Painting Nature Scenes by Frank Francese

Welcome to Artist Palette Productions at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff!

I learned my craft by painting local nature scenes. I would go out on location and just take some color and start laying it in. I really like Aspen trees (or Birch trees as people in the west call them).

I like to start off with some really interesting wonderful color and let the paint mix on the page. It's much more exciting that way. You can spend 5 minutes mixing a color in your palette and by the time you get it on your palette it probably won't work.

Just have fun. Don't try to control it, because if you do you'll run into all sorts of problems with this.

First I have to get the color in here and let it mix and dry a little bit. When the shine goes off of the paper when it gets wet, when you put water and paint on the page it will sit on the surface until the paper opens up and accepts the color.

What I can do now to save some time is I can block in some dark trees. Paint your group of trees as one unit, then you can go back and fine tune and showcase a certain area of certain tree. I started with a green, then I went to a purple and I went into a red over here. Let's see what happens here.

Just work the brush any which way. I like to stand up when I paint, then I get the action from my shoulder, as opposed to sitting down where the action would come from my elbow.

I like to try all sorts of different mixtures. If someone tells me I can't use a color with this color I often ask myself "why?" You're in charge of this business so you should be able to use any color you prefer. So who knows what will happen when you start mixing these colors together, but just have fun. That's where exciting paintings come from - when people take a chance.

Let's try scraping now. I use a butter knife because you can get a very thin scrape by how you hold it on the point, or if you hold it on it's edge you can get a very wide scrape.

For this size I think it will be just fine to go in like this. See how easy that is? What I'm doing is scraping the paint away from the paper. Here I'll put in a few upright limbs.

I don't like to take too much time to paint. I think the faster you paint these things the better off they are. Try not to think too much. I think that has ruined more paintings - procrastination. Just jump right in, be bold, be fast, and enjoy the process.

I'll put some uprights here like this, and smaller branches like this.

Whatever I have in my palette I'll just pick in and lay in very quickly for the water. I like to get in some different colors in here.

If you like a color, by all means use it. This brush will not do anything until you tell it to.

Where the water meets the bank and the snow, we'll soften that edge up. Hold your brush upright and pull it directly across.

Now we're going to do some reflections of what's happening up here.

Let's grab some of our colors from the top and just pull it straight down and let the color mix on the page. I'll come in with a little red, and our darks. Be sure to paint your darks more dark than you think you'll need.

Let's have a color journey here folks, and have an exciting painting when we're done!

What we can do next is soften this along here. We want it to look very very wintery and cold.

If you wanted to, you can also take your butter knife and scrape a few images in here if you like. Now once again I'll come up here and drag my brush across the snow bank on the waterline.

That should complete this exercise.

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