Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2016…

Tracey Ross and myself with our work

Last week I travelled down to the Mall Galleries in London for the Private View of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2016. This was the first time I’d entered this prestigious annual exhibition and I was fortunate to have had two works selected (‘Liquid light‘ and ‘Winter light‘), both hung in the Main gallery.

The PV was very well-attended with a good buzz about the place and it was great to meet and chat with a few of the RI members, David Parfitt, Roger Dellar, Jean Noble, Rosa Sepple and Anne McCormack, who were all welcoming and enthusiastic and all of whom have work on show. The impressive exhibition fills the Main gallery and three of the side rooms, and is stunning in the diversity and quality of artworks in water-based media on show –  from more traditional representational work to contemporary abstracts.

The range of media used was interesting, varying from watercolour, gouache, acrylics and inks often combined with other materials – collage, earth(!) etc.  Frances Hatch (photo below) was awarded the Shenzhen International Watercolour Biennial Prize for her large unusual work ‘Ladram Red’ which included Otter Sandstone, Mercia Mudstone, gouache in its makeup.

Busy PV for the RI at the Mall Galleries


Main gallery, RI pv Mall Galleries


Frances Hatch with her prize-winning work ‘Ladram Red’

Visitors studying Jean Noble RI’s vibrant abstracts

I have my own favourite artworks which caught my attention, see further on in this post, but there’s something to suit everyone. The exhibition runs until 16 April, and is well worth catching. I like the way the RI exhibit members’ work alongside that of non-members rather than having them in a separate room. The selection of members’ sketchbooks on display in cases was a welcome touch too.


Liquid light, Mari French 2016.

The following images are a personal selection of the artworks that caught my eye. Most are from the Mall Galleries website, which lists all the selected artists and has a page for each of them. I’ve linked all these images to the relevant page on that site where you can also see the other work the artist has had selected. I’ve also linked artist names to their websites where I could find them (and I’m surprised how few seem to have one). All images are copyright of the individual artists.

‘Autumn Fields’ by Andrew Suddaby, watercolour and acrylic, 23x23cm. An exquisite minimalist small abstract landscape in siennas and ochres.

Autumn Fields, Andrew Suddaby


‘Evening light, Paddy’s Gole’ by Anne Kilvington, water-based media, 60x75cm. This striking work in brooding indigos was one of the prizewinners.

‘Evening light, Paddy’s Gole’, Anne Kilvington


‘Winter hillside’ by Jean Robinson RI, mixed media, 59x50cm. An arresting combination of colours and textures.

‘Winter hillside’ by Jean Robinson RI


‘Proclaim’ by Tracey Ross, acrylic, 39x39cm. This small haunting landscape really appealed to me. (I’ve used my own photo here as the one on the Mall Galleries webpage seemed a lot paler than the actual work).

‘Proclaim’ by Tracey Ross


‘Garden, Summer’ by Dominique Cameron, watercolour, 52x125cm. A lively burst of exuberant colour and mark-making.


‘Garden, Summer’ by Dominique Cameron


all’s fair…

Sheridan Russell stand at Affordable Art Fair, Battersea.

Sheridan Russell stand at Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, showing 5 of my paintings. Photo © Sheridan Russell Gallery.

March has been another busy old month, hence the delay in posting for a while. Funny how one thing can lead to another in the most unexpected ways. I sometimes wonder whether the time I spend on social media is worth it (mainly looking at/promoting my own art and work by other artists I admire). But a recent development in February made me think again. 

I was contacted via my website by Sheridan Russell, a London gallery looking for another artist for their stand at art fairs. They’d been given my name by an RI artist whose work I admired on Twitter, but who I’d never actually met. She generously recommended my work to them, so I took quite a few works down to show to them and fortunately their reaction was really positive. Consequently they took my work to the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, London. It’s the first time I’ve had work in the major art fairs and to my delight four largeish ones sold. As the gallery specialises in art fairs, my work will also be going to Art fairs in Chelsea in late april, and Hampstead and Tunbridge Wells in May. 

Strandline. Acrylic/mixed-media on canvas. 100x100cm. Sold at Battersea Affordable Art Fair 2016.

Strandline. Acrylic/mixed-media on canvas. 100x100cm. Sold at Battersea Affordable Art Fair 2016. © Mari French.

My point is, you never know where an opportunity or contact can come from. I know many artists are worried about losing control of their images if they post them online and are sceptical about social media, but I personally feel an artist needs to spread their net far and wide these days. Apart from financial and exhibiting benefits, there’s the great feeling of ‘meeting’ and networking with artists on social media, plus the generosity of many artists in sharing their techniques and advice online, whether on Facebook, in blogs, in videos on YouTube etc, or just sharing a grumble or concern about some aspect of producing art. I also love coming across and sharing amazing artwork on Twitter and on Pinterest. 

If you’d like to follow/contact me on social media here are my details:

Twitter: @MariFrench12


Pinterest: @french1180

art fair east …


Art Fair East 2015

Our stand at Art Fair East 2015

I’ve just had an exciting and enjoyable few days sharing a stand at the first Art Fair East, in the impressive setting of one of Norwich’s many ancient buildings … St Andrew’s Halls. 

It was great to meet so many friendly visitors, artists and gallery owners. Despite the glorious weather and the many charms of this beautiful medieval city, the public just kept pouring in. The opening night was particularly busy with a great buzz about it.

Art Fair East 2015

Art Fair East 2015 opening night

I shared the stand with artists Heather TamplinHelen HerbertAlan Mansfield and Gavin Morris. Although our artwork styles were very different and fitting the five of us into a rather tight space was a challenge, I think it came together well and thanks are due to the lovely Heather Tamplin for organising us all.

© Alan Mansfield

© Alan Mansfield

© Helen Herbert

© Helen Herbert

There was a great feeling of camaraderie among many of the artists, chatting and swapping contact details and tips. Amongst the many inspiring artworks I was really impressed by the landscape pieces of artists Alex McIntyre and Paul Hird in particular.

The organisers, Will Teather and Brian Korteling, both accomplished artists, did an amazing job in instigating and putting the whole fair together.

Art Fair East 2015

Art Fair East 2015


© Heather Tamplin

© Heather Tamplin


Gavin Morris's sculptural lights

Gavin Morris’s sculptural lights