Italy Invites the World to Celebrate Watercolor

    Fabriano In Acquarello 2018 drew watercolor masters and enthusiasts from around the globe.

    Fabriano in Aquarello was established eight years ago to unite the world of watercolor by creating a place to display an international selection of watercolor paintings and a forum for exchanging ideas and techniques. The ideal home for the event, the town of Fabriano and its namesake paper manufacturer, have been making paper for over 700 years.

    The event was attended by more than 1,000 artists from 60 different countries, with the paintings exhibited in 48 spots around the medieval city. In addition to the various exhibitions, the event offered demonstrations, conferences, and workshops with masters from around the globe.

    Several of our American Watercolor advisors were in attendance. Here’s what a couple had to say about the experience.

    Keiko Tanabe and Jean Pederson in Fabriano, Italy

    Keiko Tanabe: I ran into Jean Pederson in the main town square of Fabriano, Italy. Considering how crowded it was with hundreds of artists and visitors who flocked to the town for the Fabriano In Aquarello international watercolor celebrations, it was really great we found each other. Between commitments in the UK and Spain, I was able to spend only 24 hours there, but it was well worth it. Virtually every minute, without any exaggeration, I met watercolor artists that I knew from past encounters or from Facebook. I was constantly saying hello and giving hugs to someone I recognized. At the same time, I met or was introduced to many new people who I had the pleasure of getting to know. The weather was fine, with occasional rain, but artists of all nationalities were everywhere setting up to paint en plein air.

    Keiko with her plein air painting

    The exhibition component of the festivities was also well planned and displayed in several venues near the town center, showcasing a wide variety of talent, style, subject matter, and perhaps most importantly, the power and potential of watermedia. The visit was very educational, inspiring, and entertaining to say the least. I only arranged to go at the last minute so I was not an official demo artist, but the organizers asked me to do a special demo en plein air, which was a huge honor and a fantastic opportunity for me to express my joy of being there.

    Jean Pederson: I was able to take a tour of Italian paper maker Lorenzo Santoni’s shop. He is a master paper maker and is a one-man operation, using handmade traditions of Fabriano. He showed us the large vats of pulp with various mixtures, screens of various sizes, cloths, and press. He makes traditional handmade paper, as well as artistic sheets with relief, embossing, and embedded objects.

    Lorenzo Santoni demonstrating his watercolor paper making process
    The energy of the event was second to none and Organizer Anna Massinissa InQuota is amazing.
    Many artists were plein air painting in the streets.


    Although this was my second time to Fabriano, I saw new places, artwork and met new friends.

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    Kelly Kane
    PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


    1. I was also fortunate to go to Fabriano with Chris Krupinski(who was an exhibitor) and Janet Belich. We ran into Jean and Keiko too. The whole international experience was awesome….seeing all the gorgeous art displayed in amazing venues, watching masters demo continuously, enjoying the charm of a true European town, and best of all meeting artists from all over the world and making so many international friends. Our art world is so wonderful, and the country leaders and organizers who put Fabriano in Acquarello together did a monumental job. It was a dream trip for all who were able to attend. BRAVO!!

    2. I am also a participant of this beautiful exhibition! I am so happy to meet new friends-artists. And I am very happy to meet Jean Pederson!


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