Releasing the Soul

Yesterday I delivered three paintings to the home of an interested buyer.  These were large paintings that she and her husband had quickly identified as “the” ones at my recent SF Open Studio event.  They asked if they could see them in their home.  I agreed knowing that having the work in their home would help them make their decision.  Also, being large paintings that will become the focus of the room, I understand the need to make the right decision.

Decisions that leave you gasping, that take your breath away and open the heart for possibility.

I rented the UHaul van and met my niece at the gallery to pick up the paintings.  My work doesn’t fit in my car anymore which adds a new element to the mix.  Within an hour paintings were loaded and we headed down Geary Street out towards the ocean.  The streets were quiet the day before Thanksgiving and we arrived on time.

We brought the paintings into the newly painted living room and one by one we tested them out.  The art was to be a starting point for their redesign from old to modern.  They were getting rid of 35 years and starting fresh, beginning with the heArt.  Smart move.  Art can change the energy of a room in a snap.  It can become the focus, the conversation piece and mood enhancer of a room.

Change your environment, change your life.

One by one we put the work on the console and waited.  What happened next even jolted me.  When we put this painting up, Ascent of Icarus, I swear; the room began to glow!  The woman gasped and the room came alive with possibility, hope and expansion.  I’ve put paintings in many rooms but this was the first time I saw the soul of a room be released and touch everyone there.  What delight and a reminder of why I do what I do.

Everyday I ask “How am I contributing to the good in this world?  How can I tip the scale towards beauty?”   I’m honored to have the opportunity to change a life in this way.  I do hope they choose this one.

XOXO, Francesca


By |November 23rd, 2017|Categories: Brightlife|0 Comments

How I got into Encaustic

This is a continuation of my last post; the one that got eaten up by tech rules and glitches. I pray I have it resolved. If you are reading this in your email it worked!

If you didn’t get a chance to read last week’s post you can do so HERE, or find the title You May Find Yourself in the Recent Articles section at the bottom of the email.  (I’ll wait for you to return. We have plenty of time.)

I’ll begin where I left off with this question:

How did you get into Encaustic?

Through books. By taking them apart and putting them back together with wax, my symbolic narrative of how my world began and how I first came to inhabit it was created.

At just about this time in 2009, I signed up for a deconstructing the book workshop at Kala Institute in Berkeley. Being passionate about words, bookmaking, drawing and construction I was looking forward to a day of using my hands and being absorbed in creating. It was also during this time that my mother had her first stroke and I was transitioning back from another trip to Brazil. Change was coming from all directions. A time when all those pillars that keep you supported in life were falling apart.

I arrived at Kala, a studio where I had spent many hours printing the old fashion way with huge presses, inking rollers and acid rooms. I loved the solitary work and the physical manipulation of machines and tools to create an image. For this class we were in another room where the scent of something sweet met me at the door.

The task at hand was to take a book, pull it apart and put it back together again. Simple enough I thought. I sat down at my place at the table and noticed that everyone had the same set up: a griddle with tins of melting wax, a blank notebook, pens, markers and access to fibers, paper, paraphernalia, glitter, etc.

I turned on my iPod and tuned in. For three hours I sat in that chair, listened to music and worked. I cried, I laughed, I wrote. I tore words from my journal, punched holes, threaded pages and held it all together with wax. I had only two colors: red and yellow. I could’ve asked for more; but more was unnecessary. I didn’t need more. I needed to less.

I emptied my soul into that book. The heat from the griddle kept me warm and like the snake charmers in the souk I was captivated.

It’s customary at the end of workshops for all the participants to get together to share their work.  Out of the three books I made there was one that stood out and stood up.  As I began to delicately turn pages for the group I was startled to read what I had written exactly in the middle of the book.  It could not have been clearer.




By |November 18th, 2017|Categories: Brightlife|0 Comments

Testing the Feed

Spending this Sunday testing the feed.  I hope you don’t mind the intrusion.

Perhaps a little scenery from the Atlas Mountains.


By |November 12th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

You May Find Yourself: A Creation Story

I’ve been walking aimlessly around the studio.  It’s the low after the high of Open Studio.  After weeks of planning, prepping and coordinating to make it happen I’m lost in the studio.  The work is still up so I’m taking advantage of the emptiness to clean, sort and toss once more.  I’m determined to clean out my storage loft once and for all of my 17 years of teaching materials.  I still have student work in boxes for when I thought I’d write a book about teaching and learning.  Not going to happen.  To the dump with a prayer.

I am enjoying the time to pull out paintings that are not yet done.  I line them all up, sit on the sofa and look.  I cover corners with my hand close to my eyes to see whether shapes need to be continued or deleted.  In my head, I change colors, size and saturation.  What’s the move that will excite and bring joy?  Where’s the shift that creates a gasp?

Do you ever stop to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing?  And how are you doing it?  Do you even know what you’re doing, really?

“And you may ask yourself well, How did I get here?” – Talking Heads Once in A Lifeteime

Lull time.  When I’m not laser focused these questions haunt me.  The kaleidoscope just shifted and the colors are self re-organizing.  Old school ARTificial Intelligence.  So I thank my Open Studio visitors who ask:

“How did you get into encaustic?”

“How did I get here?”

Where is my large studio?

Through  books.  By taking them apart and putting them back together with wax, my symbolic narrative of how my world began and how I first came to inhabit it was created.

Before Encaustic (BE) days were dark and deep.

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.  Letting the days go by.  Letting the days go by.

 To be continued



PS:  There is a happy ending.



By |November 11th, 2017|Categories: Studio Wildcat|0 Comments

SF Open Studio Day One

A thank you to everyone that came for a visit today.

You showed up, had opinions and asked questions.  You were from the Bay Area, Marin, Italy, Russia, Berkeley, Peoria and Tracy.  Librarians, architects, artists, engineers and kids!  You helped me understand what you were seeing and how it moved you.  These are the conversations that make Open Studios worth it.

I’m often asked, “How do you know when a painting is done.”  I answered that in a previous blog.  Another common question is how I got in to Encaustic.  That I’ll write about soon.  (It was an accident, like so many good things.). The question that I loved today was:

“Can you remember the feelings you had when you created that painting?”


Oh Love

  The painting on the left was painted in 2014 but I can clearly remember how it began and how I felt during the process.  I had just finished a conversation with an old friend who lives far away and speaks Portuguese.  I don’t know what it is about speaking another language, but I choose words carefully.  If I don’t know the word I have to describe it.  Imagine playing Password every ten words.  Brazilian Portuguese is a delightful singing language.  It’s colorful and ends are beginnings are ends.  There are no edges in this culture.

Oh Love is that conversation.  

The pleasure of a profound friendship that fills you with a calm, loving embrace.

And here is a photo from the Majorelle Gardens in Morocco.  Similar palette.  Similar feeling.  

Majorelle Gardens

Smells operate in the same way.  Garlic and onions being sautéed in olive oil will always remind me of my mother getting dinner ready.  With ease that smell can drop me back into the house I grew up in and I’m nine years old waiting to hear “Dinner!”

Ears, nose, eyes, touch.  Built in time machines.  

How do you time travel?



PS:  Day Two is today.  Details on my website!  

Open Studio Entry

By |November 4th, 2017|Categories: Exhibitions|0 Comments
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