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Mastering Alla Prima Painting Plein Air


  • David Lussier Studio, Salmon Falls Mills 1 Front Street Rollinsford, NH, 03869 United States (map)

We will be painting the New Hampshire Seacoast and Southern Maine area during this workshop. Learn invaluable tools and how to tackle Alla Prima painting with confidence. The term Alla Prima means 'At One Go'. In his remarkable treatise 'In Praise Of Painterly Painters', the late artist, author and teacher, Charles Movalli wrote; painterly painters are surrounded by seeming contradictions. They finish by not finishing, include by leaving out, paint more by painting less. Their means are easy to see, the results, immediately felt. But how such seemingly insufficient means lead to these results is a mystery. 

In this two-day plein air workshop, let us take the mystery out of this painterly approach. Economy of stroke is within every painters grasp if they are willing to approach the painting process with a 'Less Is More' mind set. More than half the battle is a willingness to load the brush with enough paint and make each stroke count for something. Over the weekend, we will strive for this. 

On day one, I will be supplying you with a 16x20 inch panel ready to go. Each panel will be taped off in sections to give you four 8x10 inch painting surfaces. Using the same scene, I will demonstrate 3 separate ways to approach blocking in a painting quickly. These are tried and true methods I incorporate when I am painting in plein air competitions and quick draw events. I want to be able to get to the real painting of my subject before the light changes. I will explain why one of the three block-in approaches works best for my subject and light source and then quickly paint an Alla Prima Sketch on the fourth section of my 16x20 inch panel. Each student will then work on their own painting and be asked to use their 16x20 panel in the same way. On day two we will explore Alla Prima techniques in more depth with regards to paint handling, color and value choices and specific brushwork that can be employed to help capture light and atmospheric effects in our painting. Students should come prepared with the mind set of painting 2 or 3 paintings on day two. 9x12 and 11x14 inch panels are ideal for this. 

To read 'In Praise Of Painterly Painters' by Charles Movalli in its entirety, CLICK HERE.

For some thoughts about Alla Prima painting, CLICK HERE.

This class is appropriate for intermediate through advanced levels. 

Location: Southern Maine-New Hampshire Seacoast. Inclement weather location: 1 Front Street, Salmon Falls Mills, Suite 467 Upper Mill, Rollinsford, NH

Time: 9:00 - 4:00 each day

Cost: $275  Class  size is limited to 12 students. To register send a check for the full amount to:

David Lussier, 80 Olde Mill Rd. Apt 10, Somersworth, NH 03878

Supply List - CLICK HERE