Light and colour: Artist’s painting connects viewers to the natural world

[This story was published on November 23 by etc Magazine. Read the original story at, pages 40 and 41. The PDF version of the story is below.]

Sunrise Itchenor_Oil on Canvas 46cmx74cm_ Frances Knight
Sunrise Itchenor, Oil on Canvas, by Frances Knight

The twentieth-century writer and mystic Thomas Merton famously once said that ‘art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time’. Painting, one could argue, has the capacity to connect viewers with their inner selves, as well as the wider world.

This philosophy informs the of work award-winning artist, Arundel based Frances Knight.

“I want to communicate the sense of wonder, joy and deep harmony that I experience in nature,” Frances said. “I want people who view my work to feel some upliftment and nourishment on a deep level. I think art has an important role to play in connecting people to deeper levels of themselves and helping them see beauty and meaning in the world around them.”

Windy Sunset Towards Hayling island_Oil on Panel_40cmx50cm_Frances Knight
Windy Sunset Towards Hayling Island, Oil on Panel, by Frances Knight

Frances completed her Master of Fine Arts in India, before working as a professional painter for the Beatles’ guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, as well as the Transcendental Meditation organisation, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to creating world peace.

Light, colour and structure informs Frances’s paintings; she often works outside on location to create studies, and then returns to her studio in order to develop these into larger creations.

Painted forest, field and sea landscapes in muted palettes of straw yellow, dusky pink, cornflower blue, and steel gray form a large part of Frances’s oeuvre.

“My work is inspired by nature in all the changing seasons and times of day, the elements of nature, light and atmosphere, especially by different qualities of light, and by reflected light in water,” the artist said. “I love the landscape of the Sussex Downs and valleys and the sea and Chichester Harbour.”

Location plays a key role in Frances’s work: she has collections of work created in responses to places as diverse as India, Provence, and, of course, Sussex, capturing the natural character of Arun Valley, Downland and Climping Beach. Inspired by the global natural world, Frances has also exhibited her work internationally as well as widely across the UK. Her paintings are in private collections in the UK, Europe, the USA, Canada and India.

Arun Valley Towards Amberley Mount_Oil on Linen 100cmx180cm_Frances Knight
Arun Valley Towards Amberley Mount, Oil on Linen, by Frances Knight

Many of Frances’s paintings are created in oil paint, what the artist calls “a very forgiving medium”.

“I like the quality of oil paint and the way one can mix so many nuances of colour exactly,” she explained. “One can add layers or scrape off, and it has a physical quality with texture and variations of transparency and opacity that make the surface quality of a painting interesting in itself. It can be used in so many ways: fluidly with calligraphic brushstrokes or applied thickly building up textures and layers.”

The 2017-18 period is proving busy for Frances, who has showcased work in her summer exhibition ‘Light and Landscape’, which was presented as part of the Arundel Gallery Trail. She held a solo exhibition entitled ‘A Brush with Light’ at the Project Gallery in Arundel in August, as well as exhibiting work at the Nigel Rose Gallery in Brighton and The Little Art Shop in West Wittering.

In addition to showcasing her work at The Affordable Art Weekend, held in West Wittering on October 29 to 30,  Frances is also exhibiting her work in a new location in Arundel, which opened on October 23.

“I am very excited that a selection of my paintings are on permanent exhibition at a new art gallery called The Wick Gallery opening in Arundel,” said Frances, explaining what the future holds in terms of showcasing her work. “I will be holding regular open studio days in the coming months so people can see new work in progress. In February I will be showing at the Surrey Art Fair, and from April to May, concurrent with the Chichester Art Trail, I will have a solo show at The Little Art Gallery in West Wittering. Then in August I will have my regular Summer Exhibition which is part of the Arundel Gallery Trail and is my biggest show of the year. Also I will soon be showing with the Riverside Gallery in Barnes and there is a possibility with another London Gallery that shows at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea and New York.”

New exhibition of paintings at The Wick Gallery, Arundel_2
New exhibition of paintings at The Wick Gallery, Arundel

Frances’ forthcoming shows also include a solo exhibition at Arundel by Candlelight, which will be held in the historic town on December 2 and 3.

I want to bring some sunshine, light and colour into the dark winter days through my paintings,” said Frances, after I asked her what she hoped her work would bring to this major Christmas event.

“Also, for this show, I will have a focus on smaller works that might make good Christmas gifts as well as cards and prints,” she added.

With so many exciting exhibitions on the horizon, I wondered what the artist herself was particularly looking forward to.

“I am always excited about how my work is evolving in new ways,” she replied. “Recently I have been developing larger scale work in the studio that is naturally more abstract and evocative than the work that is painted on site direct from nature. Also I have been experimenting with using colour to more expressively depict the effect of light in nature and I am quite excited to see how this will develop.”

For more information about Frances Knight and her work, visit her website, which can be found at

Frances Knight _Bio Photo 6
Frances at work.



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