Artist Mari French in her studio
Artist Mari French in her studio
Standing before a fresh support, a brush loaded with paint or ink, ready to execute the first bold gestures is incredibly exciting and liberating. While working I pace back and forth in front of the easel, often listening to music, rarely standing still. It’s a whole body experience and I work pretty fast in those early stages.

I’m an abstract mixed media artist inspired by the liminal landscapes of coastline, salt marsh and moorland; I also have a passion for contemporary florals. My work reflects my experience of landscape through the layering and eroding of media and the use of energetic mark making, creating a rich surface history with an emphasis on space and light. A limited palette gives harmony and coherence, resulting in work that stands alone but still owes a debt to its subject. My design background often emerges in my artworks through effective colour combinations, strong composition and use of typography.

I sketch on location to fix impressions of a place in my mind, but rather than referring to my sketches/photographs once back at the studio, I rely on those impressions to emerge intuitively in the work and I take advantage of accidental effects and imagery as they arise.

I was born and grew up in Manchester. Always interested in art, I studied Art and Design at Stockport College as a mature student, followed by a 20 year career in graphic design. In 1995 I moved to the Isle of Skye where I lived for 15 years developing and exhibiting increasingly abstract landscapes. I now live not far from the glorious North Norfolk coastline, working as a full-time artist, from my studio on a former 1930s RAF airbase.

I have exhibited widely in both group and solo shows. My work has been annually selected for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) at the Mall Galleries, London, since 2016, and in 2022 I was elected an RI member. I was a finalist in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2014, and a finalist in Artist & Illustrator Magazine ‘Artist of the Year’ 2016, both at the Mall Galleries. My work is held in private collections worldwide.


Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Mall Galleries, 2016-2023.
Spring Gallery, Cheltenham, ‘Wintertide’ with Little Buckland Gallery, 2023
The Bircham Gallery, Holt, North Norfolk, ‘New Faces’ and Summer Exhibition, 2023.
Little Buckland Gallery, Broadway, Worcestershire, group exhibitions, 2021-2023.
Gallery East, Woodbridge, Suffolk, duo & group exhibitions, 2019-2022.
Babylon Arts, Ely, Cambridgeshire, ‘No Frost at Night’, commissioned group exhibition, 2021.
Royal Watercolour Society, Contemporary Watercolours, Bankside Gallery, 2018/2019.
Grapevine Contemporary, Burnham Market, Norfolk, solo & group exhibitions, 2009-2019.
Gallery Different, London, group exhibition (with Sheridan Russell), 2018/2022.
Sheridan Russell Gallery, Fresh and Affordable Art Fairs, 2014-2017.
Cricket Fine Art, Summer exhibition, Chelsea, London, 2017.
Thompsons Gallery, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, mixed exhibitions, 2013-2017.
Artists & Illustrators Artist of the Year, Finalist, Mall Galleries, 2016.
Cley Contemporary 16, North Norfolk Exhibition Project, 2016.
The Sutton Gallery, Edinburgh, group exhibition, 2015.
Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition, finalist, Mall Galleries, 2014.
Highgate Contemporary, London, 'Inside Out', joint exhibition, 2012.
Greyfriars Art Space, King’s Lynn, solo exhibitions, 2012-2014.
Inchmore Gallery, Inverness, solo & group exhibitions, 2006/2007.
An Tuireann Art Gallery, Isle of Skye, group exhibitions, 2005/2006.


EAVA zine ‘Pilgrimages’, @eavazine, June 2021.
Artists and Illustrators magazine, Fresh Paint feature, September 2020.
‘The Woven Tale Press' Literature & Fine Art Magazine, featured artist, October, 2019.
'Painting clouds and skies in oils', guest artist, Mo Teeuw, Crowood Press 2017.
The Artist Magazine, featured artist, July 2016.
'Blyth Spirit', Alan Marshall, Mascot Media 2014.
KL magazine, featured artist, 2014.
'How artists see East Anglian Places', Green Pebble 2010.