel-like, mineral dry canvases of Collioure and its hinterland add a warm counterpoint to the west coast of Scotland. Wherever she is, Frances’s eye is unerring, her technique dazzling and her appetite of hard work undiminished.