THE ARTIST - May 2008
Review by Oliver Lange
The weather is always a factor in plein air painting, although who would not be tempted outside in the warm climate of Catalonia, northern Spain? This is where we meet Alvaro Castagnet, an engaging and wonderfully expressive watercolourist who shares with us his enthusiasm, knowledge and skill as he paints what to most of us would seem immensely challenging subjects, in the historic and attractive towns of Cadaques and Girona. With excellent filming and editing by Anthony Parker at APV Films, Inspired Watercolour is a joy to watch, inspiring and informative.
Few of us would attempt a complex view looking down on a harbour and rooftops with all kinds of detail and activity below, but Alvaro Castagnet is undaunted. He skilfully brings the subject to life and creates a painting that has great vigour and impact. Here, as with his other demonstration paintings of coastal views and street scenes, his deft touch is accompanied by useful advice in handling watercolour to capture mood and atmosphere.
LEISURE PAINTER - April 2008
Review by Ray Campbell-Smith
The watercolourist, Alvaro Castagnet, is receiving international acclaim for his bold technique, his feeling for colour and his outstanding ability to capture the atmosphere and mood of his subjects. In his recent DVD, aptly entitled Inspired Watercolour, he paints coastal scenes in the attractive port of Cadaques and the streets, squares and cafés of the historic town of Girona in Northern SpainHe begins with a brief description of his watercolour equipment and I was interested to see he uses a Craig Young handmade paintbox, as I do, and mostly Arches and Saunders Waterford watercolour papers.The subjects of his first two paintings are harbour scenes, with colour-washed, pan-tiled buildings skirting stretches of sea dotted with moored boats against a background of distant hills. Using a large brush he applies liquid washes for the sky, water, mountains and buildings in that order, later adding shadows and a minimum of details.
His next three subjects are a street café with sunshades, a bridge over the river and an arcade with sunlight streaming in from the left. In all his work he captures powerful impressions of atmosphere, often using Chinese white for highlights.