Hello, I’m Fran, and I paint watercolor portraits of children.
It all started when a friend asked me to paint the portraits of her three daughters and their four cousins to serve as her Christmas gift to her parents that year. Thanks to Facebook posts of the cousins’ portraits (which came to be known in my friend's family as the Christmas gift that could not be topped), I received more commissions after that.
It may seem like my getting into portrait painting happened out of the blue. But the real story is I went to art school at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts after working as editor in the magazine industry in Manila. At the US’ first and oldest art school in Philadelphia, we drew, painted, and sculpted from nude models all day and everyday for two years, and then spent two more years developing personal work in our studios.
That four-year immersion in the classical-painting tradition has been invaluable in honing my eye and hand. I wouldn’t trade this rigorous training for any other! Yet despite my appreciation of the traditional fine-art techniques I've learned, what I value even more is imbibing from the subject how best to represent him or her.
First I photograph the child and then review the portrait-reference options with the parents. Mom or dad would usually point to a particular photo and say, “That one.” There’s usually one pose that stands out as capturing their child’s personality. I enjoy making luminous this individual spark through careful draftsmanship and the use of nuanced colors. It’s this inner spark that I hope to bring to life in every portrait I paint, as if the portrait had a beating heart. At least that is my aspiration.
I'd love to hear from you!