DANIEL SMITH Watercolor Alvaro Castagnet Basic Palette - Feature Article!
Alvaro Castagnet’s vibrant “Times Square, New York” with its iconic yellow taxis secured him first prize at the 3rd Annual Signature American Watercolor Exhibition. “Normally with watercolors, you’ll paint from light to dark, but DANIEL SMITH colors allow me to experiment. Here, for instance, I dropped the very darks of the back of the taxis first, then added the yellows on top of them, as a lighter value afterwards. The bleeding and natural interaction between the two culminates in a magical result.”
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PASSION is Alvaro Castagnet’s watchword, and his big personality is reflected in his equally expansive works, the bigger the better. Encouraged by his parents and inspired by Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec and John Singer Sargent, Alvaro began formal training at age 12 with watercolorist Esteban Garino at the Montevideo National School of Art and later with color theorist Miguel Angel Pareja at the Fine Arts University. In 1983, Alvaro moved to Melbourne, Australia, where interest in watercolor was exploding among young artists. There, the Uruguayan expatriate flourished for two decades, fine-tuning his style and maturing as an artist.
Now living back home in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, with his wife Ana Maria and sons Gaston and Calvin, Alvaro often travels overseas to paint, teach workshops and exhibit his paintings. “Travel feeds our creativity and perception,” he says. “Get to know the location, not only to fall in love with it, but to know it deeply as a painter.” Alvaro’s favorite destinations include Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco and Buenos Aires.
Though always possessing a clear vision of the end result before committing brush to paper, Alvaro believes in spontaneity. One minute he’ll be leisurely sightseeing, then, easel up and working swiftly with his Red Mop brushes, he’ll capture an enticing scene on the spot. “I hardly notice anyone around me, as there’s such an excitement and connection with the painting,” Alvaro says. “You’ll never find me in a boring landscape, as street scenes are where I feel most comfortable.”
Preferring a limited palette of bold hues, Alvaro’s finds that DANIEL SMITH Watercolors help deliver his unique and soulful vision. “I’m an emotional guy and I think that shows very clearly in my painting. I like DANIEL SMITH paints for their quality and deep chromatic intensity. The hues blend very well. When they come to be broken, the colors are luminous, maintaining transparency without losing strength. They have good sedimentary traits and are great for creating paintings that make an expressionistic, gutsy statement! Together with their permanent durability and a beautiful array of reds, they suit my passion to a T!”
Alvaro Set Colors:
- Hansa Yellow Deep
- Pyrrol Orange
- Mayan Orange
- Organic Vermilion
- French Ultramarine
- Cobalt Blue
- Verditer Blue
- Cerulean Blue
- Cobalt Teal Blue
- Yellow Ochre
- Quinacridone Burnt Orange
- Deep Scarlet
- Transparent Red Oxide
- Neutral Tint
- Titanium White
To artists choosing to work in watercolor, Alvaro has a simple yet imperative message. “People recognize its timeless beauty, yet there are no shortcuts or formulas. Painting is hard work, a life commitment, so it’s important to paint for yourself, conveying the essence of life and the magic and ambiance of your subjects.”
ALVARO CASTAGNET is an internationally renowned master watercolorist. Recognized with top honors in major art competitions worldwide, he is a member of prestigious watercolor societies including AWS, AWI and ACUA, and an honorary member of OWS. He often contributes to international art publications and his latest book Painting with Passion—Beyond Technique is a bestseller. Alvaro travels the world demonstrating, lecturing, attending his exhibitions and judging art competitions. His paintings are found in many private and corporate collections.