Your Subtitle text

Frank Francese,  NWS
"Welcome to my website!"


Tips on Painting Your Masterpiece

During my workshops I do several demonstrations for the members of the class.  Sometimes the host will request that I do a demonstration for guests of attendees and occasionally the demonstrations will be opened to the public.  Before commencing the demonstration, I provide the attendees with some ‘tips’ or general things to consider before, during and after their painting session.  While the tips may vary, depending on the skill levels of the participants, the venue and the subject matter I’ve selected for the demonstration, the following is a list of ‘considerations’ which may also help you with your next attempt to create your best painting ever.

  •  Sketch!  Sketch anytime you can.  The more you sketch, the better you will paint.  The ‘sketch’ is your blueprint to building your masterpiece.
  • I often use photographs to create my sketches.  Using photos is fine for the ‘planning’ or sketching phase of your project.  Once your sketch is complete, put the photo away!
  • Utilize strong values on the sketch.  This will teach you to balance light and dark areas on your painting.  Value changes which you determine to be too abrupt on your sketch, can easily be fixed by darkening your lighter values, or, you can start a new sketch.  Most likely you won’t be able to fix that type of mistake when putting paint on paper and restarts in that arena are far more expensive in terms of time and material.
  • When starting your painting, don’t be afraid to take a chance.  Get out of your comfort zone and do something different.  That’s when good paintings happen for the pros and amateurs alike.
  • Always use your sketch as a starting point and then as a reference during your session.  After starting your painting, work very quickly.  See if you can keep your brush a couple of steps ahead of your mind.  The moment you start overthinking your approach or pausing to ‘critique’ your last brush stroke, is the moment your painting goes south – right into the trash can, so to speak!
  • Start your painting by using big, interlocking shapes.  Once the shapes are on the paper, you can fill in the detail as necessary or in areas you deem worthy.
  • Use the big brushes only when starting the painting.  As you proceed use the smaller brushes to fill in the detail.  Remember the saying: “Big painting, big brushes – small painting, small brushes”.
  • Once you’ve completed the painting, your first natural reaction will be to critique your work.  Second guessing your effort will invariably generate an uncontrollable urge to ‘fix’ things and that’s when you’ll ruin the painting.  When you’ve finished, put the painting away.  I also tell my students that knowing when the painting is finished is as important as knowing when and where to start.
  • After a time, pull the painting out and look it over.  You are likely to find that the areas which were of concern to you when you finished the painting will not be as noticeable as they were the first time you saw them and to your pleasant surprise, minor mistakes are likely to add some character to your effort.

 Keep these tips in mind as you create your next image.  All of the things listed above may not apply to every effort, but if you use a few of them, it’s likely that you will enjoy painting and the finished artwork more.



         Ward Lake (1) Grand Mesa, CO             Ward Lake (2) Grand  Mesa, CO          Ward Lake (3) Grand Mesa, CO
                            Bridger Bowl, Montana                                                  Grand Junction, Colorado                        


Over the years I’ve had several inquiries regarding the availability of Francese Watercolors for purchase.  At the urging of a friend, I decided to add a page to this site, appropriately titled “Retail Gallery”.  In addition to artwork that is available to site visitors and other art collectors, the new page includes the necessary steps regarding how to go about placing an original Francese Watercolor in your personal collection or just to brighten up a room.  Please visit that page while you’re on the site.
                       De Beque, Colorado                                                  Driggs, Idaho

                  Charleston, South Carolina                                             Grand Mesa Lake, CO

                            Monticello, UT                                                                          Moab, UT

                     ************** Workshop Material Requirements ************
Workshop attendees often ask me what materials I utilize during the workshops and in the course of painting watercolors at home.  I have put together is list of the materials I normally use during the course of instruction presented at each event.  That list is now posted on the “Workshop” page of this site.

                St. Johns Episcopal                           Dallas Divide, Colorado                      Boulder Valley, Montana

Approximately twenty new images have been posted to the three galleries depicted on the navigation bar of this site.  Additional new images will be posted in the near future.  The 2014 workshop schedule is posted on the ‘schedule’ page along with events currently under contract for 2015.  Enjoy your visit to my web site and I hope to see you at a Francese Watercolor workshop somewhere in the coming year.


           "Artist at Work"
       Sketch by Newick

                     Enjoy the site and as always, your email feedback is always welcome.