Frances Mann went to Camberwell Art School to do a Printed Textiles B.A. (she could not have imagined being good enough for Fine Art) but with painting as her subsidiary subject she soon found that that was what she really wanted to do. The emphasis on drawing and painting from life, life in the wider sense, was thrilling. That painting what you saw was not only not frowned on, but encouraged, that the great artists of the past were still relevant: and all this not taught in a academic way, was inspiring. And so she has just carried on – marrying a painter who shares these ideas and whom now that his sight has gone, she helps as a studio assistant as he carries on painting too. It doesn't get easier, each drawing feels as hard or harder than the first attempts on Foundation. The world is always fresh, infinite and ungraspable.
One of the definitions of drawing that I like is 'Painting with limited means' (Matisse) I also like 'where you put it' i.e. it is the spatial element in art. One can talk about the 'drawing' in a painting. So when I paint, and that's mostly from life and in the landscape, the drawing is to do with 'what colour where?' What is the best way to communicate what it is like to be where I am, seeing what I see? Drawing is part of everyday life. I always try to have a sketchbook or scraps of paper with me to catch things that are beautiful or interesting that I don't want to pass by, unmarked. In my teaching I hope to help students both to become more aware of their subject and their response to it.