The campfire gets your attention.
But if you step back a bit, you will note that something else is watching the fire.
I am saddened to pass along the breaking news that the Maine artist who painted the above has died suddenly. Marion M. Francis, 61, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, who painted two Bigfoot pieces that are in the International Cryptozoology Museum collection, died during heart surgery on February 29, 2012, in Portland, Maine.
Francis was a native of Maine. She was married with three daughters and two grandsons. She and her husband enjoyed displaying their antique automobiles at car shows and “cruise-ins.” Her artwork, she would tell friends, was her means of relaxation and an outlet for creativity.
Marion Francis’ love of painting was part of her for her whole life. She worked in mediums of oil, watercolor, and acrylics on canvas, paper, wood, and metal. She felt especially inspired by Maine’s natural beauty, and concentrated her oil and watercolor work in seascapes and landscapes.
For several years, Marion Francis had stepped into what she called “the realm of painting sci-fi and the paranormal as a direction for spiritual creativity.”
Besides Bigfoot, Francis had tackled the paranormal, psychic awareness, and reincarnation. She would say that “branching out in this area has been a challenging and amusing pastime.”
As you pondered the canvases of Marion Francis, you often had to look more deeply. Artist and gallery owner Michelle Souliere once reflected that viewing Francis’s work makes you “ask yourself what would have happened if famed painter Bob Ross had struck up a friendship with H.P. Lovecraft.”
From a distance, do we see the cryptids?
Closer up, the Bigfoot is revealed. Marion Francis painted this imagery directly from viewing the Crookston Bigfoot in the ICM.
The International Cryptozoology Museum has on permanent display her “Forest Dweller” (at top) and “Early Snow (with Crookston Bigfoot).”
These two paintings were added to the museum after Francis’ show, “The Landscape Revisited,” occurred at the Green Hand Books in April 2010. Gallery owner Michelle Souliere informed me of the passing of Marion Francis today.
Our condolences to her family and friends.
+++Portland Press Herald obituary of March 4, 2012+++
Marion Elizabeth Maxwell Francis, 61
CAPE ELIZABETH (Maine)– Marion Elizabeth Maxwell Francis, 61, of Cape Elizabeth died unexpectedly Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, at Maine Medical Center (Portland, Maine).
A talented artist, loving mother, grandmother and friend, Marion will be forever remembered for her kindness, caring spirit and devotion to family.
Marion was born in Portland on June 30, 1950, to Leroy Irvin Maxwell and Arlene Longfellow Maxwell Jordan. She and her three siblings were raised on a working farm on Two Lights Road in Cape Elizabeth. As a child, Marion enjoyed outdoor activities such as ice skating and horseback riding. Her love of animals also began at an early age.
In 1968, Marion graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School and she went on to earn a degree in childhood education from the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham. She worked for Head Start and as a fifth grade teacher in the town of Phippsburg.
Marion married Chadwick Tarling and they had three children: Sarah in 1976, Liana in 1979 and Dorian in 1981. Marion stayed at home to care for her daughters. She loved taking them to the beach and to the Maxwell homestead on Two Lights Road, where family gathered on most Sundays for meals, conversation and games. Marion’s cooking was appreciated by all.
In the early 1990s, Marion remarried after finding the love of her life, Danford Thomas Francis. They were married on August 10, 1991, and they shared a home in Cape Elizabeth. They celebrated their 20th anniversary last summer.
Marion expressed herself through her beautiful artwork. She enjoyed many types of art, from painting to glass etching. Her drawings and paintings of relatives, the family homestead and the beloved oak tree will be cherished for generations.
For many years, Marion worked as a secretary and sang in the choir at Thornton Heights United Methodist Church in South Portland. She later worked at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland. Marion was active in Faith at Work. She also taught painting classes and worked as a massage therapist. At the time of her death she was employed by the Iris Network in Portland.
Favorite times in recent years included rides with Dan in his 1966 Ford Galaxy convertible. She loved riding with him each summer to the Antique and Classic Car Show in Stowe, Vt. The couple also loved ocean cruises. They traveled to most of the islands between Florida and the Equator. Last June they enjoyed a weeklong trip to Bermuda.
Marion loved visits from her children, grandchildren and extended family. She loved the holidays and each year she spent hours crafting ornaments for family members.
Marion is survived by her husband, Dan. She is also survived by daughter Sarah Tarling Matzke and son-in-law Christian Matzke of Brunswick, daughter Liana Tarling of Scarborough and daughter Dorian Tarling of Scarborough, step-son Bill Francis and daughter-in-law Becca Francis of Brunswick, step-son Arthur Francis and step-daughter Debbie Francis, both of New Hampshire; grandsons Keller Matzke and Stellan Matzke, Liam Sweeney, Dominick Francis and Tyler Francis; her brother, Peter Maxwell and sister-in-law Lura Maxwell of Greene, brother William Maxwell and sister-in-law Janie Downey Maxwell of Cumberland and sister Shirley Maxwell Royall and brother-in-law William Royall of Cape Elizabeth.
A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6, at Cape Elizabeth Methodist Church, 280 Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth. Arrangements are under the guidance of Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Marion’s memory may be sent to:
Animal Refuge League
of Greater Portland
P.O. Box 336
Westbrook, ME 04098-0336
Marion Elizabeth Maxwell Francis