Thursday, November 29, 2018

Limitations Open New Doors

The shocking truth behind new points o views

Today a younger friend came to see my watercolor showcase in Milan. He was in town for a day to meet his oculist. I had with him probably the longest conversation about my painting I can remember. He asked a lot of questions about the making. He made comments about aspects most people never notice. It's amazing how your cityscapes have such a prospective depth -- he said. How can you make the background look so  distant?

Then a small figure as tall as a finger nail, placed in a street scene, caught his attention. Look how that guy's looking a that shop window! How do you do that? I was happy to share some of my technique and secrets. Don't worry -- he said -- I'll never be your competition, I am terrible at art!

Almost two hours later, we headed to a quick lunch in the november sun of Milan. At the restaurant I thanked him for his many insights. They were different and meaningful. He's answer almost shocked me. You know Francesco, I see differently. One of the reason I fly to Milan regularly to meet this eye specialist is that I am color blind.

Thanks for reading. You're comment is very welcome! -- Francesco

PS. Today I definitely learned that limitations open the door to new points of view.

PPS. By the way if you want to know more about how to create the illusion of distance in a city scape, consider attending one of my workshops. You can also train your eye with some of my paintings.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Solitude Will Save My Life

Can we escape the noise of the world?

Saturday I took my girls to the mall. It's Black Friday week end, and Christmas is approaching. They couldn’t wait to go shopping. The huge place was packed, and walking through almost impossible. The girls had to patiently stand in line to able to access they fave store. I thought: we are crazy, never again. The world is running straight to self-destruction!

Lonely  Mountain - Watercolor,  Francesco Fontana 2018
Away from the crazy crowd! Boy raised in the city and loving it, for the first time I could consider moving to the countryside. Isolation is perhaps not so terrible. After all, an artist needs silence to listen to his soul. Yet world can still chase you into your restroom! As long as you hold your smartphone, the noise of the crowd strikes again. Can we escape it?

For sure I understand that the older I get, the more I appreciate solitude. 

Thanks for reading, Your comment is very welcome!-- Francesco

PS. Ok, maybe you already live in a quite place and I followed you in the bathroom with this letter. In my defense I say that we artists are the weak link in the chain, compared to big businesses, we re small creatures trying to save themselves from extinction. Yet we create beauty (not beauty creams), products for the care of soul. Please feel free to enjoy some of them and consider experience some quality time in my workshops.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Why Talent is Overrated

Do art students really love painting?

Gazebo - Francesco Fontana, watercolor, 2018
Some time ago I spent an entire morning cutting about 100 canvases of old studio students and throw them in the trash bin. These were works of students who gave up classes at least a year ago. The fact that these guys left their efforts behind and never showed back to pick their paintings and drawings, was very sad to me. I thought they don't love what they did. The clearing process involved a review of each of these paintings and drawings and let me tell you, some are more than decent pieces. So I decided to save a bunch of the best ones. Some were confiscate by my 10 yo daughter Flora: don't rip that dad, I like it, give to me!

So today I've learned that skill and talent don't make you a good painter. Love does.

Thanks for reading. Your comment is very welcome!


PS. Of course there are many students around the world who are enthusiastic about their experience with my workshops. And many who love and collect my paintings
PPS. Use this Golden Friday week end to make your self a gift at a reduced price

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Summer 2018 Plein Air Watercolor Paintings, Part 2

These watercolors are part of the paintings I have created during several fantastic trips in Europe and America this past summer.  They are all made on location and are available for your collection (some already gone to new homes!). They are of different size, price range from $300 to $900. Please drop me a line at for a specific quote.

White Church -- Porto Cesareo, Puglia, Italy

The Wine Bar -- Lecce, Puglia, Italy

Looking up at the Sky - Puglia, Italy

Ponte dee Guglie -- Venice, Italy

Church in Northern France - France

The Water Well at the Ghetto - Venice, Italy (SOLD)

Bridge Near San Barnaba - Venice, Italy (SOLD)

Restaurant at the Ghetto - Venice, Italy (SOLD)

San Giorgio from Giudecca - Venice, Italy

Sunday Wall at the Castello - Parco Sempione, Milan, Italy

Monte Cuccio (The Horns of Palermo) - Palermo, Sicily
Painted from a sail boat

View More Summer Paintings - Part 1

Friday, September 28, 2018

Summer 2018 Plein Air Watercolor Paintings Part 1

These watercolors are part of the paintings I have created during several fantastic trips in Europe and America this past summer.  They are all made on location and are available for your collection (some already gone to new homes!). They are of different size, price range from $300 to $900. Please drop me a line at for a specific quote. 
Nino will come back -- Palermo, Sicily

Feet on the ground -- Puglia, Italy

Fish day at Rialto -- Venice, Italy

Let's call it a day (behind the fish market) -- Venice, Italy

Siesta time -- Polignano a Mare, Italy

Flying over Captree Beach -- Long Island, NY

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Writing a non-story

This newsletter is the result of a failure. This is not what I wrote yesterday. I spent hours writing something that sounded meaningful to me.

I began writing about what I am up to with my art, to then find myself face to a very sensitive subject. Issues and feelings that can affect many of us my same age, going to turn 60 this year. So it would be worth sharing them, even though not the ideal contents that pro marketers would suggest.

But I cannot review the text. Every time I try, I end up too emotional. I let the hours pass, but I still  fear going back to that copy. So this one your are reading now can easely be considered a non-story, or a poor informative message.

I guess I'll do better next time!

For now a feel the duty to let you know that I updated my website with a new selection of paintings. Each of them is accompanied by a short story. There you might find more inspiring and funny stories than this! Just click on the pics.

Thanks for reading, Francesco

PS. The page is Mid April Oil & Watercolor Show -- online just untill next Sunday, April 15, 2018, PST. Do not procrastinate your visit to

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Today I Have Learned That

Words Can Change Your Life  

I am one of the top reviewers on Trip Advisor. I started posting comments on hotels as a passing time. Then airlines and restaurants. And before I knew it, I got on the top 15% experts in the Milan area, with a worldwide readership of 16,500 --  one third from the USA. 

It feels good to say thanks publicly

Knowing that my most popular single review (over 2,000 people) is a terrible story about an airline I won't mention here, makes me feel so responsible. At the same time It feels good to say publicily thanks to the staff who had run the extra mile to help me in other difficult circumstances. But was I objective in both cases?

Hard to change a 
first bad impression

Now days our reputation is somehow out of our control more than ever before. Some pre-facebook behavioral studies, report that reversing a bad first impression takes eight times positive proves, compared to turning a first good impression into a bad one. I guess social media now will only ampiffy that phenomenon.

So what have I learned today?

That the words I say migth change someone's life. For the worse or the better. And that my life and art can be heavely impacted by people's opinion. That leads to a new question. Do I  inconsciously feel the pressure to 'behave my self' -- therefore lose my freedom?

Love to hear from you.

PS. Conversations like this are a favorite after a workshop day, over a drink. If you wish to chat about life and art, consider joining me. Check my schedule here:

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