Tag Archives: Alla Prima

Alla Prima, Sailor Girl…

Alla Prima, Sailor Girl

Alla Prima, Sailor Girl

I recently completed this portrait in a 5 hour (less breaks) session working alla prima from a life model and was really happy with the outcome.  Had thought about putting a background to it later however in the end I decided to keep its original freshness and leave it as it is.  I have called her “Sailor Girl” after our model, Ilise, named her. The painting is painted on board, fijian cedar, which I love to work on.  I get them cut to size at Mister Plywood, and then prime them myself.   They come up with a beautiful finish.

Lois Lane…

Lois Lane, Oil on board, 39cm x 35cm

Lois Lane, Oil on board, 39cm x 35cm

This portrait was done in one session, although initially I had left  a plain background.  At home and looking at how I had captured the model, I just kept thinking of Lois Lane.  So it was time to have a bit of fun and play with that background. The articles about Superman seemed to fit in.   

Latest Portrait 2: Alla Prima, Kristian

Alla Prima:  Kristian, Oil on board, 40cm x 39cm

Alla Prima: Kristian, Oil on board, 40cm x 39cm

Completed just yesterday in one sitting, this Alla Prima portrait of Kristian was quite exciting to paint.  Kristian is a dancer and had great features and given his background I wanted to play with colours for a more theatrical look.  Hopefully he will model for us again.
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Time flies…

Alla Prima: Kim
Alla Prima: Kim

Time flies when you are working from a life model in our portrait class.  It is amazing though what can be achieved in five hours.  Today’s alla prima portrait was of Kim.  Working purely in terra rosa and raw umber, it has been a great exercise in honing tone.  A lot of fun however not so easy. 

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Alla Prima in Terra Rosa…

Alla Prima in Terra Rosa

Alla Prima in Terra Rosa


Inspired by Richard Schmid’s “Alla Prima” book, yesterday I had fun doing this “Alla Prima in Terra Rosa”.  I loved the way the face emerges from the board.  Our model, Grace, thought she ought to be writing an 18th century novel with that mystical look and in those sepia tones.  Much fun! 

Am looking forward to doing another alla prima portrait today with a new model.

First “Alla Prima” portrait painting…

Inspired by Richard Schmid’s “Alla Prima” book I have recently been reading, this week in portrait classes with Nafisa I challenged myself to begin and complete (as best possible in the timeframe) my first alla prima portrait painting in that session.  As we are about to go away on holidays, I had only one week with this particular model so it was a perfect opportunity. 

It was the first time we had had Andrew as a model and he was great to work with.   A very professional model, strong yet with a gentle soul.    For a first of this type of painting, I was very happy with the outcome. The fact that I had been able to achieve a reasonable likeness in a relatively short space in time and to finish in itself was exciting.   (I did do a little bit more the next day in my studio, in better light I could see a couple of adjustments that needed to be made however in essence the work was completed).   On viewing my painting, Andrew commented he thought there is the way we see ourselves, the way others see us and then there is the way we hope others may see us.  In my painting, Andrew thought I had captured how he would like others to see him and I sense that was the strength of his features yet with the gentleness and peacefulness that is very much part of who he is.   A great session.   Thanks Andrew!

Books I’m reading…and sources of inspiration

As an artist and an avid reader, I am always on the look out for sources of inspiration and great reference books.  If I am not painting, and I usually find at night the lighting is just not right for me, then I am studying and learning from others who are further down the artist track. 

So just looking at the pile I am dipping into at the moment, I have Valerie Winslow’s “Classic Human Anatomy, The artist’s guide to form, function and movement”, a great anatomy guide with brilliant drawings in it.  I am also enjoying reading Betty Churcher’s “Notebooks”, her inspiring story and cannot imagine how I would cope if I were to lose my eyesight and not be able to paint.  And my latest delight is Richard Schmid’s book “Alla Prima, Everything I know about painting” which was recently recommended to me and arrived at my door yesterday.  Such an inspiration.  Our house is one full of books…and paintings…and too many to mention them all however some of my all time favourites, ones I keep returning to for their beauty and inspiration, are  both Juliette Aristides books “Classical Drawing Atelier” and “Classical Painting Atelier” and Suzanne Brooker’s “Portrait Painting Atelier”.  No Kindle could ever take the place of holding these beautiful books in my hands, how they have been put together and to feel the weight of their substance.