Monday, March 17, 2014

Alla Prima

I'm practicing for another Face Off live painting demo. This time at Principle Gallery's Charleston location, April 4, 2014, 5-8pm. I'll be painting alongside Rachel Constantine and Alia El-Bermani from the same model. The event is free and open to the public. Please stop by and see us!

This is a painting I did last week. I thought everyone might enjoy seeing a few shots of the piece in progress. This is an alla prima process which means that it was painted in one sitting. Alla Prima is Italian and literally means "at once." I apologize for the less than adequate iPhone images.

This was after one 20 minute session. I try to get the head the right size, decide the placement of the features and notice the areas of shadow and light. I'm blocking in with burnt umber slightly thinned with my medium mixture of linseed oil/OMS in a 60/40 ratio.
Next I continued working on the umber shapes. I rubbed out the reflected light with a T-Shirt. I blocked in the light areas noticing the peculiarities of the shapes, and varied the color slightly where I saw big changes.
During this session I continued making adjustments to the shadow and light shapes. I brought the hairline down and worked on the shape of the face. Between this step and the final I had one more session that I forgot to shoot :(
Meghan in a Cool Mood, 20x16, oil sketch on canvas board.
All told, it was a 3 hour model session. With breaks, we had five 20 minute sessions of actual time with the model.

Alla Prima Pros:
Alla prima painting is an entirely different style of painting than my studio work. I highly recommend it. I think it's fun, exhilarating and it has made me a better painter. It improves confidence with a brush and decision making, because, let's face it, there's no time to ponder a particular shade of pink! Just get something down that is close and move on.

Time Distortion:
One very strange thing I've noticed about these sessions is that the first 20 minutes seems very long, and with each successive session, time seems to go faster and faster. It's a very strange phenomenon because the feeling is so pronounced. I'm used to getting "in the zone" while I work but it feels different. Maybe it's because the timer's interruption causes artificial breaks rather than times when I'm naturally coming out of the zone, like bathroom or food breaks or some body part or another has gone to sleep.

The time passing faster is a lot like life, isn't it? Time seems to pass faster all the time as we age and it's the same with the life of each of these little sketches.

Other tid bits:
~The canvas is Frederix Belgian Linen Paint Board.
~It was stained with an acrylic wash in burn umber.
~I use almost exclusively Rembrandt oil paints, and Silver & Rosemary brushes.

I invite you to follow me on Tumblr and on InstagramClick Alla Prima to see my other posts on the this fun subject.

Enjoy! See you in Charleston. 


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