Mari French RI


Mari French is an acclaimed abstract artist known for her evocative and expressive artworks in acrylics and mixed media. Born in Manchester in 1957, French studied Art and Design as a mature student before transitioning to a successful career in graphic design. Her artistic journey took a transformative turn when she moved to the Isle of Skye, where she lived and worked for 15 years, developing her distinctive style in abstract landscapes.

Drawn particularly to the liminal landscapes of coast, saltmarsh, and moorland, French captures the essence of these environments through intricate layering and dynamic mark-making techniques. Her process involves layering and wiping back media, exposing underlying passages, and incorporating lively marks, resulting in a rich surface history. Combining location sketching with her intuitive response to place, her artworks resonate with her experience of light and weather. Her abstract florals also reflect this approach, with coherence achieved through a limited palette and her graphic design background, evident in effective colour combinations, strong compositions, and use of typography.

 French's work has garnered significant recognition, being annually selected and exhibited with the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) at the Mall Galleries, London, since 2016. In 2022, she was elected an RI member. Her work has also been featured in the Royal Watercolour Society's 'Contemporary Watercolours' at Bankside Gallery in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, she was a finalist in Artist & Illustrator Magazine’s ‘Artist of the Year’ in 2016 and the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2014, both held at the Mall Galleries.

Now residing in Norfolk, French works from her studio on a former 1930s RAF airbase. Her art has been exhibited widely in both group and solo shows, featured in several art publications, and is held in private collections worldwide.