Mack drawn to art from young age


Geraldton Guardian - - The Sauce - Francesca Mann

From a young age, Fran Mack knew she wanted to be an artist.

When other kids wanted toys, all Mack wanted was art sup­plies, and she would spend her days doo­dling in her text­books.

Mack’s blos­som­ing artis­tic tal­ents were put to the test when she was eight years old and a nun at her board­ing school taught her how to paint with oils.

“The first thing we painted was roses on a satin cover, and we also painted a scene on a glass door,” she said.

“Eight-year-old kids didn’t learn that sort of stuff, it was great.

“The one thing it taught me was pa­tience, you can’t do things like that in a hurry.”

Orig­i­nally from Carnar­von, the fam­ily moved to Perth for Mack to at­tend high school.

Al­though the bur­geon­ing artist was sup­posed to re­ceive pri­vate art les­sons, Mack ended up just sit­ting in on the se­nior girls’ art classes.

Find­ing the classes “not very ex­cit­ing”, Mack con­tin­ued draw­ing and was par­tic­u­larly fond of doo­dling pic­tures of the nuns.

But when Mack was 14 she was ex­pelled, which at first seemed like a bless­ing.

“The nuns got sick of me draw­ing all over ev­ery­thing so they re­moved me from the school,” the 76-year-old said.

“I thought that was great as I wanted to go to the tech school and learn to be a proper artist.

“They enrolled me and it was so ex­cit­ing, but then they found out I lived in Cottes­loe and would have to go to the Fre­man­tle Tech.

“In those days Fre­man­tle was a very seedy, dan­ger­ous place and my mother wouldn’t let me go there so that was the end of my stud­ies.”

As Mack ven­tured into the work­ing world, art was forced on to the back-burner.

When Mack was 18 she mar­ried Peter and the pair moved to Ger­ald­ton in 1962.

With her hus­band work­ing as a teacher and with three chil­dren to raise, Mack spent her spare time paint­ing, con­stantly in­spired by the rich en­vi­ron­ment around her. “We started go­ing out to the Pil­bara and Murchi­son and the colours of the red rocks re­ally in­spired me,” she said.

“I did a lot of rock paint­ings over the years but now I just get in­spired and off I go.”

Spe­cial­is­ing in acrylics, Mack’s art­works are a “lit­tle bit flam­boy­ant”, she says, filled to the brim with vi­brant colours.

Since re­tir­ing the grand­mother of four has had the time to pick up her paint­brush more and ex­plore her cre­ativ­ity.

“Art is just a part of me, it al­ways has been,” she said.

“I was born as this child that had to draw and paint on ev­ery­thing, it’s just al­ways made me happy.”

As Mack nears her 77th birth­day she has de­cided it is time to start step­ping away from the easel and re­turn to one of her main pas­sions — car­toon­ing.

Mack has dab­bled in car­toon­ing over the years, il­lus­trat­ing books writ­ten by her and Peter and draw­ing cards and posters for friends, but the artist said she would love to de­velop her skills fur­ther.

“It’s al­ways on my mind, I’ve got a gift for it,” she said.

“I want to do some­thing with it, so I might do a book.

“I just love do­ing it, it’s sort of a happy thing to do.”

Pic­ture: Francesca Mann

Fran Mack's vivid art­works are over­flow­ing with beau­ti­ful, bright colours that cap­ture at­ten­tion.

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