Rancho Santa Fe artist’s ‘action’ paintings chosen for juried Miami show


By Karen Billing

Rancho Santa Fe artist Francesca Filanc creates abstract artwork with bold, emotional strokes that pops with vibrant colors. She hopes with every piece she is creating a special kind of experience for the viewer — that they feel a positive, healing energy.

“Abstract painting can be very spiritual,” said Filanc. “Painting is its own language.”

Filanc was selected to appear in Art San Diego 2014, her first big show, held at Balboa Park in early November. On Dec. 3-7, her work will be on display at Spectrum Miami Art Show, a juried contemporary art show featuring mid-career and emerging artists.

Spectrum will be Filanc’s second big art show and her first time in Miami.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the show,” she said, adding that she very much enjoys the interaction with people viewing her work and seeing how they respond to the pieces.

Thirty of her works are now making their way cross-country for Spectrum.

Quite prolific with her paintings, Filanc has a very large collection of work ready for market. “I’ve been painting since I was a little girl.”

She grew up in Del Mar, the daughter of television personality and garden author Pat Welsh, who still lives in the city.

Her father, Louis Welsh, was a Superior Court Judge in San Diego and founder of the San Diego Inn of Court. His stepfather was John Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the inventor of Lincoln Logs.

Filanc lived next door to her step-grandfather Wright in the home he designed for his wife, Frances Welsh. She recalls the pair being fixtures of the Del Mar social scene as she grew up.

Filanc most fondly remembers her summers in Del Mar, painting every day at the beach in a group organized by her mother, who recognized a talent in her young daughter. She still has some of those early artworks hanging in her home.

Filanc graduated from San Dieguito High School and married her high school sweetheart, Peter. The couple moved to Rancho Santa Fe 18 years ago with their daughters, Erica and Yvette.

Erica is a film producer and director in San Francisco, and Yvette lives in Spain, where she started an intensive language program for people to learn English.

Each of her daughters has two daughters, and Filanc keeps a very girly pink room in her home for when her four granddaughters come to visit.

Peter Filanc passed away at age 53 after a battle with cancer in 2007. In her grief, Filanc found painting to be an outlet for healing. She also started to play the guitar as a way to feel closer to Peter, as he often played music in their home.

Art has been a constant thread throughout Filanc’s life.

Her style changed over the years, and like many artists, she went through many different periods, from dreamy watercolors to her style now as an abstract artist.

Her style goes by many names, including “throw art” or “drip art,” but she prefers “action painting.” For whatever reason, it comes easily to her. When she takes brush to canvas, she said, she is filled with an energy she feels translates into the painting. She chooses big colors and has an instinct for knowing when to stop.

Filanc said people always ask what she was thinking when she worked on a piece.

She said the inspiration and meanings of her work are part of the mystery, noting “An abstract piece is a gift to the viewer.”

While painting is a passion for Filanc, she has other passions in life, including her two standard poodles, Annie and Byron, gardening and fly-fishing — she recently went on a fly-fishing trip in New Brunswick, Canada. She also loves to cook and entertain — she can mix up a mean Moscow mule.

She loves to travel, and wherever she goes, she brings her paints.

“I feel everybody needs some kind of art in their life. We all have the ability to tap into our artistic sides, and we all can do that in different ways,” Filanc said.

“A lot of people say they can’t paint, but they probably could and would love to. And they would probably get a lot out of it if they let themselves.”

For more information, visit