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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > March 19 > Watercolour in one stroke

Watercolour in one stroke

Francesco Fontana demonstrates that less is more with his one-stroke watercolour method, with exercises for you to try

Francesco Fontana has a BA in Fine Art and is a co-founder of Fare Pittura Atelier in Milan, where he regularly teaches life drawing, oil and watercolour classes. He has also tutored workshops across Italy and France, as well as Bali and the US. He has exhibited widely and won many awards for his work.

Afew years ago I attended a Chinese calligraphy workshop. The instructor told this story: The king asked the court artist to make a memorable painting to celebrate his majesty. A year later the artist had not created anything, saying he needed time to reach the perfection the king deserved. Ten years passed and finally the artist was ready. He stood in the imperial hall, before the king and his dignitaries; he dipped his huge brush in the paint pot, took a deep breath, stepped forward to the canvas and laid a large brushstroke. The brush danced on the surface for long seconds before leaving the canvas. Everyone in the hall held their breath. Was the painter going to paint a second stroke? The painting was stunning already, so powerful. It didn't call for more! A second stroke might have destroyed its beauty. The artist put down the brush and walked out, exhausted. The king realised how much energy was concentrated in that single brushstroke. His majestic grandeur couldn't have been better celebrated than that perfect, essential and unrepeatable artistic expression. Ten years hadn't passed in vain.

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About The Artist

Take your drawing and painting to the next level with inspiration, guidance and advice from this month's top contributing artists and tutors. Cover artist, David Parfitt, shares how it's possible to work through a non-productive period to paint your best painting yet. Haidee-Jo Summers invites you to paint everyday, unarranged objects to discover more about design and composition. We also include demonstrations showing how to apply the one-stroke watercolour method, use a variety of techniques to enliven your watercolours, paint silver objects and reflections in acrylics, achieve the texture of rocky landscapes in pastels, use photographs as a memory aid, bring a portrait to life in oils, capture animals' expressions, and much more. Whatever your subject matter or preferred medium, there's something for everyone, and when you've created your best work, enter our 2019 open competition for a chance to see your work exhibited, published in The Artist, and win one of 40 prizes worth over £17,000!