Every metropolis has a unique pulse. Artist Álvaro Castagnet travels the world to capture the dynamic energy of various cities in expressive watercolor paintings. By using this light and brilliant medium, Castagnet is able to paint en plein air and swiftly render the essence of daily life felt at that moment.
Born and currently based in Uruguay, the South American artist studied painting at the Fine Arts University in Montevideo. His creative practice focuses on painting everyday scenes of modern life—often portraying people riding bicycles, driving cars, or lounging at cafes, all against urban and architectural backdrops. A great traveler himself, Castagnet flies to several different locations each year to document new and exciting places in his painting.
Although it’s rare for internationally-recognized artists such as Castagnet to paint primarily in watercolor, the artist finds that the translucent, fast-drying medium best illustrates the fleeting, everyday moments. With his brush, Castagnet deftly paints crowds of people and intricate architecture in an expressive style. The intentional anonymity of the figures gives the viewer a sense of living in the painted city. Likewise, the atmospheric, Impressionist-like backgrounds—which vary in detail—provide a sense of transience. “To create mood and atmosphere, concentrate on the light, the brushstrokes, and the texture rather than the objects themselves,” the artist explains. “This will inevitably lead us to simplicity.”
Castagnet discloses more of his philosophical approach to painting in his instructional book Beyond Technique: Painting With Passion, which is available for purchase via Amazon. You can also follow the artist on Instagram to keep up to date with the artist’s latest creations.