Mack drawn to art from young age
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
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.”
Fran Mack's vivid artworks are overflowing with beautiful, bright colours that capture attention.