Alla prima simply means “in one go.” Such a simple oil painting technique is in opposition to painting in layers, and is often one the beginner is will be faced with when learning oil painting.
A Simple Oil Painting Technique
When completing an oil painting in one sitting, the project at hand must not be too challenging or time consuming. Copying from a simple photograph, such as one depicting a flower head or simple landscape would be more suitable than, say a portrait.
Tips on Alla Prima Painting
The benefit of painting alla prima is that the painting will retain its freshness and vibrancy and the learner may explore brush marks and colour streaks within the painting. A style like the French Impressionists will spring to mind. The following tips on alla prima will come in useful:
All Prima Artist Influences
Many great artists have used alla prima, such as Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso and the small oil sketches of Monet. Looking at Impressionism and Post Impressionism, as well as German Expressionism will reveal many paintings that have been completed in one session.
Expressive Oil Paintings
bold, expressive paintings that hold together. Permanent rose, viridian green, burnt sienna with varying amounts of white will challenge the artist in producing a painting with a limited palette. Using the three primary colours and white is another good combination of colours for colour exploration.
Essential Art Materials for Alla Prima
The simplest oil painting materials are required for painting alla prima. Some artists use just three colours, white, a medium sized bristle brush, primed art board, a rag and artist spirits. Painting alla prima is an ideal practice for the beginner easing into oil painting. With more confidence, the artist may venture into trying out other colours and art materials and oil painting techniques.
My Youtube clip below shows how I painted Titian's Bacchus from Bacchus and Ariadne in alla prima. The clip has been speeded up.
My other book, Oil Paintings from the Landscape can be purchased direct from Amazon.
© Rachel Shirley 2010