#TheInterview – Pasqualino Fracasso

1. Pasqualino Fracasso is a watercolor painter, and what else?

An engineer, a teacher, and now an artist. In the sense that I no longer feel like a simple watercolourist, that is, one who paints in watercolor, but someone who creates, invents, communicates and evolves (my concept of the artist). In these years I made a journey that led me to understand many things about myself, about art and the world of watercolor and I realized that I did not want to be a simple watercolorist.

2. How did you approach the art world?

I have always drawn since I was a child, while I was studying at the Polytechnic, in the lunch breaks during my work as an engineer, always. I played in a rock band and when we broke up I started painting and in the watercolor I found the technique that allowed me to paint according to times (night) and spaces (home) that I had. From there I became passionate and I began to study on American books and magazines studying the great modern and contemporary watercolorists.

3. What does the art of watercolor represent for you?

  • The world through which to create, communicate, have fun, relax
  • the world through which to know other people and experience out of the ordinary
  • a source of income


I specify that I wrote “the world” because the watercolor is a world in which I entered and which has opened several doors to me and it is also a parallel world compared to my daily life in which I do anything other than art.


Watercolor is magic.  The magic of playing with water, of taming it but also of letting yourself be led by it, the magic of managing the unpredictable. I love the materiality of the oil but the watercolor is more fun and intriguing.


The art of watercolor, however, is for me to be able to combine together :

  • the gestures with which to create a shape with a single touch of the brush
  • the wisdom to manage the density of color and the humidity of the paper
  • the eye and the head to create an optimal composition “at the first”
  • the fun of playing with water



4. You were the first Italian artist to be selected and awarded (in both) at the International Annual Exhibition of the prestigious National Watercolor Society and the America Watercolor Society. Tell us what you felt.

It was my dream so when the evening I received (the first time) notification I did not sleep all night from excitement. It was a great achievement to see that your work was appreciated by the real insiders, being selected from thousands of artists along with those that I considered masters. The AWS is still one of the 3-4 most successful international competitions where the great international masters participate and where the level of work is really very high. Especially in recent years where competitions have multiplied exponentially but are often medium-low level and where the big ones do not participate, these are still the reference because being there is really difficult.

5. How long has it been before you master the technique and be satisfied with the results?

Mastering the technique (or rather the techniques because there are so many watercolor techniques) requires many hours of practice but even more analysis and study to understand. I always say that the technique is made by the hand, that you practice thousands of times, but everything else from the head, that you have to learn to see, think and abstract in the right way. My times don’t make text because I paint about 6 hours a week and so it took me a long time (I started in 2004). But the time for the “head” depends from person to person, on your ambition, your experiences, how much you study and dare…

I am not yet satisfied with the results or better my paintings. Of the paintings I make I like 1 out of 7 (in the sense that the other 6 I just don’t like!) and to be satisfied I would like to get to 4 out of 7, so the road is still long.





6. Was there ever a time when you thought it wasn’t worth it?

Never. As I said before, it was worth it for me, because when I paint I feel good, alive and having fun. And then it was worth it for all the people I knew, all the trips I had and all the experiences I had. I was lucky to get it.

7. The person who most proud you and made you believe in yourself as an artist

I state that now that I see my old works (that people bought and for which they made me many compliments) I consider them really ugly and low level but despite this 10 years ago I got in touch with some great artists who gave me many tips on how to improve and what path to take. I had written letters to him (by hand and sent in the mail) and they answered me several times and with great availability and this helped me to move forward because they saw in me something special, still raw but special. Thank you so much to Robert Wade, Jeannie Mcguire and Stan Miller.





8. To follow your passion you happened to neglect your family?

Never. The family first of all indeed every time I can also bring them with me (China, USA, France, Sweden, etc.) because I want to share with them the opportunity to see the world and meet other people and other cultures. And at home, I try to paint at night or when there’s no one there, just because I think it’s best to spend as much time as I can with them.

9. In your family, who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Not yet, but who knows The problem is that my children see me as too good and so the comparison takes place, which instead of being a stimulus becomes a kind of obstacle. But life is strange and I am the proof. So we will see …

10. Is it possible to be a full-time artist in Italy today?

Depends on a lot of things. It depends on where you live (big cities and maybe tourism provide more opportunities for courses and sales), your knowledge, whether you have a family or not, the lifestyle you have, how much you hate the work you are doing, etc…

I made a prudent choice in the sense that, with a family, mortgage, car, children, etc… I did not feel like leaving everything for a job (however beautiful) that has no security and economic continuity and in such a strange and unpredictable historical period. I still believe that one day I will succeed but now I can not make this choice, because deep inside I am still a computer engineer!



11. What are the different phases that follow Pasqualino Fracasso to paint a painting, from the beginning to the end?

10% search for images

60% composition and design: the study of colors, composition sketches, search for variants, cut, etc…

25% execution: pencil track, the hand of dark or intense colors, the hand of intermediate tones, erases, details

5% analysis, retouching and possible upheaval

12. Which colors are essential in your palette?

3 primary (Indian yellow, permanent pink, ultramarine blue), ftal blue, titanium white

Then there are some colors that I particularly love that are: cobalt turquoise, lunar black, aquarius green, yellow Naples and works roses





13. Which paper do you prefer?

Winsor & Newton satin-finished

14. What’s the brush you never part with?

It goes to periods. Lately the Pure squirrel RESTAUROHOUSE of SZMAL : a very soft natural brush with a fantastic tip

15. Tonality, composition, brightness, which one do you think is most important for your works?

first: Composition, second: Tonality, third: brightness.



16. Do you have a painting that you haven’t finished in years?

I have about twenty… some, after a few years I cut them and leave only 60%

17. Tell us about the work of which you feel most proud.

The work “Urban Abstract I” which was awarded this year at the American Watercolor Society international exhibition. This work, a semi-abstract glimpse of the arcades of Turin, I like a lot because it required so much study and is an excellent synthesis of shapes, colors, defined and indefinite elements; it is a work that I consider of high level and that if he had done some other artist I would have said to myself “I hope one day I’ll get to do something like that!”

18. The place that thanks to the art you have known and surprised you.

China. Thanks to the watercolor I was in China 3 times and I discovered places, a culture and people that I never expected and on an artistic level, I discovered really remarkable artists.

19. Answer a (the) question that no one has asked you so far, but you always wanted to answer.

Question of the interviewer: “you like few watercolor artists: what strikes you about a watercolor artwork”

Answer: “Technically I am struck by the sense of composition, the gestures with which they create a shape, the chromatic and tonal complexity of the whole. But all these things are linked by visionary research, by a “dare”, by a suggestion that makes you go beyond the real. The great artists manage to combine both in the brushstrokes and in the visual impact a balance between abstract and real, defined and indefinite, instinctive and delicate that makes me dream. I hope I made myself clear because I know I’m a little twisted in words

20. The next person I interview is your choice. Who’s it gonna be?

You choose the next person I will interview. Who will he or she be?

Does it depend if it should be Italian, Spanish or international? There are many very good watercolorists, even Italians. But I have very special tastes and therefore I love very few artists so I would recommend people I esteem, which are not the usual names overcast and I would be curious to read an interview.

International : Eugene Chisnicean

Spanish : Francisco Castro

Italian: Roberto Zangarelli