The Courtroom Sketch Artist

Should any art group or state watercolor societies like to schedule a 3-5 day workshop please contact me and we will find a date that will work for your group. I am excited to have this change in my life and I am looking forward to a slower paced future.  There are a couple of new items I am trying in this updated version of my web site.  First, there will be a 'Sale Page'.  This page will contain images of

.............and speaking of sketching.............

watercolors that can be purchased as sale prices.  These are wonderful paintings worthy of a place in anyone's home.  Most of the other watercolor images you see on this web site are also for sale at higher prices.  If you see a watercolor you like in one of the Galleries or other pages, please contact me for the price list.  Most will vary from $600 upward to $3500 depending on your choice.

Notes from "Studio 527"

     Second, starting in 2017, I am planning to have a schedule of day classes around the Grand Junction area. These classes will be Plein-air and one day only, 9am - 3pm. The one day workshops will be at different locations around the Grand Valley. Please look for the locations and dates as they will be posted on my web page monthly starting in summer of 2017. Please enjoy the images and comments and as with the other pages of this site, your comments via email are always welcome.

             The City by the Bay

              Tips on Painting Your Masterpiece
During workshops I do several demonstrations for the members of the class.  Before commencing the demonstration, I like to 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, the following is a list of ‘considerations’ may also help you create your best painting ever.

*     Using photos is fine for the ‘planning’ or sketching phase of your project but 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.  Abrupt value changes can be fixed by darkening the lighter values, or, you can start a new sketch. Restarting a sketch is a whole lot cheaper than restarting a painting!

*     When starting your painting, take a chance.Get out of your comfort zone!That’s when good paintings happen.

*     Always use your sketch as a starting point and then as a reference during your session.Work very quickly, trying to keep your brush a couple of steps ahead of your mind.When you overthink your approach or pause to ‘critique’ your last brush stroke, your painting is likely to ‘go south’

*     Start your painting by using big, interlocking shapes.Once the shapes are on the paper, you can fill in the detail in areas you deem worthy of that level of effort.

*     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”.

*     When you’re finished, put the painting away.Immediate self-critiques invariably lead to the urge to ‘fix’ things.That’s when you’ll ruin the painting.Knowing when the painting is finished is as important as knowing when and where to start.

*    Become your own critic later.When you pull the painting back out after a couple of days you are likely to find that the areas of prior concern may not be as noticeable. Much to your pleasant surprise, minor mistakes may actually 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.

A few years ago I was teaching in San Diego. While painting the morning demonstration on the first day of class, I notice a gentleman seated at his table sketching furiously. I did not think much of it until the next day when I was walking around the room observing student progress.  The gent had his drawings from the previous day lying on his table. I glanced at his drawings and discovered that they were drawings of me painting the demos! I starting talking to Mr. Newick and discovered he was a retired courtroom sketch artist. Over the course of the five days of the workshop Mr. Newick sketched me form various angles.  He even got a ladder and sketched a down view of me painting, which was quite a feat when considering his age. I asked Mr. Newick if I could use the images on my web page.  He consented after I agreed to trade one of my paintings for his drawings. I would like to have everyone enjoy Mr. Newick’s immense talent. I think his drawings are first class and I am proud the have them on my web page.

Over the past three decades I’ve had the good fortune to paint landscapes all over the world.  I’ve also had the good fortune to return to some of my favorite places on multiple occasions.  San Francisco is one of the most photogenic cities on earth and if the scenery creates good pictures, it is also the subject of great art.  I’ve literally painted dozens of scenes in the “City by the Bay” and three of my favorites are included below for your enjoyment and viewing pleasure. The first two scenes were taken from the China Town section of San Francisco.  The last is the “Hyde Street’ cable car.

Artist's Accolades for 2014 -2016

The past three years have been very successful for Frank Francese.  In addition to receipt of five significant awards, his work has been selected for exhibit in several major national and international shows.  Some of his 'winners' are posted on the various pages of this site.  A summary of his success is listed below.

     *   Colorado Watercolor Society 2104 Exhibition, Denver, CO: Best of Show

     *   Shenzhen International Watercolor Biennial 2014 Exhibition: Shenzhen       City, Guangdong Prov., China

     *   National Watercolor Society 2014-15 International Watecolor Exhibition. San Pedro, California. Combined Donors Award IX . Painting selected for the NWS 2015 Travel exhibition.

     *   148th American Watercolor Society 2015 International Watercolor Exhibition. New York City, NY: painting excepted into show after 25 years of entering the exhibition.

     *   47th Watercolor West 2015 International Juried Exhibition, Brea, CA: Signature Members Award.

     *   Shenzhen International Watercolour Biennial – National Watercolor Society International Small Image Exchange Exhibition. 2015-2016. The small watercolor toured China in 2015 and then returned to NWS in San Pedro, CA in 2016.

     *   41st Annual Exhibition of Western Federation of Watercolor Societies 2016, Arvada, CO: CWS and WFWS Signature Members Award.

     *   25th Annual Colorado Watercolor Society 2016 Exhibition, Arvada, CO: 4th Place Award.


     For the most part, this web site is dedicated to my workshops, schedules and displaying some of the latest images that I have created on my easel here at “527” Belford, thus the title for this page.  While the business end of painting is the reason for this posting, there are some other things going on in my life and in the world of watercolor art that I’d like to share from time to time.  So, I’m going to give this forum a try.   

     It’s time to slow down!  I have found teaching 15-20 workshops a year to be a bit too much for me to handle. Starting in 2017, I will have a limited workshop schedule. I will only schedule 4-6 workshops a year.  The 2017 schedule is complete and I expect  to have my 2018 schedule finished by mid-summer.

Images displayed on this website are property of Francese Watercolors.  Any reproduction or use of these images without the explicit written consent of the artist is prohibited.