PAINTING TIPS By John DeFrancesco

February 2014

PAINTING TIPS  By John DeFrancesco

Following are some tips gleaned from a three-hour DVD titled: “WHEN YOU CAN’T PAINT OUT –Painting Landscapes from Photos in the Studio,” by oil painter Jim Wilcox. You can see his work at

  • Tree shadows are strongest nearest the tree and become softer as they move outward from the tree.
  • In doing holes in trees, it’s best to do so last. The smaller holes will be darkest, larger holes match the color of what is behind (such as sky).
  • The closest evergreens will be more colorful and highlighted.
  • More impasto in foreground, less in background. Bigger, bolder strokes in foreground. Thicker paint in lights.
  • Snow is usually warmer and darker than you think it is, except where the sun is at right angles to the snow.
  • When doing snow on ground, don’t forget to include snow on trees.
  • In snow where there is rolling land, it is darkest next to the lightest, the value changes as it moves outward from there.
  • There are subtle things going on in the darks; look closely.
  • For distant hills, you can achieve roundness by showing reflected color of sky at the top. Also make tops softer with a mix of sky and hill colors and also by softening edges between the hills and the sky.
  • Using brushes: Use all edges of the brush. One friend of his did more pushing of paint with brush than pulling. But, it is more important to focus on getting the right color in the right place.Don’t paint the paint…apply the paint.
  • Wilcox uses mostly #6 and #3 brushes. He uses several of each so he doesn’t need to clean so much, using a clean brush for different colors. For very large paintings he uses #12 or #14.