There is a restless electricity in the intense colours in SF 58-262. The paint sings with life against the white background, which has been left in reserve with a restraint that contrasts with the energy of the application of the paint itself. The freeness of the gestural application of the paint appears to breathe life into each brushstroke and drip, lending this work an engaging vitality.
SF 58-262 was executed in 1958, the year after Francis had first visited Japan. His time there had been a revelation, and had an immediate impact on his art. He began to use the white of the canvas as an extra weapon in his arsenal. By leaving these areas white, he brings more attention and more intensity to the specks, drips and flecks of bright colour that fill half of the canvas and recur in various parts of the rest. Both this spareness in leaving the canvas in reserve and Francis' application of paint recall Japanese paintings. This came to supplement his deep appreciation of the works of many French masters, which is apparent in the effusive colourism of this work and in its absorbing sense of light. This colourism is likewise reflected in Francis' interest not only in light, but also in the actual properties and potential of white as a colour on the canvas. It is active in its own right, not just a space left unpainted, and sings with its own intensity.
The sense of absorption in SF 58-262 owes much to the scale of the canvas itself. While in Japan, Francis had received his first public commission, and was forced to work on a vast scale that he had never considered before. Francis not only overcame the problems that this project presented, but moreover retained a great interest in painting in this manner and on this scale. Recalling one of Francis' greatest influences - Monet's Nymphéas at the Orangerie in Paris - SF 58-262 is filled with an impressive monumentality which greatly emphasises the painting's dancing colour and light.