Frank Howell’s work is described as a fusion of the physical and spiritual worlds, the continuum of life. Whether he is painting an Indian face or a landscape, there is a sense of evolving; an evolution of past, present, and the dawning of the future.
“My work is very representational in some respects, and it’s kind of explosive and expansive in other respects. I combine these directions, and, really, that’s what has been accepted as the uniqueness in my work—it’s at the same time contemporary and traditional.”
Subtle earthy colors and sensitive draftsmanship bring to life this philosophical reality.Howell views lithography as a painter’s print medium because of its ability to reproduce the kinds of subtle gradation of values and tonality which are most similar to the variations drawing and paint can provide.
“…my first concepts of a print were in terms of painterly processes. Progressively, as I have gained experience and knowledge, my ideas and approaches to conceptualizing those ideas are more in keeping with the qualities particular to lithography. The delicate washes, crayon textures and soft pencil lines so unique to the medium have become useful and integral ingredients in the formation of my images. I believe that through the communion between the tools, materials, and qualities of lithography and my sensibilities, beauty may be born. It is the communion and my awareness of its potential that perpetuates my search.”
Howell’s list of credits is extensive. A drawing series, “Past Winds,” created in 1975, captured the attention of viewers in galleries, universities and museums throughout the nation. He has had over 30 one man shows including a display of lithographs at the Museum of Modern Art in Guadalajara, Mexico. Howell has been the subject of profiles on television, radio and in newspapers and magazines.
The oldest of three children, Howell spent his childhood in Iowa and Texas. As an ex-marine at eighteen, he enrolled in the University of Northern Iowa where he studied ceramics and jewelry making. He has had no formal training in painting, for which he is most widely known.
For six years Howell stopped painting altogether and devoted his time and energy to writing. The technical aspects of his painting may not have progressed during those years, but, his ideas moved forward, he explains, because the source for his poetry and painting are the same. He feels that getting in touch with this motivating force from within is the key to his success as an artist. Many of Howell’s current lithographs and paintings incorporate his poetry within the image, thus, allowing the viewer a more sensitive insight into his creative mind.
Howell taught art for 11 years in high schools and on the college level, before moving to Colorado in 1968 to devote his life to painting, sculpting and printmaking.