In June, I had the chance to attend a watercolor workshop with one of the greatest master of our time : Alvaro Castagnet!
The main thing to say is : Whooo! It’s so fascinating to watch him paint! Just a-ma-zing. 😃
So, I am happy to share with you, today, my pics from the workshop : portraits of him, of his gear and his paintings… 😊
(NB : that’s normal that Alvaro has his hand in front of his face in the photo above, that’s to create a more expressive portrait 😉 )
Alvaro has his moods but he is a generous teacher and his enthusiasm with watercolor is really infectious.
He is really approachable and talked with every people in the group. 😊
You can never be bored watching him paint. Watching him make such masterpieces probably in one hour or less is really fascinating.
Time goes by and you don’t even notice it…
Alvaro is as passionate with its explanations as with the brush. Gestures, statements, formulas…
Please note the dirty hands !… That’s so real. 😃
And here are some of Alvaro Castagnet’s quotes on my sketchbook (and a quick ice cream sketch).
He wasn’t always talking that much when painting but, afterwards, we could often enjoy an enthusiastic speech about painting, watercolor, what to do or not to do or, rather, how to do or not to do! 😉
Did you notice he signed the quotes sketchbook page at the bottom? I asked him if he would do so and he did!! 😝
Gorgeous painting… I shouldn’t say that but it happens that you think, during the process “It might not be his best painting” and, at the end, you are always amazed. 😯😀
Probably because… As I suddenly told my workshop friend at the time :
Our problem is that we pay attention to each brushstroke, we are too careful, that’s too tidy and, at the end, the painting doesn’t work out.
For a painter as Alvaro, each brushstroke is so dynamic that it can almost seem careless! But the whole think works at the end!
That’s such a difference! (Alvaro would say “read it again!” 😂)
I have to meditate about that…
Here, Alvaro is signing its book, “Watercolour masterclass”. Maybe I could practice signing this loose!!! 😂
(maybe not so silly?!… why do I sign my own books so small with a thin pen (but with a really long personalized note, I should add) ?!
I have to gain confidence in everything!!) 😝
Workshop atmosphere. 😊 Confidence in attitude, confidence in mindset, confidence in brushtrokes…
Confidence in values and confident choices for his painting interpretation!
As an aside, did you notice that Alvaro is wearing French written shirts, especially for me?!! 😂
The white paper, becoming a piece of art… Fascinating!
Such a strong sense of light!
Do you want me to share a secret? 😉 Alvaro invents quite often some shadows so that the scene looks more tridimensional and the painting is more dynamic.
Great idea… but easier said than done!! 😅
At a time, I thought, why not taking a selfie with him?! You know… why NOT?! 😁
Maybe that’s the beginning of more confidence?! 😃 😉
Alvaro signed my book, writing “Mademoiselle” in French on it. 😉
So, here are the photos of this 4 days workshop in Salzburg! 😊
Lastly, even if I am not really sure it’s the best idea to show you my sketches after you saw his paintings, 😅 here are a few pages from my sketchbook.
I brought loose paper with me, along with my A4 sketchbook, and bought a huge brush (size 8 european size, while I am usually using a 4) but, the first day, Alvaro Castagnet said “Big brush, small paper!”. So, I used my new huge size 8 squirrel brush on my sketchbook. My paper is half the size he is working on.
These are mostly works after his demos.
Far from perfect but it was so much easier to paint after his lead than when I was on my own trying to figure out how to translate such scenes on paper!!… especially when trying to apply someone else technique. 😉
I often took some rubbish notes during the demos and his talks to try to retain the most I could of his teaching.
I did this one within 15mn, before running after the bus (and fighting the most incredible storm I ever saw by the way – it was a whole wet in wet experience!!!! 😂).
Once again, following the model of his painting (I took a pic with my phone and could work with it during my painting time) made this so much easier. And the short time helped me a lot to loosen up!! 😝
Do you sometimes use an alarm when you paint?
I do. 😁 I am now envisioning to put an alarm for every sketch I paint. 🙄😆
… and to never spend more than half an hour on a sketch!
During the workshop, though, the other painters were calling me Speedy Gonzales, as I made two paintings while they were making one!! 😂
I don’t know what they would think about if I cut half the time spent, in order to loosen up even more and fiddle way less! 😅
Alvaro said that my figures were quite nice, eh eh! 😊 (I worked quite a lot on them!) Indeed, I like the couple to the left, in this painting, along with the colors and the rendering of the houses.
I often struggled with everything but especially the values (Alvaro said I had no midtones. My midtones were usually too dark) but I like how my colors pop with the strong contrast in some of the sketches.
I was trying so hard to be bold that I ended up with too strong values, too much dark areas so now I have to find my balance again. 😊
This seems a good conclusion!
I hope you enjoyed the pics and my nonsense talk! 😊