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July 2012

June 2012

Alvaro Castagnet Course Painting #4


Watercolour 11" x 15" on Saunders Waterford Rough Paper 300 gms

My fourth painting on my Alvaro Workshop and this time looking up the river at Staithes, and the lovely cottages on the river's bend catching the light - I think a popular aspect for all visiting artists.  Lesson learnt on this one, think more about composition and maybe tone down those greens and not make them so green.


Alvaro Castagnet Course Painting #2


Watercolour 15" x 11" on Saunders Waterford paper 300 gms

Second day at Staithes on the Alvaro Workshop.  Instructions from Alvaro were paint on a quarter sheet and with a big brush!  I think with this scene across the valley at Staithes I could have done better with the composition, maybe move the houses closer together and make the steps more of a focus, and that was my lesson of the day - don't be afraid to move things around that you see in front of you to aid the composition.


Alvaro Castagnet Course Painting #1


Watercolour 15" x 11" on Saunders Waterford paper 300 gms

My first painting at the recent Alvaro Castagnet workshop and a view up the tidal river in Staithes North Yorkshire.  This was my first time with Saunders Waterford paper, and whilst not as bright as the usual Bockingford I have used, I loved the surface (mine was rough texture).  Seemed to take an age to dry, even outdoors, and Alvaro has a good tip of carrying a small hair dryer with him to speed up the process (but it does mean nipping into a nearby house to plug the thing in). 


Alvaro Castagnet Painting Course

Just recently I was fortunate to be able to attend a week long painting course with internationally renowned watercolour painter Alvaro Castagnet.  Alvaro is at the top of his game with his unique style of light and action in all his creations.  The course location was North Yorkshire UK, so not known for the deep shadows and strong light which is the trademark of Alvaro.


Each day, Alvaro would do two demonstrations, and we would then do our own painting between these.  Here's a shot of me on location in Staithes with my new lightweight 'Alvaro' Easel made by the great Don Glynn.


Photos courtesy of John Glynn.

First top tip from Alvaro: Remember ying and yang in your paintings.


Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem


Watercolour 15" x 11" on Bockingford paper 140 lbs

Jaffa Gate - one of the ancient entrances to the old city district of Jeruslalem from the West.  The area is of course significant for so many religions, Jews, Christians, Armenians and Muslims as it contains many important sites and tombs. Beyond the gate you also come across a labyrinth of narrow streets and bazaars.


Albufeira Old Town 2


Watercolour 15" x 11" on Bockingford paper NOT 140lbs

Albufeira old town is a very relaxed resort on the Algarve and has a lovely central square decorated with trees and colourful shrubs surrounded by street caf├ęs and restaurants for a quiet meal or a cool drink. The streets leading off the square are a shoppers delight with clothes shops, leather goods (fantastic handbags!), gift shops, street stalls and of course, all the practical shops for daily necessities. There are also many more restaurants and bars in between the shops so there is never a shortage of places to eat and drink!

Backstreet Alexandria Egypt


Watercolour 15" x 11" on Bockingford paper 140lbs

A typical backstreet in Alexandria.  Dust everywhere from a recent storm coming in from the North African Desert, and just adding to the general grime of the place.  But despite the dirt, Alexandria has great charm with the ochre coloured buildings and sharp shadows caused by the strong sun. I just had to get in my painting one of the ubiquitous yellow/black Alexandria taxis - even the bright yellows of the bonnet and boot gets through that saharan dust.


Alexandria Port entrance, Egypt


Watercolour 15" x 11" on Bockingford NOT paper 140lbs

Alexandria, second largest city in Egypt and situated in the North West of the Nile Delta.  The location of the port entrance is a magnet for eager city taxi drivers and horse & carriage owners looking for fares from visiting tourists.  At the time of my visit, the whole area was being excavated with huge new sewage pipes being laid, so not looking really at its best save for the gleaming mosque with it's bright white facade and golden dome.



Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria


Watercolour 15" x 11" on Bockingford NOT paper 140lbs

My second painting of Puerto Rico resort in Gran Canaria and looking up from the centre of town to the steep slopes that enclose it. I am sure anyone holidaying here get great views across the bay and out to sea.