Oil Painting for Beginners - Alla Prima Techniques

 Oil Painting for Beginners - Alla Prima Techniques


In this course, we will take an in-depth look at the techniques of Alla Prima painting with oils. Alla Prima is also known as direct painting or wet-into-wet painting. I think "Alla Prima" has a nice ring to it! Alla Prima translates roughly as "all at once" or "the first attempt" but what it means is that we are painting directly, or wet into wet. Traditional oil painting techniques involve waiting for layers of paint to dry before applying subsequent layers. But Alla Prima painting is more spontaneous and allows us to complete an entire painting quite fast!


The great thing about Alla Prima is that we can paint very quickly, right when the inspiration strikes us! It's also a wonderful way to explore color interactions and teach ourselves to "loosen" up in our painting process. The advantages of Alla Prima are also its challenges. You may find yourself frustrated when you have spent time mixing a perfect color on your palette but when you apply it to your painting, it gets "smushed" into the color below it. Or you may find that you've applied so much paint that you literally cannot apply even one more stroke even though you're not done yet. 

This course outlines and demonstrates the best practices of Alla Prima application techniques to help you make painting simpler. By thinking through the logical layers of a painting, you can have a more methodical approach and you'll also gain a better understanding of how to paint any subject matter by thinking about it in terms of the layering techniques of Alla Prima painting.

I'll demonstrate Alla Prima with a very limited color palette so you can see clearly how I think about the initial painting layers (these are the most mysterious because they are not very evident in a final painting, but highly necessary). I'll also talk about how the "Fat Over Lean" principle applies to Alla Prima techniques and why it's so important to paint "dark to light," reserving the use of white to the final stages of painting. 

The project for this course is to give it a go with Alla Prima! I've attached a couple of photo references to the Project section of the course, or use whatever inspires you in the moment! Try to stick to a subject that is relatively simple so you can focus on technique.

 Oil Painting for Beginners - Alla Prima Techniques

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