Alvaro Castagnet watercolour painting techniques and tutorial I Colour In Your Life

Alvaro Castagnet watercolour painting techniques and tutorial I Colour In Your Life


Well g’day viewers, my name is Graeme Stevenson and I’d like to invite
you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an Artist in every family
throughout the world and lots of times there’s an Artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers,
your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads, and come and see how some of the best
Artists in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) Well Colour In Your Life art lovers, we’re in Melbourne again for this trip,
and to say this is going to be an exciting show is an understatement. We’ve come down to talk to Luke Senior from Senior Art Supplies and film one
of the world’s great master watercolour artists, Mr. Alvaro Castagnet. Alvaro is in Australia at the moment as part of his world art
teaching tour. Luke Senior from Senior Art Supplies in Melbourne, contacted Colour In Your Life and told us about Alvaro’s workshops
in his Melbourne Art Supply stores and suggested we head down and spend the day with this amazing man. Colour In Your Life is extremely
grateful to Luke and Senior Art Supplies, and also Daniel Smith Paints, for making it possible to film Alvaro. Senior Art Supplies are one of the
best established art stores in Melbourne and as you can see they have an extensive range of just about everything you
would need as an artist. From beginners to professionals, Senior Art stores can supply anything you may need to help you in your
creative journey. Paints, canvases, brushes, easels, pencils, paper, all manner of fabulous products. Senior’s has a staff of people that have
an extensive background in art and also a wonderful knowledge of all of the various paints, mediums, and answers to just
about every question you could possibly want to know. They also have a number of workshops throughout the
year with some of the leading art teachers in Australia. But today is one of those special days, so
lets go and spend it with Alvaro Castagnet. Alright guys, so welcome back to Colour In Your Life and once again we’re
going to have a second stint with the amazing Mr. Alvaro Castagnet. Graeme, good to see you again. From Uruguay. Montevideo. Getting it right. But Alvaro’s going to take us through
another one of his great scenes. Another Paris scene is that correct? Yes. It’s another Paris scene.
Yes. This time it’s sunny. Sunny. But the colours, the absolute beauty that Alvaro puts into his
works into his work is pretty amazing. But I’m going to step out of the picture. A man of this caliber doesn’t really need me asking questions. You
can do this yourself. And I’ll just see you at the end of the process. That’s right. See you pal. Well I’ve been drawing, but very, very light, because you never know
whether you make a mistake. I don’t like to erase in watercolour paper, that is the situation so I’m going to… I’m happy with all the lines
that happen in my paper. So I’m just reinforcing them because once I give it a green light to go, that’s it. I don’t mind to draw
harder using my 6B soft lead pencil. So I do the drawing. This is an oval and we go like that, and then I locate the red
awning; it’s a very important part in this painting, obviously. It’s the one that carries on the most striking and vivid hue in the
painting. So I got to locate that correct, is a little bit okay, and in conjunction with the word opera. Before I write the word opera,
I follow the perspective just because I’m not a sign writer, opera, and I easily make mistakes so I follow guide lines here and I think
I got it right. And this is another gorgeous French building. So this painting is about the cafe, the corner, typical of France.
Red awning, and the people under the red awning. Precisely. With the word opera. That opera winner, boulevard
opera winner in Paris. So I got a waiter here, a car, and I get eye level because all these guys are eye level. A couple
of other figures just coming into the cafe, having a good time. See if they meet their friends, maybe waiting for them. Another
waiter. You know what I mean? Maybe a tray here. Some bottles. And obviously, down below here, we got all these
people enjoying a cafe in Paris. On the cafe, beautiful, gorgeous little tables where they can see
all the people passing buy. Or having a drink. Actually, what I wanted to know Alvaro, is a lot of this comes
out of your head, but while you’re in Paris or even doing plein air, do you actually take a lot of your own photos as well? Of course. You do? You always need them as a reference. When you’re
in your studio. It’s always very easy to take photos. Just painting, you take a photo, you always
take a photo to a studio do a painting there. And you don’t have to get carried away with huge amounts of detail with
the pencils. It’s just a real basic outline that you need isn’t it? Ah yeah. Well you can tell here it’s very economical. You know
it’s just lines, it’s basic shapes. Drawing the main figures, the focal point. As it happens here in my painting, the two guys chatting. And
then the car. You need some references. Some shapes. That’s all. Absolutely. Okay. Ladies and gentleman, I use
a little bit of yellow ochre now, on the sky. Beautiful. Oh yeah. Looks terrific. And just before I go further down,
I pick up a little bit of cerulean blue and I put a light stroke, very gentle. Not much hue, and let it bleed. When I then, I pick up little tin and
pull Ultramarine Blue in. I pull that out Ultramarine Blue on the dome and you spread the stroke around and you keep on going. The dark blue
building is going to go, once again a little bit of magenta or Alizarin Crimson to just warm up the painting. A fraction there, and I keep
on going with a Colbert were the word opera is. I just put then, a combination of Hansa Yellow Deep, Daniel Smith, and a little
bit of Yellow Ochre as well. So there you are, it just goes like this. Can you see it? Just looks fantastic. And ladies and gentleman,
I pick up quite a bit of pigment Daniel Smith Pyrrol Red, and then when I come into the down below, were the people are
enjoying a cup of tea, a cup of coffee or even a wine, whatever. I just use orange hue, Pyrrol Orange, Daniel Smith because I will explore
that orange hanging around that section of my painting to maximize the feel of red light. So I’m echoing the red and I get a little bit of
butter into the neutral tint, and red, and I go around the cars, there are two cars and then I go under. I let that bleed. And now I paint the
road. I simply collect neutral tint again and a little bit of Burnt Sienna, so I’m introducing a new hue into the context of this painting and
I just go like this. You can see I use the red on the awning and then I keep on using the red all over the foreground, nearly all over the
foreground, also on the figures. And I let it bleed in its own way. I do this. It’s because obviously this is where my focal point is, and by
making such a statement of the red colour, the red hue in the awning is indefinable to keep on projecting that kind of hue and that should
be manifested in people underneath the awning so I kept on using the red and of course when a wash dries off, I come back later onto this.
I load my brush with lots of cool colours and strong pigments and then I explore negative shapes, the red happening for highlights
on head and shoulders, table, chairs and whatever else. The light is cruising along, bouncing on every aspect.
So thank you very much. So far, the painting, this is a tip, as I said to you guys is just dropping colour,
and that’s what I did. Now we have to let it dry. The paper is dry. So now what I have to do is build on the
washes that I’ve previously done. I’m going to start on the top and come with some washes on the dome here, and
then concentrating on a rich dark of value next to the awning. So, using neutral tint and Burnt Sienna. As I’m getting
towards the bottom of this wash I go a little stronger. Just a little bit stronger and
I would try to define the words. So you just sort off mapping
the outline of the words in. Yes. So then I have to communicate immediately that wash of building on
top of the red awning with the building on the other side of the street. By just burning the colour slightly, using a little more of the Ultramarine
Blue with it. That’s all. I make it a little lighter, so I show you that. The building on the left, this one that I’m pointing out to you guys, I
had to make it a little stronger. And the building on the right hand side, I have to make it cooler, but also lighter. The only catch on this building here is
that, then again I’m very much aware of the necessity of varying the value. So when I’m going back into my palette, I make sure that I pick up same hues
but stronger. Pick up a neutral tint again in Colbert, going around the cars. I need to design the cars, and put some tires and shadows. And there’s another
one there. There you are. Now I’m coming back to the focal point. And then I go juicy darks around the figures and just exploiting, being aware
of the necessity of exploiting good-looking watercolour brush strokes. You know that’s what it’s all about. So I go, were every time I go
back into the palette, instead of perhaps picking up one tint, I pick up one quarter of Alizarin Crimson, a quarter of, I vary the component.
And I go with dry brush strokes but… and very, very strong. I know you’re thinking that I’m going too strong but you wait and see. I’m going
around the figures like this. I’m trying to capture obviously highlights, without the necessity of going into pure pigment with watercolour. And then I pick up a little bit more red and maybe just
some tables with a very bold approach to it. We have no time to waste and as a matter of fact, has to be done very
quickly because I would like to see a little bit of bleeding. So off I go and I put this wash immediately and I let the red
invading the juicy dark that I explained to you here put before. And you know what? As they travel down because obviously the
board is tilted it picks up the pigment. It picks up a beautiful texture. And I’m using lots of red, because I’m determined to paint everything, as
much as I can with a red hue. Without you guys getting to board with the colour. You know what I mean? I’m aware of that. So I will be into some
blues and some cool colours. All this kind of attraction you can see here, maybe you think I’m not going no where and I bet I know your thinking
from where you are, that you wouldn’t like to be in my shoes. But I tell you something, I’ll make it for you. You know,
just trust me and wait a few more minutes. I’m going to paint quickly the shadows so we keep on prolonging the same kind
of family of hues lets say. By picking up he red like this and I go lightly bluer. I’m using more Colbert this time. And I put some brush strokes for the
shadows. We need to make kind of bold statement of shadow like this and using more pigment, one go. When you paint, especially watercolour,
is such a fragile medium and because of its fragility, it becomes explosive. When you see the hand of a guy that does it with authority. See what I mean?
That it is so moving for the audience. But when ever I refer to the audience, with my greatest respect for them. You have to realize that an artist is like
a broadcaster. You know what I mean? He knows he has a radio program. He has a rating and people listen to him outside, but he doesn’t know them.
Each one of them. Well it’s the same thing. As a painter I just paint for myself. I know that in a hope, you as an audience will enjoy my day more.
But I don’t paint for you guys I’m sorry to say, I just paint for myself. Okay my friend. Listen, what I have to do now, is simply
pulling the painting together. So I’m going to use a small brush now. I’m going to paint on the building on the right hand side suggesting
windows and doors. Some maybe architectural features of the building. Then I come down into the focal point obviously, where these guys
are. The people sitting down. The two guys chatting under the shape of the awning. And we pull it together, I show you. So first of all I go into
Ultramarine Blue, top of leftovers. Make sure I don’t have any water in the brush. Not much water and then I follow my painting. You know and
then I suggest all these windows and once again, we keep on going. Well I feel that the painting requiring now, that three-dimensional essential
look to it. I’m creating volume, depth. At this stage I feel that I grab, as we say, the bull by the horns. You know what I mean? I don’t
think I will loose the painting. The only thing I think I need to do is exploit dry technique in a far more expressive fashion. So it’s easy.
Because this technique, just pure pigment and single little strokes. Like I’m showing you here. I create the feeling of lots of windows
and doors and whatever without getting to, putting to much energy in them. You know, it’s easy. Well, the only thing I have to do now, I get in.
I don’t pick up any water at all, except that I’m picking up Alizarin Crimson, and in conjunction with Alizarin Crimson with a left overs happening here.
So what I do is the same technique again. Dry brush stroke all the time. Lots of dry brush strokes. To pull this painting together I’ll just
go like this and I know and I do like this sort of abstract feel to it. Ladies and gentleman, now I’m going to change the brush. Okay so I was
using the mops. And the mops are good for big washes, but now this skinny one. This is a synthetic brush and it’s very good for highlights, for little lines or
maybe signing the painting. For signatures this is a good one, a good brush. So I’m using Daniel Smith Pyrrol Orange.
I open the tube. And you’re just going to squeeze
it directly out of the tube? Of course. Because this is perennial the promise. Daniel Smith’s promise
to me: this is a perennial non-fugitive in the culture of what colour does. Those are the words we use. This is perennial. So I trust them. A good,
lovely brand. Very gorgeous hues and I use them directly from the tube. And this is pyrrole orange, as I was saying to you. I know some
people think he doesn’t pick up any water. He’s no longer pure pigment. I don’t know if that is acceptable. Of course that is acceptable. Because
the only thing you have to realize is I don’t care how you do your painting. The only thing that counts is the end result of it. Is the end result
of it and I’m thinking as an abstractionist and I keep on making beautiful, gorgeous washes here, and look what I’m doing. A little bit of
funny strokes and I think the only thing I got to do now, it is just put a couple of faces that are missing out. That’s a good point that you just brought up as well Alvaro. There’s
really no right or wrong way. It’s just the way you want to do it. Exactly. There is no… I don’t care how you do it. The only thing is the
end result of your painting gives me something I feel so happy about. I can’t stop taking my eyes out of the painting. Ladies and gentleman,
I have to say the painting has reached the very end of it. You got to know when you’ve finished your painting.
I feel the painting is finished because less means more. Why should I keep on adding things unnecessary…
I think we got a good light on the awning. We got the feeling of lots of activity on the awning without getting
bogged down in superficialities in things that are not necessary to express. So we got the waiter, we got the guy chatting to the waiter.
A little bit of bleeding, shadows, with a nice strategy to it. The cars, a little bit of bleeding, the buildings of Paris.
Hang on I finish one thing, that I forgot to finish. And is, the little flat here, which I use, same kind of pigment, put a little
chimney there. Like this, because we have to justify that shadow to pull us in. Sure. Up here, there. Ladies and gentleman thank you very much for watching this
painting. I know I’ve been at your home. I hope I’ve entertained you. I hope you’re having a good time. And I hope, above everything else,
that you catch something of the elusive side of the watercolour medium. So I hope you enjoy it. Okay guys. What an amazing day.
Thank you so much Alvaro. Graeme. My pleasure. That’s amazing. To watch Alvaro work is a bit mind boggling.
I don’t have to say a lot because there’s not a lot for me to say. You being a master artist said it all for us anyway.
So before we go, Alvaro’s got some great DVD’s out as well. The Passionate Painter in Paris, Amsterdam, I mean literally,
DVD’s from all over the world. Also Alvaro has these great books. There’s obviously watercolour paper, you’ve
got charcoal paper that you can do charcoals with. They sell virtually throughout just about every retail
store in the world I think these days when it comes to art. Yes they do. Also we’d like to really thank Luke Senior and also Daniel
Smith for making Alvaro available to do these shows with us. If it wasn’t for the support of these great organizations…
Obviously if you need art supply’s in Melbourne, you must come and see Luke at Senior Art Supplies.
They’ve got three art locations in Melbourne. Just a great man and obviously he’s really right behind
going with Colour In Your Life and what you’re doing as well. We’ve also got our DVD’s so you can come in to the
site and see those at Colour In Your Life dot com dot au. Tons of stuff in there, we’ve got paintings, lots and lots of
paintings these days. We hope to get some of Alvaro’s in there one day. Of course. He just sells so quickly, that’s the problem.
But it’s been a great day. Thank you so much bud. Graeme. I really appreciate it. I’m going to miss you. And Sophia
behind the camera. Great people. It was a wonderful day and an amazing talented human being. But as we
always say guys, remember, make sure you put some Alvaro in your life. No, Colour In Your Life. Put Some Colour In Your Life.
See you next time guys. Bye. Ciao. Bye. Bye bye.

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