You could say I am an emerging abstract artist, but I prefer the term evolving artist. My never-ending art journey began in nursery school when the teacher gave me a “coloring page” on which I was supposed to color in the lines. Oh, no! That would not do. I crushed it into a ball and demanded a plain piece of paper so I could create my own image. My tendency to defy the art rules continued as a preteen in painting classes where the teacher assigned a still life, but I created an abstract.
Those defining experiences resisting the expected set the tone for pretty much the rest of my journey in art, and my career in early childhood education, and marketing: Straying from the assignment with a different approach (always abstract and conceptual) was and is just how I roll. Now, evolution is a part of every piece I make because my art is intuitive and expressionistic (for the most part.)
In high school I studied at Alabama School of Fine Arts, where defying the assignments didn’t help me grow as an artist. Then, following high school, I continued as a painting major in college. Despite still having a burning need to create, I lacked confidence in my work and became discouraged. I changed my major and earned a BA and M.Ed. in early childhood education and for the next 30ish years I enjoyed a fulfilling career as an advocate, leader, subject matter expert, technologist, and consultant. Believe me, I was still creating, but not creating much art throughout those years.
Flash forward to 2013 when my family and I experienced a major lifechanging event- after 30 years barely managing a chronic degenerative heart condition, I received the gift of a heart transplant. Recovery was long, and my mindset changed. Over time as I healed and continued to work, I found myself drawn back to painting. Once I was back on my feet, my hands and heart got to work, creating, finally reconnecting with my art.
Since 2016, I’ve been painting, collaging, and gel-printing, building a collection of hundreds of pieces, some failed experiments, and some I embrace. Most of my work is intuitive, meaning I do not have a vision in mind. I follow my intuition to make marks and shapes that lead to the next. The process begins playfully, until I reach a certain point when I begin to refine (or sometimes, not if I am delighted by the result of my play.
This painting, Ode to My Gifts, (part of my personal collection) was created near the beginning of my return to art. It encapsulates my gratitude for my organ donor, my family, and the re-emergence of my renewed ability to embrace life and art. This piece was inspired by an evening of music, dancing, and beach life, which I would not be able to experience if it were not for my new heart and the support of my husband. Our hearts are entwined here, overlapped with my donor’s spirit.
I am guided by curiosity. “What would happen if…” is my guide star. I like to test the limits of my materials and techniques. As you can see in this piece, I often play like a young child and I love “resist” techniques which are using materials that resist the paint to reveal the layer beneath. This is just one of the methods I use. Read my artist statement for more, or just take a look at my work.
Since 2016, I’ve been making art that delights me. In fact, until 2023 when I got the nerve to show my work in exhibitions, my work was only seen by friends and family and on Instagram. I would be thrilled if you like my art. I’d be very happy to sell it to you. But I make paintings gel-prints, and collage for the sheer joy of making art.
Appreciating and selecting art is personal. I respect all opinions and encourage viewers to react to my work, even if their reaction is negative. If my work makes you respond, no matter the response, I’ve achieved my goal. I will go on creating, and maybe one day I will make something that delights you are much as the process delighted me.
I love feedback, so let me know what you think about what you see on this site or on Instagram. You never know, maybe a future piece will be the result of your comments.
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© Fran Simon Art, all images and text subject to copyright, Fran S. Simon, M.Ed., Fran Simon Art