Francis Salvesen has loved painting since childhood, winning the Art Cup at school in Edinburgh. He used to leave the latch of the art room windows open and nip back during his free time to spend hours continuing the paintings he was working on! There were never any formal lessons in how to draw or paint, so what you see is a rare example of a self-taught artist. Indeed, through much of his life, Francis has considered art as a wonderful hobby, but not a serious profession and certainly not something that justifies all the time and experience of schooling, university and a Masters degree. Yet for the last few years he has been painting full-time and squeezing other intellectual activities into the stretched-canvas day! Francis is one of those unusual artists who is good at both arts and sciences, playing the piano by ear, composing poetry, writing letters and even a published book, and at the same time a ‘Masters standard’ expert on economics and International Relations, experienced in creating a mobile smartphone, innovating and managing the creation of a windfarm, presenting projects to Boards of Directors all over the world on mobile banking and immersed in policy generation for the UK, particularly in trade.
What you see in his paintings is the love of aesthetics – the beautiful, natural surroundings that are reflected epitomise the love of life and appreciation that we live in a beautiful world and, indeed, that art can create happiness.
After school Francis lived and worked across the world, in the Army, as an entrepreneur, and in finance, but he always felt the tug home for the four seasons and the greenery and beauty of the British countryside. This has drawn him back to Britain time and time again. You can see this reflected in his paintings, where vivid colours create a present more real than the distant places themselves: the viewer has a heightened sense of being, a quickened consciousness. Those who may remember a place from their past, experience it in a new way. We could even say that we recognise that there is an incandescent truth more eternal than a passing moment through its sensuous and intellectual transposition.
Accompanying each painting there is a matching poem, describing what has inspired Francis to paint this scene, what he thinks of as he paints and inspiring us too to a greater level of understanding than merely ‘a beautiful scene’. There are questions that arise, history that a scene evokes and encapsulates and the expression of many feelings.
The majority of Francis’ works use photographs he and others have taken, as Francis paints very slowly and methodically, capturing the details to such an extent that you almost feel you can walk into the scenery. Much of the painting is achieved when the canvas lies horizontally on the table, like any fine draughtsman: more occasionally with an easel and stand. This also makes the paintings unique – it is a way of painting that other artists are not known for.
Over the years Francis has travelled to galleries and met other fine artists world-renowned schools from New York, London and St. Peterburg, in France and Italy. He aspires to paint portraits that achieve a third dimension and ultimately achieve the romanticism of beautiful couples in love, beautifully clothed, in beautiful surroundings. Looking at other artists work he has looked for ways to enhance his own techniques to make the paintings even more compelling, reflecting his own character and relationship with the world.
Francis’ ambition over the next year or two is to create an oeuvre comprising all the historic, important and distinctive landmarks of the British Isles and Ireland. He intends to highlight them through radiant paint and colour and with a new poetry that will last the test of time, giving joy to those who own them.
Francis loves theatre, television drama, films, ballet and opera. He co-founded one of Britain’s most successful theatre companies, Fiery Angel, alongside many other businesses. Francis is a highly sociable, family man who sees as much of his friends and relations as he can. At home in the countryside he composes some of his poetry while walking his Irish Setter. He is particularly fond of dancing and Scottish reeling. His home is full of his own vibrant landscapes and wildlife paintings, portraits and seascapes.
Many of his paintings now hang in the Great Houses and Castles of Britain. They are becoming sought after collections, individual and distinctive in the imaginative interpretations they present.