Your Subtitle text

Experience a Francese Watercolor Workshop

The signature of a Francese watercolor is his use of big shapes, color, color and more color!  No matter where a Francese watercolor is displayed, it will radiate a flash of color that literally jumps off the wall, immediately capturing the eye of the casual observer and art critic alike.

Francese brings a new style to the time tested combination of color and interesting shapes. His style employs the use of large brushes and a wet-on-wet method where in much of the color mixing is accomplished on the paper. Frank's technique often produces brilliant, at other times subtle, and always unique shades of color.  The only limits are the artist’s imagination and willingness to experiment with every combination of color on his palette.

Color provides the stage for the artist’s performance; shapes provide the characters. Detail is only used after the color and big shapes, positive and negative, are in place.  Francese states “One must not over do the detail in any painting.  It should be using it sparingly and with great thought. I have seen many paintings where the artist used too much detail, thinking that is the key to a great painting.” The goal of a Francese workshop is to teach artists of all skill levels to combine color, shape and then detail into a unique work of art.

Workshop Structure

The Francese Watercolor Workshop consists of either three or five days of classroom instruction. That classroom may be inside of a building, at a streams edge or on a city street. Each day includes two demonstrations, the morning demonstration at 9 am and a second afternoon demonstration at 12:30pm. The demonstration will be 40-60 minutes in length, leaving the student to have ample time to work on their painting using the subject matter of that day’s demonstration.

Attendees of a five day workshop will experience the following schedule:

Day one
Nature scenes: painting the quiet beauty of the high country; using mountains, trees, streams, lakes in a winter setting. The objective of this exercise is for the student to learn to apply the paint freely on the page and to start understanding how to use the white of the paper. When using transparent watercolor there is no white paint, so one must use the white of the paper to fulfill requirement for that color.


Day two
Country scenes: painting the rustic scenes that may include old barns, farm houses, silos, small villages/towns or other structures. The students will take the previous day exercise and place man-made structures in the natural landscape.  Also at this time, the concepts of a light source and shadowing will be introduced.         


Day three
City Scenes: painting the colorful street scenes, that will include cars, buildings, people, buses, street signals, signs, etc. The students are advised to carefully study all of the exciting little things one finds in a city scene and use them wisely. The trick to this exercise is determining what to include in your painting and, as importantly, what to leave out.


Day four
Beach scenes: painting the beaches, boats and buildings in the tropics, the confusion of a harbor scene with fishing boats, heavy equipment and working people; or the quite sea villages in any part of the world.


Day five
Nature Moods: The morning demonstration will consist of painting clouds, heavy with moisture; using any subject matter we have explored that week. The afternoon demonstration will consist of painting nature’s extremes: stormy skies, rain, wind, and snow, etc.


With a three day workshop all of the above mentioned subjects will be covered in the shorter period of time.

Day one
Morning demonstration will cover Nature Scenes. The afternoon demonstration will cover country scenes.

Day two
Both demonstrations will consist of painting city scenes.

Day three
The morning demonstration will consist of painting beach scenes. The afternoon demonstration will consist of painting nature’s moods/storms.  Students may paint any subject matter they choose; on any size paper they desire. The most important thing a student can bring to class is a good attitude.

 Sketching or Drawing
"the Blueprint for a Masterpiece"

The Artist says.....

I believe it is very important for anyone wanting to learn the painting process to take time, before each painting, to sketch a value plan for the piece of work you are about to start.  I know a lot of painters that can start a painting but very few who know how to finish one.  This exercise will teach you how 'to see' the end.

To create a value sketch I use a Sharpie fine point pen  to create a contour drawing.  I then complete my value planning using the AD Markers value pens.  They are numbered 1 thru 10 with the number one pen being the lightest and the number ten pen being the darkest value.

The time you spend sketching your subject will be rewarded ten-fold when the time comes to start applying paint to the paper.  It will also teach you how to look, to see what is important and how I can create the image I see in my mind, with the tools at hand.  We will design the composition for your painting in black and white including your lights and darks which we call values.  It is better to make your mistakes on drawing paper than on an expensive watercolor sheet.  Also remember, when you are sketching outdoors, one must eliminate most of the confusing details and look for large, interlocking shapes.


Francese Watercolor Workshop

Recommended Materials List


I frequently get inquiries regarding exactly what materials attendees should bring with them to the workshop.  The list below is a compendium of the material I normally utilize during the course of a five day workshop. If you have favorite brands of paint, brushes and paper, please feel free to use them.  While this is not an endorsement for any particular brand of material, all of the items listed below can be obtained on line or by calling:

Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff (CJAS)



        You should bring a 2”, a 1 ½”, a 1” and a ¾” flat brush.  I use the Joe Miller Pseudo Squirrel for the two larger flats.  For the smaller sizes there are several quality brushes including the CJAS Natural.

You will also need a #3, #7 and # 12 Round Point.  CJAS Dragon’s Tongue



        American Journey Watercolor Paint (25 colors) has strong colors and large, 37 ml tubes.  Again, there are many quality brands of paint available.  Please bring what you normally use (colors and brand).



        I use a 140# cold press paper.  Kilimanjaro, Waterford, Fabrano and Arches all manufacture that product.


Sketch Book and Accessories

        Please have value sketch pens with you.  A Chart Pak,  made by AD Markers,  includes # 3-5-6-7 value pens which should suffice.  You will need a painting board with bulldog clips to fasten the paper at the corners only.  Also make sure you have water containers, paper towels, sponges, your palette and any other items you normally use when you create your masterpieces.


Plein Air

        If the workshop is advertised to be an outdoor event, make sure you have an easel and a chair and any other items you may use in such a setting.