A l v a r o C a s t a g n e t
Passion is a key element in a masterful work of art. I work the medium in a robust manner, playing with darks almost in a chiaroscuro manner and often working with unorthodox techniques. I like to take it to the extremes and bring it back, using a restrained colour palette, loose brushwork and slick pigment application to manifest with spontaneity, but with maximum impact, what could still be called a classical watercolour of our times.
My pictorial universe is the real world. I like to reflect, interpret and enhance it in a contemporary and modern fashion. My subjects range from intimate café scenes, with their implied small dramas, to people going about their daily lives. I like to reflect the vitality of a scene, portraying a strong interpretation of light effects, trying to capture the soul of the places I paint.
Alvaro Castagnet’s early interest in art was cultivated by his father, who sent him at a young age to the National School of Art in Montevideo, where he was taught by Professor Esteban Garino. He continued his formal education at the Fine Arts University under the tutelage of Miguel Angel Pareja.
Castagnet emigrated to Australia in 1983, where he lived for two decades, acquiring citizenship as a naturalised Australian and establishing a formidable reputation as a watercolourist. Two years after his arrival in Australia, he was appointed Art Director of Melbourne’s Latin Festival. His extensive travels throughout the United States, Mexico, South America, Europe and Australia broadened his vision and intensified the depth and diversity of his work. He is currently based in his native Montevideo.
His numerous awards include First Prize for Watercolour, Chelsea (2000), the American Watercolor Society High Winds Medal (2003), the American Watercolor Society Alfredo Guati Rojo Memorial Award (2004), the American Watercolor Society Bud and Gretchen Marble Medal (2007), the prestigious 2010 Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial Watercolour Exhibition Award of Excellence and first prize in the 2012 3rd Annual Signature American Watercolour Exhibition. Moreover, he was invited to participate in the Cross-Century Asian Pacific Watercolor Exhibition on three different occasions (1997, 1998, 1999) at Chung-Cheng Gallery, National Taiwan Arts Education Institute.
A frequent adjudicator of international watercolour prizes and regular contributor to Australian Artist magazine, as well as other international art journals, Castagnet is the author of Watercolor Painting with Passion, (International Artist Publishing 2001) and Beyond Technique: Painting with Passion, published in 2013.
He is represented in public, corporate and private collections internationally, including Mitsubishi Australia, IBM Argentina, The City of Malvern, The City of Glen Waverley, Aerolineas Argentinas and Quanhua Watercolour Art Gallery, Zhujiajiao, China.
Elected a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute in 2009, Castagnet is also a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Ohio Watercolor Society and the Asociacion Cultural Uruguya de Acuarelistas (the Uruguayan Cultural Association of Watercolourists).