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FRANCESCA DROLL, fine artist

The creative spirit is inspired by that which surrounds it. As a plein air painter, that is most especially true for me and northwest Montana. I love this landscape—the rugged mountains, the pristine lakes, and the lush farmlands. I feel connected to it on a deep, spiritual level. I come from a lineage of mountain people, both my parents immigrated from Switzerland. You could say mountains are in my blood.

With that deep connection to the land, I’m endlessly inspired to discover and become familiar with the variations and nuances of this landscape. Pastels are my chosen medium. They allow me the ability to use bold flourishing strokes as well as subtle blending to convey mood and motion in the composition. Pastels encourage my exploration of vibrant and colorful expression.

Plein air painting informs my work with an accurate view of the natural world, much more so than painting from photographs. That’s why I put up with the weather, the bugs, the wind, and the inconvenience while painting on location. The sense of bliss I feel in viewing a scene bathed in light and shadow is what I hope to convey to the viewer. If a work of art can foster connectivity with the viewer, it becomes more than art, it becomes an asset to their quality of life.

My background includes over 30 years as a graphic designer running an intimate design studio, Abacus Graphics, LLC, with my husband and partner, John R. Webster. We are located in Bigfork on the stunning shoreline of Flathead Lake.

Francesca’s Instagram Feed

“A Christmas Story” 8” x 8”, pastel. Tried a new subject this season and had fun with it. Will have to do more of this next year. #montana #pleinair #pleinairathome #pleinairmag #pastelpainting #pleinairpastel #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsale #fineart #montanaartscene
#christmasart #pleinairpainter #ladyothelake
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Sleeping Beauties, 12” x 9”, pastel
My fourth painting for “A Timeless Legacy” exhibit which begins today, August 8, at the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, Montana. Aspens are wonderful trees to paint anytime of year. In the spring and summer their leaves twinkle and whisper in the wind. In the winter, their bark reflects a spectrum of colorful light and I think of them as sleeping beauties. I photographed this stand up the North Fork and painted them in the studio.
#hockadaymuseum #pastelpainting #glaciernationalpark #montana #glacierpaintings #westernart #glacierlove #artchisel #visitmontana #naturelovers #montanalove #nationalparks #paintingparks #francescadroll #ladyothelake
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Autumn’s Last Call, 12" x 12”, pastel
My 3rd painting for “A Timeless Legacy” exhibit which begins on August 8 at the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, Montana. McDonald Creek, in Glacier National Park, is always a favorite painting spot with the mountains surrounding it and the glacial water flowing over the colorful rocks. We had been plein air painting nearby and then the rain came. We had to pack it up but not before snapping a few more photos at this spot. I knew that it would be great fun to play with this colorful fall scene in my studio.
#hockadaymuseum #pastelpainting #glaciernationalpark #montana #glacierpaintings #westernart #glacierlove #artchisel #visitmontana #naturelovers #montanalove #nationalparks #paintingparks #francescadroll #ladyothelake
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Into the Cirque, 20” x 15”, pastel
Another painting for “A Timeless Legacy” exhibit which is coming up on August 8 at the Hockaday Museum of Art. One of my favorite trails in Glacier National Park is the Iceberg Lake Trail. Hiking through beautiful landscapes of open mountain views and shaded forests, the final approach to the cirque is one of dotted lakes and lush meadows. If you’re lucky you may get a glimpse of grizzlies from a safe distance. In the bowl of the cirque, Iceberg Lake is aptly named as it always has icebergs floating in it even at the height of summer. This is the view of the towering cirque just a short distance before Iceberg Lake.
#hockadaymuseum #pastelpainting #glaciernationalpark #montana #glacierpaintings #westernart #glacierlove #artchisel #visitmontana #naturelovers #montanalove #nationalparks #paintingparks #francescadroll #ladyothelake
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Hockaday Museum of Art is a cultural gem in the heart of Kalispell. I’m honored to participate with these accomplished artists of Glacier National Park in “A Timeless Legacy” exhibit. August 8 - October 31, 2020. Inviting all those in the area to stop in and enjoy the exhibit. #hockadaymuseum #montana #kalispell #pacificnorthwest #painting #paintinglandscapes #pastelpainting #artexhibit #ladyothelake #francescadroll #pastelsocietyofthewestcoast #pleinair ...

“A Tranquil Moment”, pastel, 9” x 12”. This landscape went home with a collector to Olympia, WA. Thank you to all those who support the arts. The Swan River flows into Bigfork Bay which is in the northeast corner of Flathead Lake. Before it hits the rapids called “The Wild Mile,” it is mostly a tranquil river flowing lazily through farmland in the summer time. Winter is another story completely. I was inspired to paint the colorful reflections in this section of the Swan River from the deck of “The Nest,” a local event venue. It was a fairly warm spring day and we plein air painters took advantage of it.

#pastelpainting #pleinairpainting #landscapepainting #montana #riverart #flatheadvalley #westernart
#swanriver #artchisel #plein_air_life #carpediem #francescadroll #ladyothelake
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So grateful to those wonderful people who collect art. This painting “Glacier Goes Golden” found its new home in Whitefish. 16” x 20”, pastel. #pastelpainting #glaciernationalpark #montana #glacierpaintings #artchisel #westernart # glacierlove #visitmontana #naturelovers #montanalove #nationalparks #paintingparks #francescadroll #ladyothelake ...

“Whistling Grasses”, 14.5” x 30”, pastel
My signature painting for the Hockaday Museum of Art’s “A Timeless Legacy” exhibit. Exhibit begins August 8 with a reception and hopefully we’ll all be able to gather. If not, there will be an online reception. Exhibit runs through October 31, 2020. Please visit Hockaday Museum of Art’s website for more information.
Driving back to our cabin after a day of plein air in Glacier National Park, we were heading out of St. Mary’s when this approaching storm came over the mountains. It was so dramatic that I asked my friend to pull over and let me take some photos. I stepped out of the car and was almost blown over by the wind. I crouched down to get the swaying grasses in the foreground. The wind was whipping and whistling in my ears as I took a few photos and jumped back in the car just as raindrops started to fall. The storm chased us all the way to Duck Lake where we were staying for the night. I painted a small study of this scene the next day while the image was still fresh in my mind.
#hockadaymuseum #pastelpainting #glaciernationalpark #montana #glacierpaintings #westernart #glacierlove #artchisel #visitmontana #naturelovers #montanalove #nationalparks #paintingparks #francescadroll #ladyothelake
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“Yonder Come Day,” 13” x 8”. This pastel went home with a collector this week. The scene is from an early morning in Glacier National Park. My plein air group was on the hunt for a suitable painting spot. We walked the trails around Sun Point and as we were walking back to the car, I turned around and shot this photo of the light coming over the mountains and starting to illuminate the trail. It stuck with me for a couple of years before I hunted down the photo and painted it. #glaciernationalpark #montana #montanaart #pastelpainting #landscapepainting #francescadroll #ladyothelake #pastelsocietyofthewestcoast #northwestpastelsociety #artchisel ...

Happy birthday to my kind, generous, and loving brother! Looking forward to many more wonderful times together. We love you! (Yes, those are Padro masterpieces that I’m wearing!) ...

“A Perfect Day on the Highline”, 24” x 18”, pastel. This painting found a new home in Missoula at Garden City Granite. It was a beautiful opening day at Glacier National Park a few years ago. We jumped in the car and headed up to Logan Pass to hike the Highline Trail. It’s a very scary hike especially for one such as myself who is deathly afraid of heights but I was determined to do it—and I did!! I painted this from a photograph and my memory of that amazing day. #pastelpaintings #pastelpainter #glaciernationalpark #reynoldsmountain #francescadroll #ladyothelake #montana #mountainpaintimgs #pacificnorthwest ...

Old Cherry Orchard, 9“ x 12“, pastel. I went down to Finley Point last weekend to paint the budding cherry trees. A sure sign that spring is here in the Flathead! #pleinairathome #cherryblossom #cherryseason #flatheadlake #flatheadvalley #flatheadvalleymontana #bigforkmontana @pleinairmag #pastelsocietyofthewestcoast #pastelpainting #pleinairpainting #pastelpleinair #pleinairpastel ...

John and I taking a selfie with our new camera last weekend. Happy birthday to the love of my life! Looking forward to more good times together! #francescadroll #buffalojohn #johnrwebster ...

“Abandoned” 9”x12” pastel. Not exactly in my backyard but in the lot next door. I decided to try something a little different. This vintage Rollohome has only a fox family as residents and bears and deer for visitors. #pleinairathome #vintage #vintagehome #pastelpainting #pastelsocietyofthewestcoast #flatheadlake #bigforkmontana @pleinairmag ...

Thursday was our first 60-degree day in the Flathead. I couldn’t resist going out to find a secluded plein air spot. Others had the same idea and our first destination was way too crowded given the current virus recommendations. Luckily Holt Dr was close by and we almost had it to ourselves. I took a little artist license with some of the elements but the sun light was gorgeous and so wonderfully warm. “Wonderfully Warm” 9” x 12”, pastel on Multimedia Pastel Board #pleinairathome #pleinairpainting #pleinairmag #flatheadlake #montana #flatheadpainter #ladyothelake #carpediem #landscapepainting #pastelsocietyofthewestcoast #pastelpainting #pastelpaintings #glaciernationalpark ...

A quick study this evening of the sunset sky. It was gray and overcast for most of the day and cleared up just in time for sunset. I had to move really fast to capture the color. 12” x 9” pastel on multimedia pastel board. #montana #francescadroll #pastelpainting #pleinairathome
@pleinairmag
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It was a windy day on Flathead Lake when I painted this over the weekend. I’m loving the exploration of light and shadow in the rocks—will have to do more. Pastel, 9” x 12” on Multimedia Pastel Board. #flatheadlake #flatheadpainter #montana #montanalife #pastelpainting #pastelpleinair #pleinairpainting #pleinairpainter #pleinairartist #lakepainting ...

Wonderful news! My pastel painting “Rock ‘n’ Flow 3” (18” x 24”) was juried into the Pastel Society of the West Coast’s Online Members Show! Such an honor. Thank you to the juror and PSWC! You can view the show beginning March 1 at pswc.ws. #pswc #pastelpainting #water #waterpaintings #montana #montanapainter #montanapaintings ...

Had a wonderful day of painting yesterday near Zion. What a different landscape than I’m used to painting. I did a couple of small paintings in the morning to warm up and figure out the color palette. This needs a little more work in the studio. “Overlook Toward Zion” pastel, 10” x 16”. #pastelpainting #pleinair #pleinairartist #pleinairpainting #zionnationalpark #carpediem #lovelife #travelpainting #travelsouthwest ...

A family reunion of the most excellent kind honoring my aunt and uncle’s 60th wedding anniversary. We even had cousins from Switzerland joining us. It was a wonderful 4 days together! #carpediem #lovefamily ...

“Heading Home”, 12” x 24”, pastel. This painting went home with a collector. This landscape was inspired by the farmland in Creston, specifically at Woody’s corner on Hwy 35. I took the photo as I was ‘heading home’ from my Artist-Wilderness-Connection adventure! #pastelpainting #montana #flatheadliving #flatheadvalley #landscapepainting #glaciernationalpark ...