Artist at easel 2017The inspiration for Mari French’s energetic, yet intimate artworks range from the wild expanse of the Norfolk saltmarsh coast, or the dramatic ruins of a Cornish tin mine, to the light-filled stretches of the Venetian lagoon.

Her artworks are a culmination of experimentation with a variety of media: paint, oil pastel, ink, etc – an unpredictable and exciting process resulting in a distillation of her experience and a loose, atmospheric evocation of place.

Mari French was born in Manchester and studied at Stockport College of Art and Design in the 1980s. Her subsequent career as a graphic designer led her to relocate to the Isle of Skye in 1995, where she lived and worked as a graphic designer and artist until 2009. Now in Norfolk, she works full-time as a contemporary mixed-media artist. French was a selected artist in the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours 2016 at the Mall Galleries, finalist in Artist & Illustrator Magazine’s ‘Artist of the Year’ 2016 and finalist in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014. She exhibits throughout the UK and her work is held in national and international private collections. She was recently elected as a Provisional member of the IEA (Institute of East Anglian Artists).

Art Fair Edinburgh, represented by Sheridan Russell Gallery, 2016.
Cley Contemporary 16, Cley-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk, 2016
Salt & Sand, Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, Norfolk (solo) 2016
Selected artist, Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, Mall Galleries, 2016
Finalist, Artists & Illustrators Artist of the Year, Mall Galleries, London, 2016
Thompsons Gallery, Aldeburgh, Mixed shows, 2014-2016
Affordable Art Fair: Battersea/Chelsea/Hampstead, with
Sheridan Russell Gallery, 2016
PAiNT, The Undercroft, Norwich, Norfolk, 2015
The Sutton Gallery, Edinburgh, 2015
Art Fair East, Norwich, 2015
Grapevine Gallery, Burnham Market, Norfolk (solo), 2013
Greyfriars Art Space, King’s Lynn (solo), 2013-2014
Highgate Contemporary Art, London (two artist show), 2012
Assembly House, Norwich (solo), 2011
Halesworth Gallery, Suffolk, 2011
Lime Tree Gallery, Fort William, 2008
Inchmore Gallery, Inverness (solo), 2007
An Tuireann Arts Centre, Isle of Skye, 2007

Residency, Stiwdio Maelor, Corris, Wales. 2015
Residency, Brisons Veor Trust, Cape Cornwall. 2014/17
1st prize, Painting & Print Award, An Tuireann Gallery, Skye. 2004/2007

10 thoughts on “about…

    • I have Nigel, and no it’s not a daft question 😉
      my life as a serious artist took off when I lived on Skye, so much inspiration, you can imagine!
      the move to Norfolk was challenging from the inspiration side of things. though we both love living here, it’s taken a couple of years to find my new passion – the saltmarsh coast; it has a bleak beauty and grandeur all of its own. Norfolk is also well placed for exploring other areas of UK and Europe, so I can see upcoming bodies of work inspired by the North York Moors and Venice.

      • Hello Mari…

        Thanks I knew you had lots of new work from your wonderful paintings on this blog but its that exact transition I was wondering about.

        When I moved to Ireland I had to change a lot of my own visual interests and this took time like yourself. I love your Salt march images Mari and I can see how you can and will dig very deep into these areas as a source for your work.

        I am just starting to look at the peat bogs as I love the work of this artist http://www.pastelsocietyofireland.org/#/sam-mateer/4568792497

        I may even get painting and drawing again!

        Thank you Mari


        • I can imagine the peat bogs of Ireland would be an interesting source of inspiration, Neil. Those pastel images remind me very much of parts of Skye and the Uists. My mum was from Northern Ireland, though her family originated in Co Clare, so you never know, I may end up painting over there one day 🙂
          Thanks for the interesting feedback and chat!

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