Alvaro With his New Book

“Greetings from the frozen north. I just received your new book today. When I unwrapped it, the cover was absolutely beautiful. After a quick peek through the artwork I knew I had my shot in the arm for the winter. It is the most gorgeous book I have in my entire library., and I haven’t even read it yet. I just had to rush upstairs to my computer and email you. Congratulations to an extremely talented, hard-working and passionate artist with a vision.”

“Maestro Alvaro. The book came for Chinese New Year. It’s very exciting and has so many moods with all the freely brushed colours. I especially like the narrative of how and where a painting materialized from. Sounds like you. demos great. I told my class I would bring the book as soon as it arrives.”
Muchos gracias from Manitoba

“I just received your book yesterday & LOVE it! Thank you so much Alvaro for first, your inspiration and guidance….I often thought after the workshop in Lunenburg, NS of what you said “Let your paintings be your Guide ” and when I read this once again (tutor) in your new book it just solidified this commitment in my mind. I also have to say you have a beautiful family and when you said how much you miss them when you travel I can certainly understand.”

“I have had you new book for about a week and it is very inspirational and I know it will help improve my work. I love the way you paint. Thanks so much for the book.”

Alvaro at a workshop teaching his students“It was a wonderful workshop. Not only did I just love watching you paint, but I thought you offered so much of yourself. Not just the artist, but the person inside, too. I don’t know if someone with your gifts as an artist gets tired of hearing it, but it was special for me to be able to learn from a master, which is what I consider you. You say you are not a good teacher, but I thought you were a great teacher.

What did I learn? To not be afraid of using color. To get the shapes right. To have lost and found edges. To get the values right. It’s really changed how I paint.

I learned to try to look for the feeling and for the magic in my subject when I paint. So that my painting tells a story, or moves someone when they look upon it. I learned a new way of looking at how I approach my painting.”

“You are a great artist (I looked at works of others that are on top of the game, and they don’t even remotely come close to that degree of abstraction that you do your painting with) and a wonderful person. To see you work miracles every day, twice a day, and share it so generously with us was a life-changing experience.

So… be well, paint well (I don’t have to tell you that – you ALWAYS paint well!), have a great time with your family, and I hope to catch one of your workshops on this continent (when I will become at least slightly better).”

“On my behalf I must tell you that you absolutely changed the way I see the world, and I feel very grateful for that. You gave us more than a usual bag of tips and tricks but a vision – the best gift a teacher can give to his students. You were very generous about sharing everything you know with us, and it’s precious. I don’t know how I interpret all that in my work, but I’ll try my best (it’s hard because I’m slaving in the office from 9 to 5, and totally out of breath when I get home, but I’ve been painting every day since I came home). my best.”

Alvaro punishing his brushes

“I have just received the packet containing my order of four of your brushes. I am truly delighted with them. They are like nothing I have ever used before, and they inspire me. You have designed beauties. I am, like many other water colourists, delighted by your work and helped by your demos, but, more particularly, your attitude to drawing, colour, set up and application. Good luck in Australia. I wish I could be there. I wish you well. Thank you.”
“Meeting you and learning from you were instrumental in my art and my life and I will always consider you my mentor.”
Vinita Papas


“No tengo palabras para agradecerles y comentarles la enorme alegría que siento por haber pasado ese valioso tiempo al lado de ustedes, por la gran amabilidad y simpatía que tuvieron en relación a nosotros.

Veo esta experiencia como una de la más gratificantes y productivas que tuve en los últimos años, la belleza de tu obra, nos impacta y nos hace analizar el ambiente de una forma nueva y diferente.

Solo tengo palabras de agradecimiento. Espero reencontrarlos pronto en el próximo workshop.

Un fuerte beso y abrazo”

Market Square a classic watercolor of Alvaro Castagnet“I am only just—just—beginning to come down to earth after my wonderful holiday in South America, and what a wonderful time you gave us. No wonder so many of your students come back time and again for another painting holiday. I really hope I can join you again somewhere for another exciting adventure. I am having fun, following all your advises…”
Cilla Campbell

“We really enjoyed Alvaro’s visit. He has a great personality and outstanding talent. Some of his ideas will always be with us along with the many humorous things. He really inspired us to push past our safe comfort zone and take risks.” Nancy Newman, CA

“This is just a note of thanks. Since seeing your work and having purchased your book, several years ago, I have been greatly inspired to re-evaluate my own work. I see things differently now and have been refreshed. I greatly appreciate your work and I truly believe that you are one of the greats. Thanks again for your accidental influence on my life and work.”
Ian Ramsay

Boats a serene watercolor scene

“I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful workshop at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. I have always had an affinity to watercolour and have wanted to make it my primary focus in my art. You have opened my eyes to the incredible possibilities of the medium and ignited a desire to really go after learning how to master watercolour! Your teaching, passion for art & life, and generosity of sharing your knowledge is so very much appreciated. So thank you, thank you, thank you for an unforgettable week and I look forward to working with you again.”
Deborah O’Sullivan

“The painting course was just great. I enjoyed it very much. As a person, you are full of fun and humor and I admired how cool you handled the delay of your (important)suitcase. As a painter you are a good observer, improviser and very skilled as well as daring. Your technique is sublime. You made me look at watercoloring in a different way. The contrast can be extreme, the colors do not always have to be transparent, there should be drama(!)and really anything is allowed, though used in an artistic manner. And yes, figures often make a painting more interesting.

I want to thank you for your effort to teach us to look at the medium and its possibilities in a different matter. And of course for your incredible open way of sharing with us. I am practicing to combine your way with my own feelings, which is not always easy, but fun, yes?”

“On behalf of the Toronto Watercolour Society, I would like to thank you for coming to Toronto, giving a great demonstration of a Street Scene to the rest of the membership, last Wednesday evening. It was impressive to watch you paint and explain how you would progress as you went along. Your strong colourful style and interpretation of lights and dark brought such depth and feeling into the painting. Thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule to be with us and share your expertise. Seeing your wonderful paintings was an inspiration to us all. It was a most enjoyable and informative evening.”
Sue Nelson
Assistant to Terri Flaser, Programmes

“Alvaro made such a difference in my work. I shall be forever grateful.”
Chuck VH

“You make beautiful classical style paintings with such ease! I can not believe what I see when watching!”
Ted F

Coastal watercolor scene“I attended a watercolor workshop in Columbus, Ohio by Alvaro Castagnet. He is a fantastic artist, and quite a character. Alvaro believes the primary goal of an artist is to interpret the world around him. He paints with subdued, or grayed, hues, with some bright color as accents. He uses squirrel mops almost exclusively. Using the mop brushes, and concentrating on soft and dry brush strokes and deep darks, I finally painted loose paintings, and paintings of city scenes – both of which I have been working to accomplish. I was exhausted by the end of the week. It will be exciting to work to incorporate Alvaro’s approaches into my own paintings during the coming months.”
Jim O

“I feel the energy and encouragement you portray in the workshops are a great lesson to us all. Thank you again; I look forward to seeing more of your paintings.”
Karen P

Award Winning Cafe Scene by the World Class watercolor painter

“Your philosophy on art and what it means to be a painter spoke to my heart and artistically, it changed my life! I had a great time and learned a tremendous amount. I’m getting on the art superhighway no matter what the obstacle. I plan to exploit the medium and apply only glorious brush strokes from here on.”
Mick McA

“Thanks to you, I’m enjoying watercolor painting more and I’m feeling I’m a step farther. I loved the way you were painting, the spontaneity and simplicity of movements of your strokes with your brushes. You are a great teacher, and you gave us a lot of information but most of all we all we could see that you were painting with your heart and with a lot of pleasure.”
Rita B

“Thank you for your generous teaching and demos in Maine. I learned so much! Since Maine, I have painted 3 new paintings, entered them in area art shows, and all three have won awards!”
Barbara D

bikers by Alvaro Castagnet

“Just a note to thank you for the wonderful inspiration and painting tips at the workshop.”
Karen W

“I enjoyed my time with you on the Costa Blanca. I’ve had time to absorb the lessons and my painting has undoubtedly improved!”
David G