June 02, 2014

Mixed Bag

Another mixed bag of expectation versus result. Someone once told me that Alla Prima painting is too hit or miss. At least for this person it was. I think that's true, but I kind of live for those hits. Or at least the promise of them, as they can be glorious.

The likeness in this painting was off---way off! But the positive side was that I think the handling in general is fair. 

So there. I'm seeing the glass half-full and feeding off the positives. I definitely have been ruminating about how I plan to present myself moving forward. Or maybe it would be better if I said, what I want to project in my painting. We'll see how it pans out. I'm trying not to be too rigid at this point. Finding yourself, I think, doesn't seem to be a linear path you can plot out with a high degree of specificity. But I do have standards that whatever it is I do must reflect my initial personal inspiration.

God help me.

Oil on Canvas Paper - 11 x 14


  1. Your work amazes me. I cannot even begin to comprehend beginning a piece like this much less completing one. Is this what you call Alla Prima painting? It’s fabulous. Would you ever consider videoing your process, if it’s not too personal? Forgive me if it is. One day I’ll devote time to painting, but for now my pen and paper are much easier for me to clean up. :)

    1. Truly, you are too kind.

      Alla Prima is (Ibelieve) Italian meaning "At the first" more or less. All forms of representational art, or realism, when done well are demanding in some way. Alla Prima painting is an effort to capture the subject, whether human or non-human, in one sitting. Some consider it the most demanding painting method of all because of the short amount of time you have to make judgments. You enemy is time and sometimes the change in light conditions as well if you're painting out of doors. My normal tendency is to noodle a painting, which means to labor over detail and accuracy. Think Norman Rockwell. It's a totally valid way to paint. But a fine Alla Prima painting is, I think, a sight to behold. It requires a mastery that's hard to describe and can be exquisite to look at. That's why I say that the "hits" are so glorious. Because it just doesn't always "happen." These days I'm fighting my normal tendencies, one, because I really love to look at good, expressive Alla Prima paintings. Check out the Dan Gerhartz link and others I've given on the right. Two, because I'm starting this painting thing a lot later in life than most, I feel like I don't have the luxury of time to spend possibly weeks laboring over a painting.
      I think I've mentioned I am trying to find myself as a painter. Where I fit in. And what I might have to offer. Not to mention simply what route to take, because there are many. I think it's about knowing yourself, your strengths, your limitations, your temperment, etc.,and being honest with all of it.
      There are people far more qualified than I who are out there making videos for sale on "how-to" so that's probably not in the picture, but thank you for the compliment.
      If what you love to do most is write, then by all means do so. I'm sure it will be God-honoring. And yes, clean-up is much easier.

  2. Oh, I am by no means a writer. My daughters can write, but not me. I like to draw. I have done a few paintings but nothing of your caliber. My natural tendency is to be very detailed in my work and I’d like to step back a bit and do something more impressionistic. This Alla Prima that you’ve mentioned is what I would one day love to try and do. Raising five girls, I have little time for painting, so that’s where pen and ink comes in. It’s how I get my creative fix when I can. I will check out the links you mentioned. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I look forward to watching your journey to find your painting boundaries. For those of us who follow your blog, it’ll no doubt be a beautiful one.