In 2020 Francis was approached by the Royal Society of Arts to be made Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), an award granted to individuals that the RSA judges to have made outstanding achievements related to the Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce.
I have loved painting since childhood when I was thrilled to win the Art Cup at school. I used to leave the latch of the art room windows open and nip back during my free time to spend hours continuing the paintings I was working on! While we had ‘art lessons’ no one ever taught me how to draw or paint, so I am a self-taught artist and I do hope this inspires others who have no formal training to paint!
Through much of my life, I considered art ‘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! I have always enjoyed both arts and sciences and done well at both. I have also enjoyed playing many sports, including Rugby, Hockey, Cricket, Fives, Tennis and even ‘Real Tennis’ and Polo! Many of the activities I have now painted, from Tug O’War to Conkers, watching Ballet to Scottish Reeling are inspired by personal experience.
I play the piano by ear and have composed a few tunes, write poetry (as you will see!) and have written a humorous book about my life at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
After the Army I spent many years as a stockbroker, while also setting up a variety of small businesses, ranging from a Forestry and Windfarm business to an innovative mobile phone I designed to be a ‘blackberry killer’ in the days before Mobile Apps! On the creative side I co-Founded one of the UKs most successful Theatre production companies. Throughout this period of my life, I painted and developed a style and range of subject matter, all of which I continue to do.
All these activities have given me a vast array of wonderful experiences, and hundreds of people – many of which I have painted. Indeed, my Dining Room was for many years decorated with portraits of my best friends, whom I have since given the pictures to.
I have travelled the world and worked across Africa and South-East Asia, throughout Eastern Europe and Australasia and know that I love British life and British people most of all. I particularly enjoy our greenery and scenery, but also all the different activities that are a part of the British way of life.
The Great British Exhibition exhibited 57 of paintings of all the main landmarks around the United Kingdom, to critical acclaim. You are still able to buy prints of these! In all my paintings you see my love of aesthetics. In the Landscapes, there are beautiful, natural surroundings that reflected my love of life and a deep appreciation for the beautiful world we live in. They demonstrate too that art can create happiness.
Accompanying each painting there is a matching poem, describing what has inspired me to paint this scene, what I think of as I paint and inspiring us too to a greater level of understanding than merely ‘a beautiful scene’. There are questions that arise, history that a scene encapsulates and the expression of many feelings.
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. Using photographs, I am able to continue working this way through the night and through the winter. This also makes the paintings unique – it is a way of painting that other artists are not known for.
My home is full of my own vibrant landscapes, wildlife paintings, portraits and seascapes. Many other homes have started their own collections and it is truly wonderful to see my paintings on these walls. It is a lovely thing to give other people pleasure.