LEISURE PAINTER - November 2011
Review by Theodora Philcox
Alvaro Castagnet is always an exciting artist to watch, and, I have to say, one of my favourites! His third and latest film, A Passionate Painter in Paris
, captures the real enjoyment he gains from his work, and showcases some characteristic views of the city. Although raining when he starts out, the wet pavements provide an ideal setting for an artist who excels at painting atmospheric reflections in watercolour. After sketching in the general composition of a street crossing populated with figures and their umbrellas, he washes in colour at speed, completing the first painting in just over 15 minutes. The result is wonderfully fluid and full of light.
The second painting is completed in a café, looking out across the customers chatting at the tables, towards the window. This back light creates a cool contrast to the warm colours within, and allows Castagnet to paint silhouetted shapes, and a darkened floor to accentuate its impact as it floods down the floorboards. His colours are rich and luminous, sometimes altered for dramatic effect.
A second wet street scene, early in the morning, near the Fontaine Saint Michel, forms the basis of the third image. Capturing the light from the distant shop illuminations, Castagnet again floods colour across the paper, freely adding dramatic reflections to lead the eye through to the back of the painting. He talks about the need to minimise in order to capture the essence of a space, and his work ably demonstrates how less is more.
Castagnet then chooses to paint a more well known landmark; the beautiful Paris Opera, balancing the bustling human activity around it with a more restrained rendering of the architectural façade. Finally, the sun makes a more definite appearance, bouncing off the wall of a street corner café to create strong contrasts of light and shadow. Castagnet competes with lively cheers for a Sunday morning running event as he captures the colourful scene, and this adds to the upbeat nature of the film.
This is a highly enjoyable DVD that exudes the artist’s enthusiasm for the medium and his subjects. The animated personal and humorous commentary provides insight into how his artistic life developed, and gives full details of his technique. But it’s the smile on his lips throughout that says it all.
THE ARTIST - December 2011
Review by Oliver Lange
Alvaro Castagnet is another artist who likes to work on site. Above all, what his superb paintings show is that, to achieve results that have impact and success, you need passion, commitment and a certain amount of daring. In his latest film, The Passionate Painter in Paris
, he paints a busy street scene in the rain, a wonderfully atmospheric café scene, the impressive façade of I'Opéra and Place Saint-Michel in the early morning.
He always starts with sound drawing but thereafter by exploiting the fluidity and versatility of the watercolour medium, each painting develops into a work of immense character and mood. Equally, his commentary is full of encouragement and useful advice.