Alvaro Castagnet ! My photos from the workshop.

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! 😊

29 thoughts on “Alvaro Castagnet ! My photos from the workshop.

  1. Thank you Anne,
    This was very inspiring to see. And thanks for the little tip about shadows in a painting.! Who would have thought to just make them up. I think your paintings are wonderful and I’m gonna try to set a shorter time to get loose

  2. Oooh… you are so lucky, to have the opportunity to do a workshop with Alvaro Castagnet!
    Thank you for sharing these photos & tips – & for sharing your own work too (both the quick sketches & the longer ones too) – I can see how you are learning from him…
    Your work is looking good!

  3. Thanks for sharing this workshop with us, I didn’t know he’d written a book…. I’ve seen his videos for sale, now I may have to buy one, as I really like his style (and yours)… I so want to get looser with my watercolors.

  4. Thank You!!!! How inspiring to take one of Alvaro’s workshops!!!!!! You applied what he was teaching and that must have made him happy. I am so ENVIOUS!!!

  5. This post is amazingly helpful – seeing now so plainly all the things I do wrong! Your last painting above is super-loose and gorgeous. Merci!!

  6. Anne, I think you did fabulously!!!! What a change in your style, Bravo! I saw a demo by him in Florida… passionate painter with a personality to match.

  7. Thank you so much for all the tips, those are the little things you don’t pick up by just looking at his paintings. I too think you’ve really applied his style to your own…very well I might add, I’d be thrilled!!!

  8. Making up your own shadows was something that Marc Taro Holmes also did on the workshop in Portugal. It certainly is the way to go but then, it is for very talented professional painters. I was amazed how he could tie a painting together this way. You have all the talent necessary to make this work for you. Great post speedy! Now teach me how to do it :))

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous experience and all of these superb images, great to see Alvaro’s work close up – and I think your studies measure up really well too – congratulations! Ok, off now to have another look through them all!

  10. Thank you for this. For some reason, I kept on thinking that he would not let us do sketches on the sketchbook….(which of course, he didn’t say that!) I think when I take his workshop this November, I will take my sketchbook with me and also take more notes like you 🙂 Your studies on the sketchbook look fantastic! I wish I could paint like you….watercolours are difficult.

  11. Hi Anne, is was really nice to meet you in Old Montreal. Wish You will come back. I love your watercolors
    So much light and contrast, and beautiful colors too.
    I hope to get to see Alvaro one day. Don’t know if he ever considered Montreal?
    Salut bien,
    Louise xx

  12. Wonderful. I have been following obsessively Alvaro’s career in order to absorb a little bit of that energy you have mentioned. Thank you for posting such great photos and experience. Also, some of your sketches are as good as Alvaro’s. (for real).
    All the best.

  13. I understand your excitement I took his New Orleans workshop last year and was truly amazed and left with great admiration for him. As you said while watching paint I thought this might be going anywhere but in the end you stand there with your jaw dropped. Thanks for sharing Roisin

  14. The looseness… That’s what I love about his work. The strokes are fast and loose but they look exactly like what they’re supposed to be. I love the little couple you painted too… They caught my eye right away!

  15. Thanks for sharing the post. Do you know what are the colors he use in his palette?
    Also what watercolor paper brand he use?

  16. Wow, so pleased to find this as I’ve just secured a place on a two day masterclass Alvaro later this year! I’m SO excited. Your post is great and has only fired me up even more! Thanks so much for sharing this experience.

  17. J’admire depuis longtemps votre travail qui privilégie la lumière et les impressions. Pour moi, vous êtes une référence.

  18. Wow! I’m so pleased to come across this generous post of yours about your experience at an Alvaro Castagnet workshop. My father and I were fortunate enough to paint with him, on of all days, 9/11/2001 in Greenville, New York. Memorable for more reasons than I can go into here. One piece of advice, if I may since I appreciated your candor so much…after dedicating my life to watercolor, confidence and emulation are fine but I’m sure even Alvaro would tell you it’s imperative you develop your own unique style as an artist! Thank you, Charles De Marco Clifton Park, New York USA

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