Alla Prima Oil Painting

Summer 2018

Alla Prima Figure Painting: Intermediate to Advanced

Class Start Date:  August 2, End Date: August 23

Days: Thursdays,   Time: 1:00 – 3:30pm

This “alla prima” (at first attempt) painting mini-course really gets to the heart of what representational painting really is, pieces of color on a canvas.  Yet when the color is accurately mixed and placed next to other accurate pieces of color, the paint vibrates and tricks the eye into believing the marks are more than just paint.   This workshop stresses application paint and color mixing to get an accurate painting the first time.   An excellent workshop for those who need practice “seeing color”.  More info Minimum age 16

Please take note there is a one-time $20 model fee for this class.


Click HERE to enroll


Schedule of Classes:

Class 1) August 2nd – Demonstration:  The Alla Prima Technique:  What is important to the painting? “Proportion Mapping”

Student Goal – Lay the painting ground work

Class 2) August 9th Finish painting from last week

Class 3) August 16 – Figure, one day alla prima painting (Limited palette)

Class 4) August 23 – Figure, one day alla prima painting (Full palette


Suggested Material List for Oil Paint


Oil painters- I recommend a BIG wood pallet

The ABSOLUTE BEST is a New Wave –



*3 canvas boards/panels/canvases 

My personal preference is panel.  I make my own, but panels made by “Ampersand” with a ¾” cradle are very comparable.  One day paintings can be small sizes (16×16 or less).


Brushes- (suggested)- Natural Hair Brushes or Synthetic Brushes 

Typically, I use “Winsor Newton Monarch Synthetic” or Jack Richardson “Grey Matter” brushes, you can use any brand you like as long as they are “oil or acrylic” brushes and have a long handle.  For alla prima, I prefer synthetic or nature sable hair.  I mostly stick to filbert brushes.

Filberts- size 4, size 8, size 12 :  Round- Size 4  (use your best judgement though)



 “Master’s Brush Cleaner and Preserver” soap disk

“Gamsol” mineral spirits

Brush cleaning tank – to put Gamsol in, OR you can make this with an old salsa jar and chicken wire


Mediums (what you add to increase the paint “flow”) I do not use mediums for alla prima

If you must though… “Alkyd” Walnut oil (made by M.Graham) 

Medium cup (Or small baby food jar to hold medium)



Metal Pallet knife/painting knife (Liquitex brand, #12, #13 or #14) no plastic knives

Stick of Vine Charcoal

Something to carry everything, (art box, French easel, portfolio, back back, etc)

Paper Towel (I like to Scott, blue paper towel, you can buy at Costco or hardware store)


Suggested Paint (small tubes, 37-40ml)

For Oil Paint, my favorite brand is “M. Graham Paint” (found at the Rockville Plaza store only) and “Gamblin” for a “well-balanced paint for the price”.  I like Williamsburg, but it’s too expensive for some colors.


Cadmium Lemon Yellow

Cadmium Yellow Medium

Cadmium Orange

Cadmium Red

(Permanent) Alizarin Crimson

French Ultramarine

Cerulean Blue


Sap Green

Naples Yellow

Yellow Ochre

Burnt Siena

Burnt Umber

Titanium White (Big tube)


Other (fantastic) colors

Quinacridone Magenta -Gamblin brand

Bohemian Earth Green -Williamsburg brand

Juane Brilliant (substitute for Naples Yellow) – figure painting

Flake White (substitute for Titanium White) – figure painting

Cobalt Teal Gamblin brand


Recommended Reading


“Alla Prima:  Everything I know about Painting ” by Richard Schmid


Hawthorne on Painting collected by Mrs. Charles Hawthorne