I was first introduced to the concept of Alla Prima (Italian, meaning at first attempt) painting via Richard Schmid’s fantastic book of the same name (full title being Alla Prima – Everything I know About Painting and More).
According to one definition I found online:
Alla prima is a style of painting where, instead of building colours up with layers or glazing over an underpainting, the painting is completed while the paint is still wet. Strictly defined, an alla prima painting would be started and finished in one painting session, but the term is also more loosely applied to any painting done in a direct, expressive style, with minimal preparation.
I love the way Richard Schmid’s work looks and it is a style that I would ideally love to master myself, so having read more about it, the idea of finishing a painting in one session rather than labouring over it and overworking the life out of it resonated with me.
I tend to consider myself relatively loose in painting style so spending days refining tight details is something I fear would frustrate me. I also like the idea of being able to knock out many more paintings over a period of time with this technique. I figure I need to create lots of art to really hone my skills and style so the more pieces I can complete the better I will be.
With this in mind, I decided to make Saturday night ‘Alla Prima’ night for the past 6 weeks with the intention of completing a piece in 2 hours each Saturday evening.
It is amazing the little things you pick up on and improve even over this short period and the sixth image came together much easier than the first.