I had the pleasure of watching Alvaro Castagnet demonstrate his watercolor painting process in person at the 2018 Plein Air Convention & Expo in Santa Fe (“a burnt sienna city,” according to Alvaro). I jotted down a few of my favorite quotes and observations he made while painting.
“I don’t preserve too many whites at the start because then I become a slave to those high-key values.”
“Art is not prettiness; it’s mood, feeling. If you think art has to be pretty, you’re missing the point.”
“When I look at a painting, I ask, are you giving me a story — a painting I can love for all time — or are you giving me a strawberry cake — something pretty.”
“We need to interpret [not simply record] what we see, that’s how we can call ourselves artists.”
“Filthy water, messy palette — that is Alvaro at his best. I paint dirty.”
Alvaro received a lifetime achievement award at the event for his work in watercolor and plein air painting.
This year, master watercolor artist Joseph Zbukvic will be honored. Paint alongside him and other top-notch watercolorists, including Keiko Tanabe, Dan Marshall, and Shuang Li at the 2019 Plein Air Convention & Expo.
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