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

“Wash of Light”, 11” x 14”, pastel
I’m thrilled to announce that I have been invited to show paintings in the new FoR Fine Art Galley that just opened in Tucson! I’ve painted in Sabino Canyon a few times and I love that landscape. I’m so happy to explore a new landscape using those beautiful desert colors! This piece is almost finished but I’ll revisit it in a couple of days with a fresh eye.

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #southwestart
#grandcanyonpaintings #ladyothelake #southwest #tucsonart #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #Arizonalife #southwestlife #francescadroll
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Waves, 9“ x 12“, pastel
I recently watched a video workshop on painting waves. So I had to give it a try with this study. I learned a new technique of spraying foam bits with a toothbrush from @lanaballot which was fun. I need to practice more waves—it’s my kind of color palette!

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #francescadroll
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“My Mother’s Teacups”, 15.5” x 11.5”, pastel on Pastelmat paper
I finished these today, adding more color than was in the actual tea cups. But the whimsical nature of the still life begged for a more informal and imaginative approach. These hand thrown pottery cups were one of my mother’s earliest purchases after immigrating to the US. They are close to 70 years old.

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #francescadroll #pleinairpainter #pleinairathome #pleinairmag
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Day 30 #stradaeasel
“Teacups”, 15.5” x 11.5”, pastel on Pastelmat paper
Day 2 of a multi day painting. I’m continuing to model the teacups and have added the background. More detailed refinement comes next. Although this is the last day of the Strada Challenge, I’ll continue to post progress shots until this is finished. Thanks for following me during the Challenge!

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #francescadroll #pleinairpainter #pleinairathome #pleinairmag
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Day 29 #stradaeasel
“Teacups”, 15.5” x 11.5”, pastel on Pastelmat paper
I’m back to the tea cups and also working a little bit larger. Once again, this is just the block in stage with attention to getting all the proportions, angles, and values correct. Much more to do…

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #francescadroll #pleinairpainter #pleinairathome #pleinairmag
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Day 18 #stradaeasel
“Sweet Peas”, 8” x 6”, pastel
A friend gifted me these happy little flowers. I hope I did them justice.

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #pleinairpainter #pleinairathome
#pleinairmag
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Day 11 #stradaeasel
Luckily it rained last night and this morning and cleared out the smoke. Today I worked in the studio, producing a fairly accurate rendering of these unusual salt and pepper shakers. I set up a strong light source from the left but there was also light coming from the right. By paying attention to how light and shadow fell on the forms, I worked to create volume in the objects.

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #pleinairpainter #pleinairathome
#pleinairmag
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