I don’t know about others but sometimes my life just seems to be a constant battle to keep too many plates spinning, and at the moment my painting and blogging plates are beginning to wobble rather ominously!
I simply haven’t been able to dedicate the time and effort to either of late. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Overall I’ve had a pretty good year of constant and consistent painting, so much so that I haven’t had much chance to write about much else other than my own painting. As the past week has been so thin on the painting front, it gives me a rare opportunity to update you with a few recent additions to my watercolour library.
First up is Watercolour Painting with Passion by Alvaro Castagnet. It’s a hardback book, published by International Artist and featuring 128 pages brimful of finished paintings, sketches and works in progress that all deliver a tremendous insight into the brilliance of Alvaro Castagnet.
I’ve already spent a lot of time with this book and really love it. There’s so much to learn. It’s not necessarily all spelled out, but by really close study and observation, it’s all there for the unraveling.
What I think is so fascinating is looking at this book, that’s now around 18 years old, and comparing it with the paintings that he is creating now. Yes, they’re still unmistakably Alvaro, but you can see how his work has become even looser, bolder and more atmospheric. It makes me realise that none of us are at our destination yet, indeed few of us are ever likely to reach it – and that’s perfectly okay because it’s not the arriving that’s important – it’s the journey.
I also have quite a few DVDs by Alvaro Castagnet and, as with this book, find them brilliantly valuable resources, both inspiring and insightful.
I should at this point add a word of caution perhaps. Yes, I admire his skill tremendously, but I don’t want to become a slavish acolyte. I do however want to learn from people whose work I admire. What’s wonderful is that artists such as Alvaro Castagnet are willing to share their years’ of experience so readily and generously.
Next up is Winslow Homer Watercolours written by the renowned curator and historian of American painting, Donelson F. Hoopes. I’m familiar with so many of Homer’s watercolours but this is the first entire book that I’ve purchased dedicated to him. The book was another eBay bargain, particularly for a 1969 first edition.
What was a completely unexpected delight was to find a dedication from the author in the front cover:
A cursory google search revealed that Janet and John Marqusee were involved in property development, publishing and radical politics and Janet Marqusee was both a painter and a successful art dealer.
What’s utterly remarkable about so many of these paintings is how modern they seem. I must confess that I still haven’t studied this book in detail – but I’m absolutely thrilled to add it to my library, and love the little bit of ‘history’ that comes from the inscription.
Does anyone else have any particularly good watercolour reads that you would recommend I look out for? (I do still have room on the shelves for a few more!)