Newsletter July 20, 2012

Embrace Watercolors


Welcome Back to “Embrace Watercolors”. . .

With the release of my new DVD “North of England” I want to share with you what inspired me to film there and how painting outdoors helps me to speed up, working in a very spontaneous way. I have also provided some tips on keeping your eye and supplies simple while painting outdoors; and how you can maintain maximum unity in your color palette.  I hope that you will enjoy looking through this months newsletter and discovering other exciting things that I am sharing.  Enjoy! Hasta la Vista!  Alvaro


Work Spontaneous!

Maintain Maximum Unity

DVD North of England

“Nuts and Bolts”

Workshop Openings

Quote of the Month

Speed Up!  Work in a Very Spontaneous Way!

My recent trip to UK for workshops, an interview with Artists & Illustrators magazine and to work my new DVD “North of England” was a fantastic experience! Even though I had been there several times before, I felt this time I was able to discover new places, and working and painting in such an array of different subjects, from a super busy and highly decorated London (I was there just before the Queen’s jubilee weekend). Sheep tracks next to rolling fields of bright yellow flowers, around Sussex, a peaceful riverside hamlet with a 17th century pub (Pin Mill) to dramatic views of Robin Hood’s Bay, in the North York Moors National Park, midway between Whitby and Scarborough. And last but not least, the gorgeous Scottish Highlands, which I have visited now so many times, but never stops to captivate me!

Follow me as I paint scenes in Liverpool and Manchester. Order DVD North of England (PAL releases July 20th and NTSC August 20th)  PLAY CLIP BELOW

I find all this painting outdoors so pleasant and very beneficial, it has help me to speed up and work in a very spontaneous way, which is an important quality, and one I truly enjoy about watercolors.


While you are walking and sight seeing, keep an eye on shapes and values.

Always carry a small sketchpad, as you would a diary, and perhaps, do like I do, and keep a small painting box permanently in your bag or car.

Draw what you see and not what you know!

Big brush, small paper!

When I travel, I love to walk and feel the subjects, and of course, I set up my easel, and just paint it there and then. Studio painting is great in a sense of achieving peace and quiet, than leads to having more controlled of execution, but to the price of being less spontaneous, that is why I often sketch outdoors, and later, produce a bigger painting of that subject , in the comfort of my private studio.

Maintain Maximum Unity

Many ask me if I change my color palette while I travel, and visit different places, no, I don’t change it at all. For me, basically, whatever the subject is, I deal with a same set of hues: “my own preferable hues”. Then, according to the mood that I want to provide in my painting: I go either warm or cool allowing to prevail certain hues that promote the sense of mood that I am engaged to exploit.

Once as an artist, you find your own pallet, you might later add or subtract a hue, but that pallet it remains constant, we know well, that color is an indispensable element for capturing mood in paintings, obviously once I am dealing with a certain mixture of colors, I will keep it throughout the painting to maintain maximum unity.

Others have asked if local colour a consideration? It is, in a sense, if I am painting London, in the middle of winter, I will be using silvery looking hues; but if am painting Rio de Janeiro in summer time, I will use more Mayan Orange and Mars, or Hansa Yellow. This is paramount to capture the essence of the place.

To me the essence of a good painting is that in some way it conveys the atmosphere and emotion that the artist felt at the scene. And so, to arrive to this happy state, you must know your subject well, you must “lose yourself in the mood of the place”.

I would say, atmosphere would be the careful combination of composition: tones and colors. Composition is rather personal, but you must take into account big shapes, small shapes, perspective and the light (be careful, as shadows are shapes too!)  Tone or values, must be right, as it is the key to create perspective and harmony.

Let me know if you enjoy the Newsletter articles: alvaro@alvarocastagnet.net

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In this NEW film Alvaro, explores the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, choosing to paint street scenes and Liverpool docks as well as an interior with two figures.  Order >

DON’T MISS the Summer issue of “Artists & Illustrators” featuring my new article, “Paint with Passion” in Constable Country, UK. The magazine released on 21 June and features a six-page interview about my life, art and global travels.  Have a look>

NEW Q&A Facebook Series


Well, many of you send me messages asking different questions…..and as you know, I am quite busy, so, I thought I would create a way to answering them, to you all….and so, keep them coming! Follow me on Facebook and watch one minute video’s!

WATCH:  “How to Get Juicy Darks”

1.34 minutes



This exceptional book will convey key concepts of watercolor painting to achieve magic in a way that is full of passion, quality and integrity.

Order Today!

Workshop Openings

Quote of the Month

Spain: Girona    September 3 – 7, 2012    Angie Barbi EPC Art Courses

Belgium:    Workshop 1 – September 10 – 12, 2012    Gerda Mentens gerda@gerdaaquarel.be

Belgium:    Workshop 2 – September 13 – 15, 2012    Gerda Mentens gerda@gerdaaquarel.be

USA: Newport, Rhode Island    October 4 – 6, 2012    Amy Burnes aeburnes@gmail.com

“Make every brushstroke count!”

Alvaro Castagnet

(“Goaty” stache)

Copyright © 2006-2012 Alvaro Castagnet All rights reserved


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