Attending a Nancy Franke workshop has been on my bucket list for a couple of years now. I put my name on the cancellation list and fortunately, due to some cancellations, I was notified two weeks before it started that I got in! It was a two-day Ease and Flow Paint a la Prima workshop in Highlands NC.
Nancy paints with a very limited palette of Titanium White, Cadmium Lemon, Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red Medium. She loves linen canvases or panels and her favorite brush is a #12 long flat Rosemary brush. I was introduced to Rosemary Brushes three years ago and have several of them so I already had on hand what she suggested we might want to think about using. After lightly drawing her composition with vine charcoal she uses her egbert brush to form the flowers or foliage on her canvas. Here is her beautiful floral demo along with a photo of her still-life setup that she did for us the first morning. I think the canvas size is 30x24.
The first thing she had us do is paint a still-life setup of three pears with ONLY a paper towel dipped in Gamsol and then in our squeezed out paints. No brushes allowed! I won't bore you with my pitiful rendition, but try it for yourself! She gave us 30 minutes to do this and it is interesting what you can come up with. Then she gave us another timed session of 45 minutes and I painted these white roses with my #12 Rosemary flat on a 14"x11" linen canvas. It is my favorite piece of the five panels that I painted those two days.
Next we painted some hydrangeas in another timed session of just a little over an hour. Let's just say I got carried away and my hydrangeas are about twice the size they should be!
The next morning she produced a beautiful demo of a little girl on a 24"x18" canvas. She spent more than 30 minutes drawing and redrawing this little girl. She did not like what she drew and wiped it all off and started all over again until she got what she wanted. She said to figure it out before you commit!
My big takeaways from Nancy are to use BIG brushes i.e size 10 for a 6"x6" canvas, size 12 for larger canvases, negative space on your canvas is your friend and most importantly be free and expressive and have FUN doing it.
She is a petite little thing but energizes you with her infectious spirit and immense talent. Her workshops are FUN. I encourage you to study with her if you get the chance. Here is a parting shot of Nancy and me at the end of the workshop.