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World-renowned watercolor artist pays visit to Folsom region

By: Eileen Wilson, Telegraph Correspondent
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Alvaro Castagnet might not be a household name, but in the art world, his is a name that needs little introduction. That’s because Castagnet’s original style has gained him fame in art circles across the globe. With his main studio in Montevideo, Uruguay, the international painter has lived and worked in both Australia and Uruguay, where he perfected his watercolor technique. This month the winner of numerous awards, including three from the American Watercolor Society, will bring his unique gift to Folsom Arts Association’s workshop students March 26-30, and to an artist’s reception on March 29. “Our workshops offer a lot of international artists’ instruction,” said Barbara Otey, the association’s marketing director. “The workshop will be each day from 9:30 to 4:30 at the Hampton Inn in Folsom, and we’re excited to offer our first real artist’s reception on March 30 at Hampton Inn, as well.” While the reception, which will take place from 5-7:30 p.m., will include food and beverages, it’s Castagnet’s pieces that visitors will want to experience. These aren’t your typical watercolors. Forget soft pastels and flower petals. Castagnet’s works are edgy. From the blight of smoke-filled urban landscapes, to vibrant restaurant scenes, the artist paints with a passion and vividness most often found in oils and acrylics. Subtle blending and a bent toward vagueness leave art lovers to their own devices — a filling in, if you will, for the finer features of the painting. But that’s the very magic of Castagnet’s art. “Alvaro is an expressive painter, and portrays a strong, impressive, and colorful style with superb interpretation of light effects, capturing the soul of places he paints,” said his wife, Ana Maria. “He has a brisk impressionist style with a great ability to capture the vitality of a scene, which is well suited to the use of watercolors.” Castagnet paints plein air, and will do so with his workshop students next week, weather permitting. “Alvaro’s workshops are an intensive, motivational, and fun learning experience,” Ana Maria said. “Students will be inspired to paint with passion; bold and dramatic compositions that will stimulate emotions and transmit vitality and interest.” Workshops will include Castagnet’s demonstrations, teachings, advice and critiques, and the artist will create a piece, during the workshop, that will be auctioned off during the artists’ reception, that is open to the public. Otey, and Folsom Arts Association members couldn’t be more excited. “Castagnet is such a well-known artist, and we want to share him and his works with the community,” Otey said. “Proceeds from his auctioned painting will go to the Guardian Scholarship Program at Sacramento State,” she said of the program that helps foster youth attend college. Alvaro has held solo exhibitions in numerous countries in the last three decades. “His works grace the walls of many private and corporate collectors worldwide,” Ana Maria said. * * * KNOW AND GO Who: Artist Alvaro Castagnet workshop, reception What: Folsom Arts Association When: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 26-30 Watercolor Workshop; 5 to 7:30 p.m., March 29 Reception and Auction Where: Hampton Inn Suites, 155 Placerville Road, Folsom Info: RSVP requested, folsomarts.org