Viva il colore

Italian-born colourist, Francesca Wezel, could persuade neutral-loving devotees to embrace colour with her range of matt textured paints and chalky finishes.

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“What I find intriguing is most of us collectively love the amazing contrasts nature comprises. Yet when it comes to decorating people are afraid of using these colours in their homes. I’m a firm believer the solution is in the materials people use to paint their walls.

“My paints are like velvet. Their matt texture absorbs the light giving beautiful depth to the wall and produces a much smoother colour which changes throughout the day according to the light. Even strong colours are very soft and easy on the eye because of their chalkiness.”

Francesca’s foray into paint happened by chance when she was living in Sydney, Australia. “I was between jobs and somebody suggested I go and check out Porter’s Paints and it was love at first sight. I remember seeing all these colours and finishes and immediately liked it.”

Francesca says her biggest influence was her former Porter’s Paint boss of seven years, Peter Lewis. “He has inspired me the most in my life with his style, elegance, and his belief in me. He took the time to teach me everything he knew and guided my own development as a colourist. It’s been more than 20 years since I worked with Peter and I still thank him every Christmas.”

On arriving in London in 1996, Francesca looked for work with paint companies only to realise they wanted paint colours which worked within their existing colour collections – not ideal if you’re a passionate colourist!  Francesca took a chance to begin her own paint company and has never looked back.

My own introduction to Porter’s Paint came in the 1990s when I was living in Australia. Like Francesca, I was captivated by the colour and chalky finish they achieved with their eco-friendly paints. I was incredibly excited to discover Francesca’s Paints when I arrived in London several years ago. What impresses me most is the sense of mood her paints achieve through their texture, depth, colour, and the subtleties of changing light.

In the same vein as Porter’s Paints, Francesca nurtures her passion for traditional paint finishes taking extreme care to use the best products as bases and pigments. “I adapt traditional formulas to modern times while keeping the base as organic as they can be. It is like cooking, if you use the best ingredients food comes out with best flavours.”

Her interior and exterior paints are entirely ecological as they are solvent free and are offered in a range of finishes – eco emulsion, lime wash, eggshell, acrylic eggshell, flat oil, gloss, and masonry paint.

Travel plays a very important role in the development of Francesca’s colour collections, drawing inspiration from the landscape and environment she witnesses during extensive travels to far flung places such as Namibia, Costa Rica, Mozambique, Sardinia, and Reykjavik to name a few. “There is an anthropology in colour which holds varying meaning in different parts of the world. Travelling enables me to learn how other cultures use paint and understand their traditional way of making colours.”

Creating new colours is what Francesca finds most rewarding and she especially enjoys custom mixing paint for clients as part of her colour consulting service. “I recently went to a house where the client had no idea what she wanted but she liked my style and allowed me to choose everything for her. The joy was she loved the outcome and now her house looks beautiful.”

Collaborations with Miv Watts and three collections with Aleta Bartel-Orton provide further rewards and an opportunity to develop colour collections inspired by art or have a historical context.

Francesca’s latest “John W. Waterhouse” collection, was inspired by one of her favourite paintings which is on display at the Tate Britain called The Lady of Shalott. “It’s colours, intricate skirt detailing, surroundings, and depth of colours are beautiful. I have aimed to bring a contemporary interpretation to the colours this painting has inspired.”

For those neutral-loving devotees who would like to explore a matt textured finish but remain unconvinced about colour, Francesca’s Paints offers a wonderful interpretation to off-whites and greys via its Urban Chic, Off White, and Off White II colour collections.

I’m looking forward to Francesca’s next colour collection which could draw inspiration from her recent trip to the Himalayas. My paint brush is at the ready. Is yours?

Further information, +44 (0)20 7228 7694

Image credits –  Featured image: Colour: Custom Mix, Product: Matt Emulsion,  © Image Copyright, Anthony Bowle. Scrolling images – Colour: Custom Green, Product: Lime Wash,  © Photo supplied by Francesca’s Paints.  Colour: Yellow Pepper, Product: Eco Emulsion,  © Image Copyright, Annabel Moeller. Colour: Rebecca’s Red, Product: Eco Emulsion, © Photo supplied by Francesca’s Paints. Colour: Ice House Blue, Product: Oil Eggshell, © Image Copyright, Annabel Moeller.

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