Sunday, December 23, 2012

Watercolor With Life

Click image for much larger view.

Click image for much larger view.

Click image for much larger view.

I FIRST FELL IN LOVE WITH WATERCOLOR IN HIGH SCHOOL. I had one of those black metal flip open Prang watercolor sets, with the little ovals of pigment—just waiting to come alive with the addition of water. Watercolor allowed me to find translucency of color, spontaneity of application and a freedom I had never known. It was in college that I saw watercolor reemerge in the masterful hands of Edward Reep, our artist-in-residence at East Carolina University. Reep was an artist during the Second World War, and a damn good one. Check out my earlier post on Ed Reep on this blog here.

I recently discovered the work of Alvaro Castagnet, a watercolor painter from Montevideo, Uruguay who I delivers watercolor to white paper in a way I have not seen in quite some time. This man is a painter! He chooses watercolor because he innately understands the fact that only watercolor can deliver the kind of light one sees everyday. Using wet-on-wet and even a dry brush across dry paper—Castagnet has the amazing ability of interpretation. By that, I mean he is able to look at a crazy busy marketplace or city street (at night or day) and find the soul of the place. Castagnet is not interested in fussy details—things we do not see or remember anyway. He delivers the place—the moment—the essence.

See more about Alvaro Castagnet here.

With his talent, his strength, I wonder what his interpretation of say, the war in Afghanistan would be like? I wouldn’t blame him for not wanting to go there, because he would be putting his beautiful life on the line for a cause that is not his. Still, with his ability—I can see that this man could deliver to the world a view of that country—and the hell of the war—in a way that has not been seen.

It does make me wonder—where have the American war artist’s gone? Are the Ed Reep’s of the world not valued any more?


Hannah Stephenson said...

These are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

WOW! wonderful watercolors...Gary

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Mark Martel said...

There are still great American war artists, here's one:

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