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Fran Baggett Kids N Training

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Meet the Artist


Fran Baggett - Artist

Fran Baggett always knew she wanted to be an artist. As a small child she would draw on anything she could find. Her teachers recognized her talent and encouraged her to follow her dreams. Her parents, being of modest means, had more "practical" dreams for her. So she married and started a family.

An American Dream

In 1988, with her children almost grown, Fran finally embarked on her painting career. Having no formal training, Fran was hesitant to call herself an "artist". Yet there was an immediate demand for her work. She entered and won painting competitions both nationally and internationally, and sold pieces to corporate and private collectors.

In 1990, Coca-Cola commissioned Fran to do a painting of the first Bruno grocery store as a surprise for Mr. Joe Bruno. It was very important to the Bruno family that the painting be accurate in every respect. Only the products that were actually in the store could be represented in the painting and the labels of these products must be precisely reproduced.

This proved to be challenging because Fran had to work from a black and white photo taken with a flash, obliterating much of the detail needed. It was quite a task to translate this into a vibrant painting authentic in color and detail.

Joe Bruno's brother, Lee, was essential to this project. He provided information as to which products were in the store and where they were placed. He had hand lettered the signs in the photograph. The upside down "fish" sign was his idea to attract customer's attention.


Jon, Jon Holding Cat

Love Goes on Forever...

 

Jonathan McLauren Darnell
February 5, 1970-July 28, 2007

My beautiful, precious son was killed in a skydiving accident on July 28, 2007.
We talked daily and I always had him call me after each jump to let me know he was okay. I was waiting for his call to tell me he had passed his last requirement to get his A certification.
However, it wasn't the call I expected.

Jon's untimely death was not in vain. It has opened minds and hearts to the tragedy of delaying to express the love and encouragement we all need from one another.

I knew Jon had a lot of friends, but until now I didn't realize how many. Hundreds of people who grew up with him, went to school with him, played music or golfed with him, neighborhood friends, co-workers and fellow skydivers joined with family members to celebrate his life and mourn his passing.

While he was a quiet man who never liked to draw attention to himself, who was introspective and really enjoyed spending time alone, he truly loved and respected others.

He didn't have to be asked for help if he knew someone needed it and he was sincere in all his words and actions.

He loved animals, especially his cat. All his friends knew about Rufus because Jon talked about him all the time.

Jon & I had dinner together a week before his death and we discussed his goals. He told me that he had never been bored and didn't think he ever would be, because there were so many things he wanted to learn and experience and it would take a lifetime to get to them all.

Soar high, my son, in perpetual blue skies!
Missing you beyond words...
Mom

Jon with Mom


American Dreams Come True

It took six months to complete the painting due to extensive research. Some of the companies had gone out of business and others had not archived their early product labels.

Fran contacted these compabies and even tracked down elderly employees who may have had some memory of early products. She traveled to Montgomery where, with the dairy owner's permission, she scavenged through boarded up sheds and storage areas seeking out the original signs used during that period.

Each week, throughout the painting process representatives from both Coca-Cola and Bruno's visited Fran's studio to photograph her progress. These photographs were turned over to the University of Alabama in Birmingham, to make into a video presentation. This video was shown at the unveiling of the painting.

An American Dream Painting

The painting, "An American Dream" commissioned by Coca-Cola as a surprise gift for Mr. Joe Bruno

An American Dream

The brochure published by Coca-Cola


The First Game is a Winner

Fran's first interests in painting were historical subjects. She even approached football from a historical viewpoint when she painted "The First Game", illustrating the first football game between The University of Alabama and Auburn University. Working from black & white photos of the actual event she discovered in the Archive Dept. of the Birmingham Public Library, Fran conducted thorough research with the help of Birmingham sports columnist and book author, Clyde Bolton. She unconvered fascinating details such as the fact that football was such a new sport, the players wore baseball uniforms and canvas baseball shoes. There were no helmets.

The First Game

Unveilling of "The First Game" Painting at the Loretta Godowin gallery. Coach Bill Curry and Paul Spina with artist, Fran Baggett.

Columnist and author, Clyde Bolton's impression of Fran Baggett's painting, "The First Game"

The First Game Painting

The First Game Article


"In Training" Was Born

After the unveilling of "The First Game" at the Loretta Goodwin Gallery in Birmingham, Auburn coach Pat Dye asked Fran to come up with an art print that he could use for fundraising at Auburn, both of scholarships and a favorite charity, the Sheriff's Boys and Girls Ranches. He wanted something specifically for children because he thought there was a void in the collegiate for children's items.

Driving home from their meeting, Fran envisioned a toddler boy, tired from play, wearing training pants and a large footbal helmet, holding a football and his precious toy tiger...and from this her "In Training" series was born.

In Training Was Born


The Future is Bright

I always knew I wanted to be an artist. As a small child I would draw on anything I could find. My teachers recognized my talent and encouraged me to follow my dreams. My parents, being of modest means, had more "practical" dreams for me. So I married and started a family.

In 1988, with my children almost grown, I finally embarked on a painting career. Having no formal training, I was hesitant to call myself an "artist". Yet there was an immediate demand for my work. I entered and won both national and international painting competitions, and sold original watercolor paintings to corporate and private collectors.

In 2001, I was seriously injured in an auto accident and was confined to a wheelchair for several years. My last surgery was successful and I am now walking! Though still in chronic pain and unable to travel, I look forward to a time when I can get "out and about" and meet with my customers and fans face-to-face.

I share my home in Birmingham with my two cats, Gable and Tallulah...named for Clark Gable and Tallulah Bankhead.

My son Brett lives in a beautiful home town in New Jersey, Little Falls. Jon, my older son, was killed in a skydiving accident in 2007.

I hope to inspire those who think they have waited too long to follow their dreams. I want each of you to realize that it's never too late to start your own personal path to fulfillment.

I urge parents to listen to their children and look for early signs of talent...whatever it may be. Encourage and nurture it with attentiveness and provide opportunities for young ones to learn about and explore their personal interests.