Richard Schmid Alla Prima: A Masterclass in Painting
Richard Schmid is one of the most renowned and respected painters of our time. His book, Richard Schmid Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting, is a comprehensive guide to his approach and techniques, covering topics such as drawing, color, composition, edges, values, light and shadow, brushwork, and more. The book is filled with hundreds of beautiful examples of his work, as well as step-by-step demonstrations and exercises.
In this article, we will explore some of the key concepts and insights from Schmid's book, and how they can help you improve your own painting skills. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced painter, you will find something valuable and inspiring in Schmid's wisdom and experience.
What is Alla Prima
Alla prima is an Italian term that means \"at first attempt\" or \"at once\". It refers to a painting method where the artist completes the painting in one session, without waiting for the paint to dry or using layers of glazes. Schmid explains that alla prima is not only a technique, but also a philosophy of painting that emphasizes spontaneity, freshness, and directness.
Alla prima painting requires a high level of skill and confidence, as the artist has to make quick and accurate decisions about color, value, shape, and edge quality. Schmid advises that alla prima painting should not be rushed or sloppy, but rather done with care and attention to detail. He also warns against overworking or overcorrecting the painting, as this can ruin the vitality and harmony of the brushstrokes.
How to Draw for Painting
Schmid believes that drawing is the foundation of painting, and that every painter should master the basics of drawing before attempting to paint. He defines drawing as \"the ability to make any shape you want, any size you want, anywhere you want it\". He stresses that drawing is not about copying what you see, but rather understanding what you see and translating it into shapes on your canvas.
Schmid recommends using a variety of drawing tools and methods, such as pencils, charcoal, brushes, knives, sponges, fingers, etc. He also suggests using different types of lines, such as straight lines, curved lines, broken lines, dotted lines, etc. He advises that drawing should be done with a light touch and a loose grip, to avoid stiffness and tension. He also encourages experimenting with different angles and perspectives, to create more dynamic and interesting compositions.
How to Mix Colors
Schmid is known for his brilliant and harmonious use of color in his paintings. He explains that color is not only a visual phenomenon, but also an emotional one. He says that color can evoke moods, feelings, memories, associations, and sensations in the viewer. He also says that color can create contrast, depth, atmosphere, temperature,
and movement in a painting.
Schmid advises that color mixing should be done on the palette before applying it to the canvas. He recommends using a limited palette of primary colors (red,
and blue), plus white
(or brown). He says that this allows for more control
and consistency in color harmony
and temperature. He also suggests using complementary colors (opposite colors on the color wheel) to create vibrant
and lively effects.
How to Paint Edges
Schmid considers edges to be one of the most important elements of painting. He defines edges as \"the transition between one shape
and another\". He says that edges can create illusions of depth,
and movement in a painting. He also says that edges can convey mood,
and atmosphere in a painting.
Schmid explains that there are four types of edges: hard
edges. Hard edges are sharp
and they indicate clarity
and definition. Soft edges are blurry
and they indicate softness
and vagueness. Lost edges are invisible
and they indicate merging
or blending. Found edges are visible
and they indicate separation
Schmid advises that edge quality should be varied according to the subject matter