Workshop Report: Impressionist Approach to Watercolor with Alvaro Castagnet

We had a full house of 20 artists for a weekend watercolor workshop with Uruguayan artist Alvaro Castagnet at the beginning of August. Aside from onsite painting around the Hudson River Valley, the workshop was also treated to a full birthday surprise for one of our attendees with balloons and a very special gluten free cake from a local bakery. Here’s a few things the students had to say about their experience;

As a day student, I liked seeing the Greenville Arms Inn very much, and was impressed with the quality of the paintings on the walls of the inn. Any of the staff that I happened to meet were very friendly and helpful.

Thank you so much for offering vegetarian options at lunch and dinner . . . plus making them gourmet! Gnocchi was magnifico; apple pie and chocolate chip cookies outstanding.”

Alvaro’s workshop exceeded my expectations! I was familiar with his paintings, and I had seen some of his videos, but to witness his painting, and his explanations he gave as he painted was dramatic and exciting and eye-opening. I greatly appreciated his opening lecture on his philosophy of art, which clarified for me my mission as an artist.

My stay at the Greenville Arms for the Alvaro Castagnet Watercolor Workshop has been a complete delight. I have a severe Gluten allergy complicated by other food allergy considerations, yet, for every meal Chef Mark LaPolla produced completely delightful gourmet meals that more than met my needs and made me feel so pampered and so welcome.

As always, we’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class.

Five Questions for Artist Alvaro Castagnet

Returning to the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops this year, all the way from Uruguay is watercolor artist Alvaro Castagnet. This year, Alvaro will be instructing a three-day workshop on an Impressionist Approach to Watercolor for intermediate and advanced students from August 3-9, 2017. In advance of his workshop, which is almost full, he kindly took a moment to answer a few questions for us.

Q:Where do you draw your inspiration from?
AC: The hustle and bustle of life!

Q: What are you most proud of in regards to your art?
AC: Proud to be able to; get into the studio everyday, be honest with myself, and affect so many people in a positive way.

Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?
AC: The biggest challenge is to get my hand to reproduce what my heart feels.

Q: What advice has influenced you?
AC: Follow your heart, do not let anyone distract from your gut feeling.

Q: Is there something you are currently working on, or excited about starting that you can tell us about?
AC: I am always working towards improving my own work, to express with honesty my feelings and my personal view about art. This is why everyday is so exciting for me! A new opportunity!

Learn more about Alvaro’s workshop with us here.
Learn more about Alvaro on his website and follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Intrepid Watercolors with Alvaro Castagnet

Alvaro’s demos were very worthwhile. He is a gifted artist. The meals at the inn were extraordinary! It was an excellent experience.” – Nancy

Alvaro Castagnet was here last week teaching a 5 day plain air watercolor workshop. He was here at the right time to catch all the fall colors at the peak! IMG 2341
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Even though one day was on the rainy side, this intrepid group still went out to a local farm to paint for the day and only had to escape to inside a barn for a short period of time. It was a great opportunity for Alvaro to do an interiors demo! 14700851 10154657843746670 8882449106067811472 o On another day the group went down to paint riverside by the Hudson River in the town of Athens. Lots of great subject matter and they also enjoyed discovering the local brewery, Crossroad Brewing Company, for lunch. IMG 3971
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A floor “gallery” of the maestro’s paintings both during the class demos, and well as on location at many of Alvaro’s international travel spots. IMG 2369 A merry and spirited time was always had around the dinner table every night, but the final dinner on Friday night was especially festive. There were toasts, speeches, singing, and dancing. 14692043 10154662354171670 832096763521836365 o Do miss your opportunity to discover this experience next year when Alvaro returns to teach a 3 day workshop in July.

Watercolor – Alvaro Castagnet Style!

“Alvaro is a masterful teacher!” ” Alvaro painted like mad and was excellent as usual.” “I had heard about Alvaro from my art friends. I learn a lot of new strategies.”

These were just some of the glowing reports we had about the fun week this group had in Alvaro Castagnet’s workshop. The weather was marvelous, so the class enjoyed hopping to a different Hudson River town each day, as well as hanging local to the inn and art studio. IMG 3390
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Even artists can vamp for the camera! IMG 3400
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If you missed the chance to join this lively workshop this year, Alvaro will be back again next year, October 16 – 22, 2016, for another 5-day workshop.

Alvaro Castagnet in Upstate New York

It was another wonderful week of Fall weather for the Alvaro Castagnet workshop full of technique and inspiration. As Alvaro says,

It is important to handle your technique with confidence, because that will give you, as the artist a sense of security. Technique is like a river flowing, it is dynamic and always changing because the more we progress, the more we know, and so our technique gets better.”

The first day was spent painting around the inn grounds.


Dinnertime was always a rousing time with this group. There were chants for more of the great food!


Mark, the chef extraordinaire, was more than happy to oblige. Here he is creating the amazing sauce for the Steak Diane.


And don’t these brioche just make you want to roll over and beg for more?


Alvaro likes to do kitchen paintings, with all the wonderful steam, activity and motion. He got Mark’s permission to come in the kitchen while he worked at take lots of reference photos, something not usually allowed! I can’t wait to see the paintings that may be inspired by the photos.


One another day of the workshop, the class went out to a local farm to paint. You can see what a gorgeous day it was with all the clear blue sky.


Critiques can be tough, but a hug makes it all better.


Alvaro will be returning to teaching another workshop in 2015. Remember to sign up early to get in to his always very popular workshop.

Alvaro’s Passionate Watercolor

You have to be passionate about your painting and about painting outdoors when you take a workshop by Alvaro Castagnet.

The second day of the workshop was bright and sunny — but “brisk” because of the cold wind. It did not deter these passionate painters from spending the day in the Hudson riverside town of Coxsackie. Bundled against the chill, they still found inspiration on this vintage town.


Lunchtime. Is this a group of artists or homeless waifs?


Wednesday brought out the sun again, but this time it was luckily without the wind. A beautiful Fall day at the farm.


The animated conversations continued around the dinner table.


Hmm. Looks like someone opted for a piece of the apple pie from the previous dinner rather than have the decadent chocolate cake being served that evening! Not something I would ever do, but the group loved having options. They especially loved that fact that any leftover dessert (carrot cake, apple pie, chocolate cake, fruit tarts) would be put out the following afternoon for an after workshop snack.


On the final day, which was a rainy day, Alvaro did a charcoal sketch and then a watercolor demo in the front parlor of our inn, the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn. The groups is gathering around here to take pictures of the finished sketch.


This is the sketch. Love how Alvaro has interpreted the space.


The October Glories in our front yard are putting on their Fall color show.