There are four books covering four subjects:

1.  Drawing    2. Painting    3. Creativity    4. Related Science

* The Posts on the book chapters come first and are followed by Posts on other subjects.

(Please scroll down to the book or to the subject matter that interest you)

* The most recent posts and revisions are highlighted in red


Why the books are needed


Chapters from “Drawing on Both Sides of the Brain”

Other Posts on Drawing:


Chapters from “Painting with Light and Colour”:


Other Posts on colour and light in painting:



Chapters from “Fresh  insights into Creativity”

Extracts from Chapter 10: “Having fun with creativity”


Chapters from “What Scientists can Learn from Artists”

(These deal in greater depth with subjects that feature in the other volumes)





Request for comments on the chapters from the books.

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19 thoughts on “MY BOOKS ON ART PRACTICE”

  1. To start the ball rolling I am posting an extract from “Fresh Perspectives on Creativity” Chapter 11 : “Having Fun with Creativity”. Its title is “The Potato”. The reference to my own work relates to an earlier section in the chapter where I describe how each stage in a painting opens up a variety of possibilities, only one of which can be pursued at any one time.

    The Potato

    It is always the case that a great deal of what goes into paintings is hidden and, with it, much of what has been put into them. This point that can be clarified by means of a true story relating to a child with learning difficulties told by his primary school teacher.

    George, as I shall call him, was a amiable lad, but never seemed to want to join in what others were doing. One day, during a painting session, the teacher was delighted to see him applying himself with great concentration. She hurried over to see what had caught his imagination and found that he had produced a light-brown oval shape in the middle of an otherwise empty sheet of paper. He was obviously pleased to see her and held up what he had done asking with pride in his voice, “Do you like my potato, Miss?” In itself, George’s production wasn’t very impressive but, sensing an opportunity for a breakthrough in his attitude to school, she enthused about it, suggesting, before leaving him, that he complete the picture.

    Being at the beck and call of the other children, the teacher was not able to get back to George for some time, although out of the corner of her eye she could see that he was painting away with renewed enthusiasm. Her heart was warmed and she was anxious to make an opportunity to see what he had done. When this eventually came, she found that he had covered the entire paper with dirty-brown paint: the potato was nowhere to be seen. In scarcely concealed distress she cried out, “George, what ever have you done?”. But the answer brought one of the most heart-touching moments of her career. “I have planted it under the earth, Miss”, he explained.

    One of the many questions which this story brings to mind is, “Did George ruin or enhance his painting by his surprising behaviour?” There can be little doubt that he had spoilt its superficial appearance, but, in doing so, had he not given it a far deeper meaning? And, if ruining appearances can give greater significance, we must admit the possibility that an important aspect of the appreciation of a work of art may lie in knowledge of its history.

    The trouble (or the opportunity) is that the process of painting covers traces (as is evidenced by the histories of both George‘s potato and my pastels. Nothing is quite what it seems, either physically or psychologically. Everything in painting has its origins deeply embedded in the past of an evolving process and a unique life. In my case, the creative energy comes from a complex web of factors relating to fairly abstruse aspects of painting that may be of little interest to others. In George’s case, the project was simplicity itself, but represented a ray of light shining out from the darkness of caged soul. Moreover, to my knowledge, his idea is unique, showing a striking originality of a kind which had proved beyond the combined imaginations of the great artists of history.

    @ Francis Pratt 12 February 2017

    1. Thank you, Francis. I have been reading all of your posts and am learning tons from them. Please keep posting! Appreciatively, Sylvia

    2. I loved the idea of his following the concept all the way through the story to planting the potato within his single painting. How wonderful. Yes, the painting benefited from an explanation, but it is delightful and profound at the same time. Part of life is hidden so this just adds to the experience of his creative process. Or so it seems to me.

  2. Lovely story! One of the things I’ve come to like about contemporary art is the idea of leaving a trail of evidence in your work to show the development and, ideally, the pulse of it’s taking life.

  3. A pioneer of monochrome indeed. Thank you for sharing George’s story and encouraging creativity in many forms,

  4. Merci Francis pour ton approche très personnelle de la peinture.
    Bravo pour la clarté de ton site et pour les “posts”.

    1. complément plutôt que commentaire : Mon long séjour à The Painting School of Montmiral m’a appris énormément, dans mon enseignement à des petits George, comme dans ma pratique d’art “détourné” comme je l”appelle. en poterie comme en esthétique.

  5. Merci Francis. Je comprend pourquoi je suis intéressée par le travail des séries qui explorent les possibles sur une même idée ou un même sujet. J’apprécie tes posts qui l’ouvrent l’esprit et le nourrissent. Et la pomme de terre germe ! Merci . Marie-Thérèse

  6. As an experienced artist, superficially trained in color theory, I have been feeling that the color in my paintings is often dull, (except in maybe in patches and fields), and that there is not enough sense of the illusory 3-dimensional space that I seek. On my own, and with some other methods of professional instruction, it was not until I met Francis that I have been able to see why this is.

    Enter Francis’ absolutely revolutionary knowledge he generously shares about observing color in nature and using color in paintings. You must must read his books ! I have high hopes now for my progress in painting.

    1. Francis, ce travail, ta recherche, tes écrits sont extraordinaires et c’est dommage que cet outil si utile , internet, te joue des tours souvent !

  7. Francis is a visionary in regard to his teaching, especially in his approach to colour. I was a student of his over 25 years ago. His enthusiasm for his subject remains undiminished. I am grateful for the helpful advice he is still only too happy to offer up.

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