Rosemarie Francke's paintings and drawings have graced the homes of many collectors over the years, including
Russell Baker of the New York Times and Masterpiece Theater. Her passion for painting and drawing began at an
but the untimely death of her brother and father in an automobile accident forced her hands in another direction,
so she became a teacher. However, whenever she could, she would paint for pleasure. It was her marriage to
potter, David Francke, that drew her into the art world. She began her apprenticeship with him unwittingly
because she was so fascinated with the process of making pottery on the kickwheel. Together, they built a
catenary arch kiln and would fire the porcelain and stoneware pottery with wood they collected all summer long.
She began making pottery and then decorating them with a slip trailer and sometimes a Japanese brush. She
wanted to explore paper once more and began drawing and then with her 2 young boys, Dewey and Moby hiked
all over their Virginia farm, finding all sorts of inspirational material together! Her marriage fell apart and
Rosemarie decided to make a bold strike on her own to pursue her long time dream of painting the beauty she
found in the world of nature. She took her drawings and small watercolor paintings to the Smithsonian Institution
, encouraged by Doug Lewis, the Curator of the National Gallery, who started collecting her early works and was
given the project of designing their first BiCentennial Christmas Card in 1979, followed by a series of botannical
paintings which were sold at their shop and catalogues. Then she fould more freelance work at Time-Life books,
doing botannical subjects..."the Garden Book" and "the Cactus Book". It was while on assignment for a
tropical plant series that she decided to put herself into a more tropical atmosphere, like the place she went to
render her subjects, the Botanical Gardens in Washingon, DC. only, take away the glass dome and the snow
pelting down it! She did some research and accepted an invitation to visit a friend in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
She fell in love with the beauty of that place and decided to move herself and her two boys there, with the
sanction of the boy's father. Her early paintings there were done when she took her watercolors on the road by
foot and into difficult terrain. She didn't have a car as yet but enjoyed discovering places in this way. It soon
became clear that this was a time-consuming way to find subjects and committed herself to buying a car.
After a few years, she met Robin Thomas whom she later married. He helped her set up a studio and she began
experimenting with her airbrush...at first only to do backgrounds but soon discovered that the brushes could do
a lot more. She has been using airbrushes ever since in many of her works. Rosemarie lived in the Virgin Islands
for 18 years until hurricanes literally blew her and her family away. Her sons enrolled in college and she and
Robin moved to the mainland to get on their feet once more. They settled in Ormond Beach, FL.