The New “Francese” Workshop

Starting in 2018 I intend to cut back on the number of workshops I will teach each year.  I am also planning to change up the format I’ve used in the past years and attempt to tailor each workshop more to the points of interest at the venue in which the workshop is being held. 

My workshops traditionally focus on these five basic subject matters or scenes; nature, country, city, beaches and nature’s moods.  While I will continue to use those five genres, they will not be given equal attention as I have done in the past.  My new approach will focus on the areas of interest which exist in and around the venue (location) of the workshop.

By way of examples:  If the workshop is being conducted in Colorado, I will concentrate on the beauty of the high country; in New England, perhaps its change of seasons.  If the workshop is being held in a coastal city of say, California, I will concentrate on beach and city scenes with a possible foray into a national park such as Yosemite to provide relevant subject matter.  If the workshop is being held in middle America, rural scenes will likely be the prominent focus.

Nature’s moods are everywhere, but the violent summer thunderstorm of America’s plains is different than the coastal shower along our ocean beaches.  Once again, the venue will drive the focus of workshop and should provide an exciting, new approach for my teaching efforts.

Multi-media instruction

This year I will also be getting into the use of multi-water media.  As mentioned in the Dry Creek Studio page, I have been experimenting with the use of acrylic paint as a base and then applying transparent watercolors on top of the acrylic base.  I have then ‘finished’ the image, adding detail using opaque (gouache) paints.  The results have been quite exciting.

The combination of the three mediums opens a whole new world to the watercolor artist.  You might say that I’ve had my “Eureka” moment, discovering that there is a whole new world outside that of pure transparent watercolor art.

Classroom Flow

My workshops generally hold to a seven-hour day (depending on the requirements of the venue/sponsor).  I will begin the class at about 9:00AM with my first demonstration of the day followed by a period for attendees to paint their first image.  Following lunch (@12:30PM)      I will complete a second demonstration followed by a working period and a group critique at about 3:00 PM.

Using the new format, the class will no longer be ‘tied’ to a strict schedule allowing us to spend more (or less) time on one particular subject, driven in part by the interests of the class.  This schedule will hold for both the three and five-day workshops.

Required materials
Here are some recommendations/requirements for materials you will want to have on hand for use at the workshop. 

  *   Paint: For transparent water colors I use twenty five colors by American Journey.  Feel free to choose your own colors.  Any professional brand of paint will be fine but stay away from student quality paint. I use American Journey Acrylics, large tubes.  M. Graham Artist’s gouache rounds out the paint requirements.

  *   Brushes:  I use a different set of brushes for each medium as they will be affected differently by the type of paint.  For the transparent water color I use Miller Pseudo Squirrel brushes.  I use #6, #8 & #12 round brushes and ¾, 1 ½ flat brushes by Silver Black Velvet.  Any professional brand is acceptable for the 2 inch flat.  For the acrylics I use a white nylon #16 (1 ½ inch) and an American Interlock 1 ¼ brush.  You will want a second set of these brushes for the gouache medium as well.

*   Paper:  For transparent water color work I use Arches Natural White Rough, 140 pound, 22 x 30 inches (Arches Cold Press paper is also fine).  For the acrylic medium any 300 pound professional paper will do.  American Journey hard bound sketch books work fine as does Velum #67 paper.  (Whatever you use at home is totally acceptable.)​

….extra credit if your lunchbox has a picture of the Lone Ranger or Roy Rogers on the front!!  

At the center of the Valley is Santa Clara county seat, San Jose, where the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society (SCVWS) conducts its workshops in the historic Hoover theater.  The SCVWS is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year with a series of events and workshops and it will be my sincere pleasure to participate.

The Society has an excellent web site with additional information about the organization, including detailed schedules of upcoming events at their facility.                                                                                                             F. Francese

Notes from your Instructor

I have been working with Judi Patti since 1998.  I can say without hesitation that her Studio and workshop program are one of the most professional businesses with which I have had the pleasure to work with over many years. 

The Date:       12-16 August 2019
The Sponsor: Cheap Joe's Art Workshops
The Venue:     Cheap Joe’s Art Center
                         374 Industrial Drive,
                         Boone, North Carolina  28607
The Event:      Landscape Workshop
Your Host:      Edwina Mae:  Director
Contact Info:  800-227-2788

The Society also sponsors the annual Mary Straight scholarship open to high school or college students who wish to further their knowledge and skills in the world of art.  Additional information can be found on the Society's excellent web site at:

Note:  UWS will not be accepting registration for this workshop until summer of 2019.

  Notes from your Instructor

I am extremely pleased to announce that once again I will be participating in San Diego Watercolor Society’s workshop series.  The Society has been actively promoting the art of water media in the San Diego area and the rest of the country since 1965.  The Society and its nearly 700 members have one of the premier facilities for promoting the arts found anywhere in the world.  The facility, located near San Diego International Airport in the Art District in the Point Loma area, has room for a gallery, workshops, classrooms as well as a reference library for use by artists of all skill levels.

The Date:       30 September - 4 October 2019
The Sponsor: Utah Watercolor Society
The Venue:     Sons of Utah Pioneer Bldg.
                         3301 East 2920 South (Louise Ave.)
                         Salt Lake City, UT 84109
The Event:      Landscape Workshop
Your Host:      Jennifer Love, UWS President
Contact Info:  801-244-8302

Cheap Joe’s is literally the ‘Mall of America” for all things watercolor as well as supplies for other artistic media.  In addition to being one of America’s premier art supply outlets, Cheap Joe’s conducts art workshops late April through October each year at its facility high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North                                                                                      

The Date:        5 – 8 November 2018
The Sponsor:  Santa Clara Watercolor Society
The Venue:     The Historic Hoover Theater
                          San Jose, California
The Event:       Landscape Workshop
Workshop Registrar:  Jeanne de Compos-Rousseau
Contact Info:    PO Box 403 Ben Lomond, CA  95005
                          email -


The Date:       5-6-7 October 2018
The Sponsor: Judi Patti Studio
The Venue:     Judi Patti Studio
                        Littleton, Colorado
The Event:      Landscape Workshop
Your Host:      Judi Patti: Proprietor & Workshop Director
Contact Info:  303-798-1345

Notes from your Instructor

This will be my second opportunity to visit to the Santa Clara Watercolor Society’s workshop program.  The Santa Clara Valley is located just south of San Francisco Bay, extending from the edge of the Bay southeast to the agricultural fields of Hollister, California.  The valley is bounded by the Santa Cruz mountains on the southwest and the Diablo Range on the northeast.    The northern end of the Valley includes the technical juggernaut known as Silicon Valley while the southern end remains primarily agricultural. 

Notes from your Instructor

It’s always a pleasure for me to go back to the mountains of North Carolina.  Joe Miller, aka “Cheap Joe” has been one of my sponsors for several years and I enjoy visiting old friends as well as art students from the area.

Carolina.  It’s a place well worth visiting even if you’re not an artist!  During the workshop season, each week features a guest artist conducting the four or five-day workshop.  Media varies with the genre of the hosting instructor.

Contact information is available above and additional information about Cheap Joe’s, including their workshop schedules, can be found at          
                                                                                                                               F. Francese            

The Date:       10-14 September 2018
The Sponsor: San Diego Watercolor Society
The Venue:     ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station
                        Point Loma/San Diego, California
The Event:      Landscape Workshop
Your Host:      Lori Hinton; Workshop Director
Contact Info:  email:

The Schedules and Venues

Francese Watercolor Workshops

The Society holds monthly meetings wherein established artists from all over the nation as well as in Utah demonstrate their skills, techniques and knowledge to attendees.  Workshops may be conducted in their local facilities as well as in various plein-air sites which take full advantage of Utah's colorful outdoors.

classes on a weekly basis and maintains and extensive inventory of art supplies for artists of all skill levels.  Judi also does custom framing for the art you may have created in one of her workshops or other images you might wish to have professionally framed for display at home or your place of business.  She also maintains an excellent, informative web site at www.judipatti.comwhich includes additional information about her class and workshop schedules as well as contact information concerning the Studio events.  Contact information is also included in the “Schedule’ page of this website.                F. Francese

“Fun” is the single word that probably best describes an experience one might have at the Judi Patti Studio.  Judi’s business is located in Littleton, Colorado, a popular suburb on the western side of the Denver metropolis.  The Judi Patti Studio might be more accurately described as a ‘full-service art center.  In addition to hosting workshops, Judi instructs multi-media   

The non-profit organization conducts numerous events each year including a large international show bringing in artists from all over the world.  Additionally, the Society holds a juried show monthly from which the chosen art pieces become part of a display at their large gallery.  Viewers of the display have a voice in selection of the winner of each monthly show, voting for the “People’s Choice” image for each month.

The SCVWS began as gathering of watercolor painters who would gather on a regular basis to socialize and paint outdoor landscape scenes in the local area.  While that practice continues, their mission has expanded to include expanding interest in the water art mediums and to improve the skills of its members and local artists through the use of workshops, classes and demonstrations conducted by well-known artists from across the country.

The society has its offices at 308 Sherwood Way in Menlo Park, California.  The organization maintains several outstanding web sites including a Facebook page which includes a plethora of information about the organization, its history and its planned events.  Those sites are well worth a visit.        
       F. Francese

Images and content of these pages are copyright material and the sole property of Frank Francese.  Reproduction of use of the material for any purpose without the artist's permission is prohibited.

Notes from your Instructor

In the fall of next year, I will have an opportunity to work with the Utah Watercolor Society, conducting a workshop at their facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.  This will be my first chance to work with this organization and it will be a real honor to add my name to the long list of distinguished artists who have conducted workshops sponsored by this group of artists. 

The Utah Watercolor Society was founded forty five years ago, on December 30th, 1974.  It was created for the purpose of promoting watercolor art and establishing it as a 'standalone' discipline among the other artistic media.  The organization sponsors several exhibitions each year to promote and display the work of its  members and other artists residing in the state of Utah.