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Holden’s Francis Warner Finds Deeper Messages in Art

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Woods Goolie: A Pen and Ink by Francis Warner

The art of Holden's Francis Warner conjures what is often so difficult for an artist to portray: paintings with subjects and meanings that go far deeper than the shallow brush strokes on a canvas.

"I have many diverse interests that act as stimuli for the creation of art. Conveying the beauty of the natural environment or commenting on a philosophical or theological subject is often timely subject matter, depending on what I may be experiencing in life at that moment," says the artist.

With a diverse set of "stimuli" comes a diverse set of mediums, not simply sticking to one type of artistic expression to convey his interests.

"I employ a number of different mediums when creating art. My themes of interest vary and they can often direct the medium of choice. Each medium and theme has its’ own unique characteristics and challenges," he says.

Some of these different mediums include oils, acrylics, graphite, charcoal, watercolor, pen and ink, colored pencil, gouache, egg tempera, and silver point.

An overview of his work shows an array of subjects, many of which center around beautiful representations of powerful religious and spiritual symbols. Other works present humanoid figures that seem meaningful not in their stunning beauty but in their apparent grotesqueness. Others are portraits of both animals and people, brought to life with colors that pop off the canvas. All his works have one thing in common: they are certainly attention grabbers.

"I would hope viewers would take the time to invest themselves in an in-depth exploration of a particular piece. I find the attention span of most people today is very brief because of the speed and constant barrage of visual imagery we are exposed to daily. Each of my creations often has a subliminal message, not often captured by the casual viewer. Each person will experience something completely different from another person," says Warner.

No matter what medium or subject he chooses, creating art is a necessity for him. It works as mental therapy or even a compulsory activity, but he reminds us this does not mean it's an escape from reality. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

"This is not an escape from reality, but often an immersion into the profound depths of reality. The fantastic imagery is one of my favorite explorations where something completely unreal can be made visually believable to the viewer."

Warner currently works out of studios in both Holden and Hudson. He is also a visual arts teacher in the Worcester Public School system and a member of Arts Worcester.

For Warner, teaching and exposing the general public to visual art has become just as important as creating it himself, for he knows the powerful affect it can have on so many. He encourages schools to invest in the arts and praises those who already do.

"As a teacher of art, I hope to convey my passion to my students. Massachusetts has always been a strong supporter of the arts in education. Studies have shown that schools with strong arts programs do better overall in academics as well as on standardized testing," he says. "Teaching students critical visual techniques to improve understanding of subject matter is imperative to me. Students should be exposed to how visual media is a very personal expression, and at the same time one that can have universal appeal and effect."

Warner has lived in Central Mass his entire life and is a graduate of the school of the Worcester Art Museum. Therefore, he knows full well the vibrancy surrounding the artistic culture in the area.

As far as his personal artistic ambitions go, they are modest.

"As an artist, I plan to continue creating art and hope that in the future consumers will be willing to invest in my work."

For more information on Francis Warner and view more of his work, visit his website.


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