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Roberto Zangarelli in Cascais-day 1

In February 2024, we participated in an exciting workshop with Roberto Zangarelli in Cascais, Portugal. Roberto Zangarelli is a distinguished Italian watercolor artist and graphic illustrator from Rome, born in 1970. He has a distinct vision for watercolor painting based on three fundamental principles: atmosphere (representing the painting’s story), magic (stimulating curiosity), and risk (forcing the gesture).

Zangarelli’s work has been exhibited in both Italian and international galleries, and he has collaborated with a range of art magazines. He has also illustrated covers for books on painting, worked with companies that produce watercolor paper, and launched his own set of brushes. Through his teaching in watercolor at the Association Aquarelle Art Studio in Rome, he emphasizes the importance of having fun while painting and that knowledge of technique in each discipline is important, but equally important is the ability to express oneself.

We all met in the lobby of the Baia Hotel in Cascais, myself, Greta, Margarida, who is organizing the event, Roberto and his wife, and 16 ladies, most of them from Portugal. We went down a flight of stairs to the venue, which was set up with benches with boards, small buckets, and a wooden block for the right inclination of the board.

Roberto spoke very little English, which meant he only said the most important things at each moment, which worked well. He started by showing a substantial bundle of his watercolors.

Robertos akvareller
Roberto laid out many of his watercolors for viewing.

The participants then got to choose by a show of hands which reference photo he would start with for the demonstration. We had all received a few photos via email a couple of days before. We chose a tram in Lisbon.

The reference photos we had to choose from.

Roberto first sketched in pencil, then we got to sketch. After that, he painted the first layer depicting the buildings in the background. Roberto divided the painting into several stages so that we all could keep up.

Robertos spårvagn.
My first layer and the finished tram to the right, somewhat overworked, not as light and effortless as Roberto’s.

After lunch, we painted portraits (a dark-skinned woman with big hair). Here, Roberto had pre-sketched the face for all of us, which was very helpful, as it allowed us to focus solely on the painting instead of worrying about the sketch.

Again, Roberto divided the painting process into small stages: the sketch, the light first layer, another layer, and then the hair.

Roberto demonstrates how to paint portraits, light and effortless.

Roberto concluded the day with a quick painting of flowers, very rapid, just a few minutes, and using only cerulean and magenta. Then, each of us was given a ticket by Roberto’s wife, and the person with the ticket that had a smiley face on it won the painting. It was a fun idea, and one of the many ladies won the picture.

Next day – day two

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