Francis was born in Dundee and studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in the late sixties where his tutors included Alberto Morrocco and David McClure. He went on to balance a successful teaching career with his artistic practice before the increasing demand for his work enabled him to leave education and become a full time professional artist in 2001. Since then, Francis has worked steadily to establish himself as one of the leading figures in a new generation of Scottish Colourists.
Francis takes a great deal of inspiration from his surroundings in and around and Stonehaven. From wind swept harbours to the agricultural patchwork of the Aberdeenshire landscape, each of his pieces are carefully considered and imbued with an inviting atmosphere, encouraging the viewer to explore every inch of the canvas.
Creating each of his paintings is also a journey of discovery for Francis himself, preferring to work intuitively without any pre-conceived idea or a specific composition in mind, he aims to create works that are evocative rather than literal in their sense of time and place. He works in thin layers of acrylic paint which are built up to create layers of vivid colour and depth with rough, collaged elements adding texture and a vibrant, unpredictable quality to his surfaces.