One of the principle themes in Frances' work is the interplay between the natural landscape and human habitation, the paradoxical relationship between Scotland's wilderness and the continuity established over the millennia by human communities. Coastal scenes are a common subject matter and this coastal landscape piece examines these themes.
This view of the beach at Aberdeen, near the artist's home, has been produced with a great degree of realism and an extraordinary attention to detail. The perspective has been well judged and provides a realistic viewpoint of the beach. What is most impressive about this piece is that amount of detail the artist has been able to realise in a screenprint. The picture is full of Frances' trademark fine detail - each stone and pebble on the beach has been outlined and coloured individually. There are plenty of little features that become clear on close examination, such as the figures walking along the beach - including a dog-walker - and the speckle effect used to create the pebbles in the middle-distance. The piece uses bold, crisp outlines that nonetheless demonstrate an organic touch. The artist has refrained from using perfectly straight outlines, even for the artificial, man-made elements such as the walls running along the beach. The colour scheme in this image is muted - brown and yellow predominate and tie to the image together. Yet there are subtle differences in the colour scheme that are not immediately apparent, such as the fact that the sea is actually coloured in two different, but similar, shades, separated by a white line of surf. Despite the muted colour and the fact the image seems to suggest poor weather, the piece does not appear particularly bleak or uninviting.
The artist finds inspiration in the nature of the Scottish wilderness and aims to convey that wildness through her art. Inspiration also comes from the people of these untamed lands and their impact on the natural surroundings.
Frances Walker was born in Kirkcaldy in 1930 and trained at the Edinburgh College of Art. She now lives in Aberdeen and on Tiree, where she lives in one of the few remaining thatched cottages. Many of her drawings and studies are made in Tiree, with larger paintings and prints being produced in Aberdeen. Having painted many of the wildest parts of Scotland, Walker's works not only evoke this wildness but also bears witness to the people who have lived in Scotland and shaped the land with their labour.
With thanks to the Rendezvous Gallery for artist information