Jess Franks

Hello, Beautiful

Horseshoe Bend

The Smokies

Top Notch

Yellowstone, 2

I am beginning a unit on color for my middle school students, so color and color theory have been on my mind a lot. When planning for this week’s post (and the work I will show them in class), these landscape paintings by East Coast artist Jess Franks immediately came to mind.

Franks has a particularly developed eye for how much abstraction she can use in a landscape painting. She uses a balance of vibrant and subdued color to create movement in her work, leading the viewer’s eye through the compositon. Franks’ also utilizes a contrasting base layer to add to this feeling of movement. These initial layers are typically painted in warm yellows and oranges. On the ensuing layers, Franks retains some gaps that allow this contrasting color to peek through.

The following discussion questions will allow for deeper thought and consideration of how Franks uses color to create her vibrant scenes.

Discussion for Kids

  • Pick one artwork to examine. Do warm colors or cool colors stand out the most in this artwork?

  • What do you notice first in each painting?

  • Why do you think this artist uses atypical colors (i.e. colors not usually found in nature)?

  • Which painting is your favorite? Why?