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

The opening of “Lake Song: A Symphony in Color” was a stellar event and we had a great turnout last night. I met so many wonderful people and they were all so kind with their comments. Thank you to all our friends, family, and art lovers who came out and supported us! A special thanks to FoR Fine Art for showcasing us in style!
Standing with Bryce who did a great job hanging the show.

#forfineart #pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

"Tangled Up in Blue”, 12” x 9”, pastel
Today is the day! “Lake Song: A Symphony in Color” is opening today at FoR Fine Art Gallery in Bigfork. Come out and visit with Gini Ogle and I from 5:30-8:30 pm this evening. We hope to see you there!
#forfineart #pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

“A Place of Reflection”, 8” x 10”, pastel

This study is from a photo taken at a friend’s home on the Swan River. The Swan is fed by the watershed of the Swan and Mission ranges of mountains and feeds into Bigfork Bay on Flathead Lake. The evening light warming this peaceful setting is typical of living in our little slice of paradise.

#forfineart #pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

A detail from “Sunset Sonata” which will debut Monday, June 7th at FoR Fine Art Gallery in Bigfork. The colors were astounding during this November evening sunset overlooking Flathead Lake. Many times it seems like the color can’t be this vibrant in real life but I painted it as I saw it. I’m so grateful that I have access to such a beautiful landscape which is often full of surprises.

#forfineart #pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

This pastel for my upcoming show “Lake Song” has already sold and the show hasn’t even opened yet! That is encouraging to say the least. Done en plein air at Wayfarers Park which is located on the northeast shore of Flathead Lake in Bigfork. It is distinctive with its beautiful rock formations and a favorite place of mine to walk. “Stepping Up at Wayfarers”, 12” x 16”, pastel

#forfineart #pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

Lake Lullaby, 30” x 12”, pastel
I just delivered 13 paintings to FoR Fine Art Gallery in Bigfork for the upcoming show “Lake Song” featuring myself and fellow painter, Gini Ogle. It has been a painting marathon over the past 7 weeks to complete all the work for the show but we did it! Please join us for the opening reception on Monday, June 7, 5:30-8:30 pm.
#forfineart #pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

Sending last night’s beautiful sunset to honor all the winners of the Benjamin Franklin Awards!! Congratulations everyone!! #IBPABens ...

So honored to be a featured artist this June at FoR Fine Art Gallery in Bigfork along with my painting partner, Gini Ogle. Our paintings celebrate Flathead Lake and the surrounding area including Glacier National Park. Please join us for the opening reception on Monday, June 7. We hope to see you there!

#forfineart #pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

One summer day in 2020, we were down at the lake with friends enjoying the water by jumping in and splashing each other. It’s nice to have friends that still like to play like little kids. After our picnic dinner, we watched the sun descend into the most spectacular sunset—we were mesmerized! This painting went to one of those friends—it made it so special that she was present for that particular sunset and that it reminded her of a memorable day enjoying Flathead Lake.

“Joyful Evening”, 7” x 14”, pastel

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

Another beautiful evening on the east shore of Flathead Lake on March 12, 2021. That sparkle of light reflecting off the wavelets creates a magical moment when you can feel the cool, refreshing wash of water over your feet. This study was done in preparation for a larger version which is on my easel now.

“Study for Lake Sparkle 2”, 15” x 6”, pastel

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast #artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

I took this photo after our last winter storm as the snow was melting away. The location is here in Bigfork and many of the old farms are disappearing. I guess the land isn’t but the old structures are coming down as the land is purchased and developed. Old barns always make me think “If those walls could talk...”

“Last Snow”, 6” x 8”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes medium gray, assorted brands of pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene #pleinairpainter
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

We went to Yellowstone Park a few years ago in the early fall. This landscape is from one of the many photos we took over several days. The idea with this small study was an exercise in maintaining a high key color palette with just a touch of darks. High key refers to a higher (lighter) value range overall.

This is the last painting for a 21-day challenge sponsored by Pastel Society of the West Coast. Now I’ll be going back to larger paintings using the information learned from all these small studies.

Thanks to the PSWC for all the support and encouragement they provide and for the many kind members in the group who are positive forces. The challenge was fun and once again a valuable experience!

“Yellowstone Aspens”, 6” x 8”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes sand, assorted brands of pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

This is painted from a photo taken this past Christmas Eve near Glacier National Park. I’ve always wanted to spend the holiday there, and being a Covid year, the opportunity presented itself. We packed a lunch and headed north enjoying the sunny weather. We stopped just before the park as the low sun was creating some beautiful shadow patterns on the snow. After shooting photos, we headed into the park to have our late lunch overlooking McDonald Lake. It was a calm, peaceful day perfect for inner reflection and gratitude for all our blessings.

“Snowy Grasses,” 6” x 8”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes sand, assorted pastel brands

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

I’ve been exploring this bowl of pears. The first attempt went into the round file but this one is approaching my vision with the color palette. I painted this with fairly sharp edges and then I went back in and deconstructed the background pears by lightly running a pastel over the surface of the painting to blur the edges.

“Bowl of Pears”, 6” x 9”, pastel
Colourfix sand, assorted brands of pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

Winter in Montana can be fairly monochromatic but if you look closely, there are muted reds and purples as well as the ever present dark greens of the pines. This painting was done from a photo of the north shore area of Flathead Lake. A wonderful place to walk and eagle watch during the winter.

‘Winter Tree”, 6” x 9”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes denim blue, assorted brands of pastels.

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

Today is another produce day as I had very limited time to paint once again. I went with tomatoes this time. Did you know that tomatoes were considered poisonous by most Americans until the mid-19th century? Thankfully, we got past that because how in the world would we make marinara sauce otherwise!

“Tomatoes”, 6” x 8”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes denim blue, assorted brands of pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

I spent the day in town today taking care of errands and grocery shopping. I got home and by the time my husband and I got the groceries put away and it was 7 pm. So I set an apple on the table and had a very quick, fun little exploration with color. This was inspired by an online workshop I took from Marla Baggetta. Now for some dinner!

“Happy Apples”, 4.5” x 12”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes gray, assorted pastel brands.

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

I spent the day cleaning my studio and putting away over 25 studies (and chucking a few more) that I’ve done in the past few months in preparation to start another round of work. Since time was limited, I did this quick 20-minute study of the storm clouds over the lake. There was a beautiful glow coming from behind an opening in the clouds which caught my eye.

Clouds, 8” x 6”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes sand, assorted pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

Excited to share the news that my painting, Lake Sparkle, sold yesterday at FoR Fine Art, the new gallery who is representing me in Bigfork! This is my second sale in association with the gallery...it looks like we are a good fit. Thank you to all the wonderful collectors out there supporting the arts!

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll
...

I chose the subject for my daily painting from a photo of the Spotted Bear area up the south fork of the Flathead River. I’ve often wanted to tackle this photo and I think I even painted it once before. However this time, I zoomed in on the image and removed some of the foreground. I’m liking it but not sure if I have achieved color harmony. I may try it again tomorrow with a different color palette. Stay tuned!

“Spotted Bear Country”, 6” x 8”, pastel
Carson Mi-Tientes salmon, assorted pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

Last evening turned out to be fairly warm and I took a walk down to the lake hauling my plein air backpack... just in case. With the water level of Flathead Lake down in preparation to receive the spring melt, I have my pick of boulders sticking out of the water to paint. During the summer and fall months, I don’t have that opportunity. So I took advantage of the low light sparkling on the water and through the rocks and set up my easel. This morning, I wiped the whole painting off my board and started over. Although I love painting onsite, sometimes the glare on the water makes it difficult for me to see the scene as it is and I get the values and colors wrong. It looks fine onsite until I get it in my studio, then it looks completely wrong. Yesterday, I had some landmasses in the extreme background but today, I felt the painting should be about the water and seeing through it. No background needed.

“Loving Flathead Lake 4”, 6” x 8”, pastel
Multimedia Pastelboard, sand, assorted pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

Once again, my idea for my daily painting was abandoned once I looked out the window and saw these dramatic storm clouds across the lake. Spring in big sky country produces some amazing skyscapes and is constantly changing. I captured the cloud formation with a photo and painted from it while looking out the window for color and values.

“Spring Storm”, 8” x 8”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tiente, salmon, assorted pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

Glacier is one of my favorite places to paint. This study is from a photo I took on a beautiful late spring day near Many Glacier. I don’t know for sure what those blue flowers were—my best guess is blue flax. We were on our way back to the campground after a long hike and I was too tired to climb up the mountainside and see for sure. I was looking forward to getting back to camp and soaking my tired feet in cold stream water.

“Spring in Glacier,” 12” x 9”, pastel
UArt 400 grit sand, assorted pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

When we’re traveling and there is some magic light happening, my husband often takes the wheel so that I can stick my camera out the window and photograph the passing landscape. This painting is from one of those drive-by captures near the bison range in Moiese.

“In Passing”, 6” x 8”, pastel
Canson Mi-Tientes denim blue, assorted pastels

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

When the low winter sun streams through the forest, it can take a nondescript scene and turn it magical. Painted from a photo I took recently on a winter afternoon hike.

“Afternoon Hike”, 6” x 8”, pastel

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...

Today was the last day of my workshop with Terri Ford. We finished the paintings that we started the first and second days. I worked after class each day so I had already completed my paintings. I started a new one today and chose another tree scene as I wanted to get Terri’s feedback in how I handled the light in the shade and full sun. Terri gave us all valuable suggestions in her kind and gentle manner. So grateful to have had this opportunity to study with Terri!

“Old Tree”, 9” x 12”, pastel

#pastelpainter #pastelpainting #pastel_society_of_west_coast
#artforsalebyartists #montanaartscene
#flatheadlakemontana #ladyothelake #glaciernps #bigforkmontana #for.fineart #montanalife #glaciernationlpark #glacierconservancy #francescadroll #pswc21n21
...