Legends of Fine Art | Fran Larsen


By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Like many of the other Legends artists, Fran Larsen discovered the sun, light, and color of the West and knew she wanted to be a part of it. Nearly three decades ago, she left her Midwestern roots for a new life in Santa Fe. Today, her paintings reflect the landscape she has come to call home—the roads, chapels, and adobe houses that are so distinctively New Mexico. Larsen has noted that her works are metaphors for living; the relationships of buildings to each other, for example, reflect the close relationships of life. “Fence posts without wires, roads without lines, and unlatched, open gates are meant to allow the viewer, as they have allowed me, to wander through imaginary landscapes. They are my life experiences and the roads I have to travel.” Larsen is a member of the National Watercolor Society and the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Society.

Born: Chicago, IL, 1937.
Resides: Santa Fe, NM.
Proudest accomplishment: It doesn’t have much to do with being in a museum or winning prizes. But for many years I have taught older adults who say they can’t draw. To watch these people grow and find out who they are as artists is so satisfying.
What would you have done differently in your life? Nothing.


Advice to young artists: In college I got advice from a professor. He said, “Remember, the act of creativity is the application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” Essentially, you can’t do it if you don’t do it a lot. If art is what you want to do as your life’s work, jump in and do it as much as you can. Hunt for your own authenticity.
Motto you have lived by over the years:
Give it your best. Give it everything you got. Plunge in and go for it.
Biggest misconception about an artist’s life: That we starve and that we are bad business people.
How has your work changed since starting out? My color palette has changed. Now it is highly colored and I paint the frames as part of my works.
How has the art market changed? There were very few galleries accessible to a young artist when I first started out. That has changed.
Other interests: I’m an avid gardener. I think of gardening as just like making a painting: I never plan anything out but I have a vague concept of what I am going for.
Recent news: I’ve been named the Honorary Artist for Santa Fe’s Art Feast in February 2009.

She is represented by Manitou Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Wilde Meyer Gallery, Scottsdale and Tucson, AZ; Adagio Galleries, Palm Desert, CA; Constance Petter Gallery, Douglas, MI.

Featured in “Legends of Fine Art” in December 2008