In the studio
Watercolours are often used more like oils, with layering and additional charcoal, pastel, gouache and acrylic, revealing leanings towards Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism. Living each piece as it takes shape, Turton recreates heavy and theatrical architectural Italian cityscapes, using a limited palette of black, gold, red, white and brown. Details fluctuate between ornate and unfinished, and the rare inclusion of figures sees them fade into the paintings like ghosts from a bygone era. Buildings and objects hint at a secret inner life, while shadows envelope the viewer in a dark comforting blanket.
The ‘black period’ is inspired by night-time winter wanderings through the city but the use of black was not a conscious decision and one can only hypothesise the reasons for its primary use. Perhaps it reflects the decaying beauty of Venice, melancholic and haunting - a Grande Dame, no longer young but you can see that she was, and is still, a great beauty, adorning herself with her most treasured jewels, her fog wrapping you in a silent veil. Venice has secrets, hidden in the ambiguity of the mask - one face shows exquisite beauty; the other exquisite ugliness. It's like you can have something beautiful but it comes at a price. Or perhaps it is simply the artists preference for shadows over spotlights, finding a strange comfort in the dark.
The preceding 'red period' is equally unexplainable. Obviously influenced by the artist's first trip to Venice and attendance at one of the most famous carnival balls, but it was as if the paintings themselves wanted to be red. Based on things that were happening in the artist's life at the time the colour perhaps signifies passion or mystery and certainly 'blood' as a metaphor for 'life' or 'death' or 'sex', or all three. Frequent trips to the theatre, ballet and cinema as a child made a strong impression and undoubtedly had their influence here as well - the ornate architectural structures, thick red velvet curtains and seats, the overly-painted faces and gaudy costumes of the performers all provided a sense of feeling cocooned and safe - probably the way Holly Golightly (Hepburn) felt about Tiffany's.
Work has a discreet following, with pieces represented in private homes around the world.
Out & about
With the same fascination as for art, textile and print designs are bold with geometric elements and a tight rigidity in a similar palette of black and earth tones plus the colours of the sea. Inspiration strikes wandering around Italian streets with abundant Ancient, Renaissance and Gothic architecture to admire at every turn, or Italian flora and fauna when out in the countryside. Random cuttings from glossy fashion magazines are arranged into abstract images and finished designs are usually a transition or progression of an original photograph, painting or collage, with the desired outcome of something sumptuous or whimsical.
Very private and slightly reclusive with a strong dislike of the telephone and social gatherings, Frances has a small circle of close friends, lives happily with writer-journalist husband, affectionate feline (Wolfgang - after her favourite composer) and divides her time between Rome and her beloved Venice but prefers to vacation at isolated beach retreats and enjoys regular jaunts to natural hot springs. Preferred therapy: Shopping!