After I graduated, I was given the opportunity to work with Mike Griffiths one day a week for a year at his printmaking studio at Northington, studying all aspects of printmaking. I felt that it was my obligation after all of this study to earn money. Therefore I did a City and Guilds teaching certificate stages 1 & 2 and followed this with a Cert. Ed. I then worked with adults, teaching art at village halls organised by 6th form colleges, Totton, Brockenhurst and Lymington Community Centre. Finally at Totton College I ran the NCFE courses 1 & 2, for which I wrote the programme. Government cuts meant that further education classes were much reduced, so I set up my own classes, which I continue to run. I also run occasional printmaking workshops for various art societies.

Untitled by Francis Mason

Having read about Norman Acroyd working on plates out in the landscape, I was very interested to find a plein air printmaking course run by Oliver West at Marazion in Cornwall. Oliver West has a caravan fitted out with a printing press and inking up stations. The group goes to a defined location with the caravan. The plates have had ground applied in advance, and then are worked on out in the landscape, they can be bitten and proofs taken while out allowing further work on the plates as necessary. I have been on the course twice now, and really enjoyed the experience and the sharing of expertise amongst the participants.

As a further, more varied side to my art practice, my husband and I breed angora goats. Originally these were kept for pleasure, but later they have become a significant part of our life. Following shearing, I wash and dye our mohair fleece for textile artists. Our kid fleece is spun into a wide range of knitting yarns, which I dye and other fleece are mixed with merino wool to provide material for needlefelting, which is another practical application which I teach, and where I also make felt and small objects for sale. My art background has been a great help with creating the colours for dyeing.

I feel that I have been influenced by particular artists, including. Andrew Wyeth, whose work explores themes of memory, nostalgia and loss, and the way he used colour evokes emotions through colour use and mark making.

etching 2016 by Francis Mason

Michael Porter is a landscape artist whose work uses abstracted backgrounds, upon which he superimposes crisp imagery from the landscape. Some of the work resolves as abstract, other works are figurative, but in it all, there is a sense of objects missing. Rothko’s Seagram paintings are an influence because of the emotional content of the work and the meditative effect of the colours. Colour is also very important to me. Johannes Itten said that colour should leave a mystical a capacity for spiritual expression without being tied to objects

etching 2014 by Francis Mason

Many people associate me with the atmospheric painting of the New Forest and its ponies. I think that my paintings are usually interpreted by viewers as ‘misty pony paintings’, to me, the ponies are a metaphor for the continuity of the landscape, insofar as they are the architects of the forest, and I feel that my work is not only about its ponies and landscape, but also about the meditative spiritual response that I have in this landscape.

Norman Ackroyd, the printmaker said: “In my work I am looking for a way in, a key, something that unlocks what it is for me”, in my paintings I am trying to unlock that key for me