Frank is a painter… but not the usual kind of artist. Frank paints personal copies of other people’s work. And it’s stunning. Meet Frances “Frank” Slim, 95, a father, grandfather and great grandfather living at Wesley Haven Villa in Pensacola, FL.
Frank discovered a knack for painting while in India as a member of the British Diplomatic Service. He explained that there was a lot of downtime at his posting in New Delhi, and he needed to find something to occupy his mind.
“I quickly became bored, because there was not really food for the brain,” Frank confessed. “So I thought to myself, what can I do that’s creative? I found some books on the market in New Delhi and began painting. No lessons. I discovered that I succeeded in copying other people's work.”
This kind of painting is a hobby that Frank continues to this day in his apartment at Wesley Haven Villa. “Because I copy, it’s unethical to sell them. They are for my own enjoyment. When I finish one, I’m pleased with myself, and want to keep it.”
Frank paints works from any artist that catches his eye but he does have a favorite, Edouard Cortes, 1882-1969, a French painter of French and Spanish ancestry, who spent most of his career painting scenes of Paris, France.
As to how a former member of the British Royal Marines and the British Diplomatic Service gets to Pensacola, Florida, Frank relayed his journey.
“I joined [the British Royal Marines] as a drummer boy at 15 years old and when I became 18, I had enough of the drums and became one of the Royal Marine Commandos. I did this until I was 40,” said Frank. “I did a lot of traveling all over the world, mostly Eastern Europe and Asia.”
Frank married Daphne Gaynham in 1957, and she accompanied him on postings to Malta and Singapore, and then on his postings with the British Diplomatic Service to India, Poland, Egypt and Washington D.C., where the British Embassy is located.
“At that time I had teenage daughters,” Frank explained. “As a family we decided that we would like to immigrate to the United States. My wife had a sister married to an American serviceman. The sister was living in Indiana, and so on the grounds of sisterhood we could get a visa and become naturalized citizens. And so I had to check myself on the U.S. job marketing with no qualifications or anything.”
Frank found a job as a manager for a British builder, putting up houses in the Washington D.C. area, and from there he and his wife retired in 1993 to Connersville, Indiana, then to Noblesville, Indiana in 2013. It was there that Daphne passed away in 2015. Frank made his way to Florida to be closer to two of his daughters who live in Cantonment, Florida. His daughters did the research, and in March of 2023 they helped Frank make his home at Wesley Haven Villa.
If you’re interested in learning more about making Wesley Haven Villa home for you or a loved one, contact us.