Realist Painter  


Artist's Statement                            

Wherever I go my eyes search for things to paint, and although I seem to seek simplicity in my life and surroundings, I am drawn to complexity of surface in my subjects.

Many are parts of old buildings or machinery. I love the wonderful textures and subtle color variations I see on their surfaces. Although I work in a very detailed and realistic style, when I begin a painting, I first design the composition, establishing the relationship of the large shapes in the picture plane. Then I fill in those areas with all the tiny abstract shapes and colors I use to simulate texture.

I have nothing profound to say about my work. The simple fact is that I paint because I am unhappy when I don’t. It fills some need that I have had since childhood, and although at various times over the years I have tried to work in a totally non-representational way, I find that I do not enjoy it. I am a straightforward sort of person, and that is the kind of art I create.



As a child I loved to draw and would spend hours with my school pencil, colored pencils, crayons, typing paper, and construction paper, the only art supplies available to me. A freshman year at college brought the standard drawing and design courses with all sorts of new media and techniques. Then I married and worked while my husband attended college and dental school. I did attend some night art classes at the University of Washington . However, I had more opportunities to look at art in galleries and museums than I had to create it.

Next came mothering and raising three children, a life which allowed creative activities but only occasionally, some painting. Widowed with the three children, I commuted to college and earned a BFA in Art Education after several years. I supported the family by teaching public school art for a while and was able to become more active in the local art community where I lived. A move and another job allowed more painting time, and I just kept on painting whenever I could. Stopping and starting is certainly not the way to build a really great art career. Each stop would mean almost starting over from scratch. The funny thing was, I just had to keep at it, I never even considered not trying to paint and always hoped that some day I could really get at it! It has only been in the last several years that I have been able to spend more time doing the art work I truly enjoy.

My subject matter and style remain representational, but I like working with different materials. Lately I have enjoyed painting with watercolors on gessoed wood panels or illustration board. I just like the way it looks!


Contact Fran White Shurtleff at



architecture gallery

close-ups gallery

landscapes gallery