Jane Francis

Since beginning to make art again five years ago, after a prolonged hiatus, I am evolving an artistic language within the loose boundaries of painting, drawing and photography. My method of painting involves making immediate marks  and applying and removing mediums on the painted surface, exploring their mobility, and creating tensions and relationships with form, texture and colour. This method creates for me tensions between the forces of freedom and control. Different Influences enter as I work; references to natural forms, welling memories and emotional states. More recently I have also been experimenting with integrated materials such as wool, found objects and collaged papers. I have also taken a leap into making sculptural forms, which I then photograph and re-create into new pieces. 

In the summer of 2016 I was seriously injured at sea when two boats collided. Forty minutes from shore, I had to enter a dissociated state in order to cope with the trauma. On the way to hospital my condition deteriorated and I was given ketamine, which caused me to have a near-death hallucination. On waking in hospital I discovered that my eyesight has been permanently damaged due to a condition called Purtscher's Retinopathy. I am almost blind in my right eye and have patches of damage on the left. Luckily I have almost unaffected acuity in the left eye, but my ability to see is seriously affected, including problems with depth perception, seeing surface detail, reading people's expressions, and in scanning areas and finding things. 

This event was catastrophic to my life, and deeply affected my sense of self. I found unexpected moments of profound joy and bliss, and renewed feelings of love and appreciation for my family. I immediately began to think about ways in which this incredible experience could be expressed in art, and this focus was very helpful to my recovery. When I was able to begin making again, I found ways to adjust to my eyesight difficulties, although this continues to be challenging. Recovering from a traumatic experience is a fascinating, terrifying, and confusing journey, and I have a deepened sense of the mysteries of being alive at all. I am sensitised to the horrific suffering of others in extreme situations, and the gentler day to day suffering of all human beings, and my desire is to be able to create art which can help myself and others to apprehend and, perhaps, bear the pain. I have found the concepts and theories of dissociation in trauma, the liminal and duende have helped me to explore some of the very real suffering which infuses existence. 

My ultimate ambition is to create an immersive multi-media installation, exploring ways in which our lives can be punctured, thrust into liminal spaces, which are so deeply destructive and yet are places from which renewal and reformation must surely spring.

I also enjoy tutoring and leading community arts projects, sell some of my work at Maker in Inverkeithing and My Cherry Pie in Kirkcaldy, Fife, and take part in Central Fife Open Studios which happens each September.