Five Questions for Watercolorist Fabio Cembranelli

Another new artist for us in 2018 will be Brazillian-based Fabio Cembranelli! We’ve had so many of you recommend him as a terrific watercolor instructor and his workshop has certainly created plenty of buzz on our Facebook page! In advance of his workshop, Fabio took the time to let us know a bit more about his background and art practice.

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
FC: I’m an architect by training, although I’ve never worked as one. One year before my graduation I started learning watercolor technique at the University of Architecture and Urbanism, in São Paulo (USP) just to add some colors and interest to my projects. It was an acessory to represent my projects but when I handled a brush for the first time I noticed that I wanted to use this medium to portray much more than a project illustration; it was the right tool to express my feelings. 
A few teachers at the University showed me the basic principles of watercolor, so after that I started painting and learning by myself as I wanted to develop the technique in another way (not only as an illustration resource), so I started trying and trying to paint in watercolor every evening, just as a hobby.

Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time? If the former, how do you balance that? If the later, how do you decide which one to start next? 
FC: I work one at a time. My style is intuitive with an spontaneous approach to the subject, painted in a wet on wet style. I like to portray the essential of each subject: a light effect, a colorful contrast, an interesting play between hard and soft edges, foreground and background. All these things are very important to each artist but the difference in my technique is that I aim to make an intuitive painting very quickly. Timing is very important in my technique so I must start and finish in a couple of hours each piece. It’s an emotional work, I wouldn’t be able to work in many pieces at the same time, it’s an intense and unique process.

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
FC: I teach workshops around the world, so most of my inspiration comes from my travels. Each country has specific flowers, skies, greens, buildings, and mood. There are beautiful, sometimes gray skies in Scotland, for example, quite different from the golden light of Australia.There are wonderful and exotic flowers in South Africa and they are different from flowers from France or Canada. Fall in New York state is so different, not the same colors of anywhere in South America. As an artist I am exposed to all these influences. 

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
FC: That’s my job, my work, I paint everyday and I love sharing my painting experience, so teaching is something very important in my life too. My artwork is colorful and vibrant and I aim to cause some kind of reaction in each viewer. I hope they are attracted by the diversity of colors, shapes, light and shadow effects. I want them to feel a joyful sensation, how interesting and particular is my way of portraying a subject.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
FC: My painting technique is a challenge, I take a risk everyday. 
I don’t draw everything in my paintings. I want something unexpected to happen during my painting process. I need to feel that I am working in a subtle line between a good piece and a bad one. My preferred paintings are those painted intuitively. Like a challenge, I need to discover the best paths at the moment I am painting. 
In a business sense I am a bit more careful, I get a lot of invitations to teach but I think I have a “feeling” about what’s worth or not. Maybe this “feeling” came after 15 years of experience but when you are invited to teach or exhibit your work, try to check all info about who is inviting you. Take a few risks, some risks are worth to (a new country or a new workshop venue) but try to be as professional, transparent, and honest as you can. In general, I believe that good people “attract” good people, and also in the business world. 

Learn more about Fabio’s workshop here.
Find out more about Fabio on his website and give him a follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube.