Oil Painting for Beginners - Alla Prima Techniques | Rachael Broadwell | Skillshare

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Oil Painting for Beginners - Alla Prima Techniques

teacher avatar Rachael Broadwell, Fine Arts Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (1h 20m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. How to Layer an Alla Prima Painting

    • 4. Why We Paint "Dark to Light" (reserve whites for last)

    • 5. Sketching with Alla Prima in Mind

    • 6. Lean Layers (Imprimatura & Block-In)

    • 7. Fat Layer 1 - pt. 1 (Rough Color Block-in)

    • 8. Fat Layer 1 - pt. 2 (Rough Color Block-in - Background)

    • 9. Fat Layer 2 (Building the Base Colors)

    • 10. Fat Layer 3 (Starting to Use White & Medium)

    • 11. Fat Layer 4 (Refining Colors & Adding Highlights)

    • 12. Let's Take a Look!

    • 13. Process Overview

    • 14. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this course, we will take an in-depth look at the techniques of Alla Prima painting with oils. Alla Prima is also known as direct painting or wet-into-wet painting. I think "Alla Prima" has a nice ring to it! Alla Prima translates roughly as "all at once" or "the first attempt" but what it means is that we are painting directly, or wet into wet. Traditional oil painting techniques involve waiting for layers of paint to dry before applying subsequent layers. But Alla Prima painting is more spontaneous and allows us to complete an entire painting quite fast! 

The great thing about Alla Prima is that we can paint very quickly, right when the inspiration strikes us! It's also a wonderful way to explore color interactions and teach ourselves to "loosen" up in our painting process. The advantages of Alla Prima are also its challenges. You may find yourself frustrated when you have spent time mixing a perfect color on your palette but when you apply it to your painting, it gets "smushed" into the color below it. Or you may find that you've applied so much paint that you literally cannot apply even one more stroke even though you're not done yet. 

This course outlines and demonstrates the best practices of Alla Prima application techniques to help you make painting simpler. By thinking through the logical layers of a painting, you can have a more methodical approach and you'll also gain a better understanding of how to paint any subject matter by thinking about it in terms of the layering techniques of Alla Prima painting.

I'll demonstrate Alla Prima with a very limited color palette so you can see clearly how I think about the initial painting layers (these are the most mysterious because they are not very evident in a final painting, but highly necessary). I'll also talk about how the "Fat Over Lean" principle applies to Alla Prima techniques and why it's so important to paint "dark to light," reserving the use of white to the final stages of painting. 

The project for this course is to give it a go with Alla Prima! I've attached a couple of photo references to the Project section of the course, or use whatever inspires you in the moment! Try to stick to a subject that is relatively simple so you can focus on technique.


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Rachael Broadwell

Fine Arts Teacher


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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to my studio. My name is Rachel Broadwell, and this is my skill share Siris on oil painting for beginners Throughout this series, I'm going to walk you through all the fundamentals from the ground up to give you a good solid foundation in oil painting. In this course, we will take an in depth look at the techniques of alla prima painting with oils. Alla prima is also known as direct painting or wet into wet painting, but I think that Alla prima has a nice ring to it. Alla prima translates roughly as all at once or the first attempt, but what it really means is that we're painting directly onto our painting or wet into wet traditional oil. Painting techniques involve waiting for layers of paint to dry before applying subsequent layers. But alla prima painting is more spontaneous and allows us to complete an entire painting quite fast. The great thing about Alla prima is that we can paint very quickly, right when the inspiration strikes us. It's also a wonderful way to explore color interactions and to teach ourselves to loosen up in our painting process. The advantages of alla prima are also its challenges. However, you may find yourself feeling frustrated when you have spent time mixing a perfect color on your palate. But then when you apply, it's here. Painting it gets smushed into the color below it. Or you may find that you've applied so much paint that you literally cannot apply even one more stroke. Even though you're not done yet. This course outlines and demonstrates the best practices of alla prima application techniques to help you make painting simpler by thinking through the logical layers of a painting. You can have a more methodical approach, and you'll also gain a better understanding of how to paint any subject matter by thinking about it. In terms of the layering techniques of alla prima painting, I'll demonstrates alla prima with a very limited color palettes, so that you can see clearly how I think about the initial painting layers. The initial painting layers are the most mysterious because they're not very evident in the final painting, but it's highly necessary to understand these first layers also talk about how the fat over lean principle applies toe alla prima techniques and why it's so important to paint from dark to light, reserving the use of white for the final stages of the painting process. The project for this course is just to give it a go with alla prima techniques. I've attached a couple of photo references to the project section of this course, but you can use whatever inspires you in the moment. Just try to stick to a subject that is relatively simple so that you can focus on technique . All right, I hope that you are ready to dive into the alla prima technique. Let's get painting. 2. Supplies: So let's quickly go over some of the supplies that will be using for this course, and there are not too many. I, for my paints will be using a very simple, limited color palette. And I have a titanium white and azo yellow NAFTA all red, ultra marine, blue raw number for my medium. I am going to be using this walnut al could medium, and you could use linseed oil or whatever medium that you would like if you confined an al could medium. I recommend it just because it will help your painting to dry much faster. And then, of course I have my solvent, which is in this container and for my solvent. As you may know, I like to use this Citrus essence brush cleaner, which I now need to replenish. So we'll just set that there to remind me going to be using two different types of brushes . Now, in my other classes, I mostly have been using these bristle brushes, so this is made by creative mark. But there's lots of brands out there that are wonderful, but I really like this brand, and you can see that these bristles, they're a little bit stiff a little bit course, but then I'm also going to be showing you how useful it can be to have a softer bristled brush. And this is also made by creative Mark, and this is their Black Swan Siri's. So I will be showing you how useful this bristle brush ca NBI in the first layers of your alla prima painting. But then this can be very, very useful, especially if you have a lot of layers of paints. A softer bristled brush will be very useful in the final layers of your alla prima painting . And then I have a palette knife here just for mixing. I won't be applying too much pain, although I may demonstrate a little bit of imposter Oh, in this course, but I do have a full course on palette knife painting, But this will mostly be used in this demonstration just for mixing on my palettes and then , of course, just some paper towels to wipe my brushes off on. And then I'll be demonstrating just using some oil painting paper. All right, so let's go ahead and get started 3. How to Layer an Alla Prima Painting: for this first demonstration. I just want to show you a very simplified version of the layers that we might be using in an alla prima painting. And so I have here just a very simple chart with some squares, and each one in these squares is going to represent a different layer in the alla prima process. Now this does not mean that every alla prima painting is going toe. Have each one of these layers. I would say that you could typically see 3 to 4 layers in an alla prima painting, and in general it's a better practice toe. Have fewer layers because you will actually see during this process that as I move through these layers, it's going to become more difficult. Teoh have each layer applied on top of the other layers, and it's important to remember, too, that in alla prima, we're working with wet paints, and we're applying it on top of other wet layers of paints. And so those layers are always going to be interacting with each other, so every layer that you put on is going to interact with the subsequent layers. And that could be very frustrating, especially if you're new to this process. But really, that's actually the strength of alla prima painting, because it's more spontaneous and we get a lot of unintended interactions between our colors and our layers, and that helps these paintings to feel a little bit more fresh and spontaneous and lively. But again, for beginners, this could be very frustrating, because you may tend to overwork your strokes. You may put down a stroke and not quite like it and think that adding another stroke on top of it is going to remedy that. But typically it's not. And so it's best practice to use the fewest layers possible. Teoh, get your painting across. All right, so let's start with the first layer here, and this is what I typically call the tone. So in my other videos, you'll see that I often or almost always tone my surface before I start painting The proper term for this is in premature A, which is a much trickier word to say so. Just know that these two words are interchangeable with each other, and if you've seen my other classes, you'll probably notice that I like to use a bright red like a permanent rose to tone my surface, however, its more traditional to use an earthy, neutral tone. And so that's what I'm going to do for this demonstration. I'm going to be using my raw number here. And remember, we need Teoh. Stay with the fat over lean principle, and I do have a skill share course on that principle that I go over in detail. And so for the alla prima process, as with any technique and painting, whether it's alla prima or more traditional techniques, we do have to abide by the fat over lean principle. And so it's important to remember this is my solvent, and a solvent is always a thinner. And so that is our leaner layers when we apply solvents and when we're applying medium, that is always adding fat. So for our first layers, and it doesn't mean that you have to use a solvent in your first layers, but most people typically will. So what I did was I just barely dipped my brush into the solvent just the corner of the brush, and I can even kind of try to remove any excess solvents because we don't need much and I want you to to know that if you do a drawing on your surface before you pay and then you go over it with your tone and you add any solvent to that, it's going to erase pencil marks. And you can kind of see that here. So it's really important to remember that. And you can either do a pencil drawing on your surface and then apply a fix it if over that , to help those lines stay in place. Typically, what I do is I don't do any drawing on my surface before I start painting. I like Teoh tone my surface, and then I actually just do my drawing very roughly with paint instead of pencil. But you could actually use pencil on top of urine. Premature A layer. So what? I'm gonna dio You can see I have a little bit of solvent over here on my palette. Gonna grab just a little bit of this raw number kind of work it into the solvent a little bit. And the idea here is to keep this layer very thin and light. So I'm just gonna apply this all over. I don't want to scrub it too much like I typically do when I'm painting. And if you've seen my other videos, typically, what I do is I take my palette knife and I just kind of smear some paint straight out of the tube onto my surface. And then I did my brush into the solvent, and then I kind of work it into the fibers of the surface. But going to try my best to kind of preserve these lines here, so I'm not using much pressure at all. All right, so this is my leanest layer. And even though I worked most of the stolen out of my Brussels, I still want to just kind of pick up any excess, sold it off of here that I can. And for most artists, the whole point of applying an imprimatur, a layer or a toned layer is just to obliterate the white because it's easier to judge your values when you're judging against more of a middle value rather than a very light value, like the white of a canvas or a piece of paper. But this is optional. You don't have to have this in premature layer at all, actually. Alright, so I've picked up you can see here on my paper towel. I've picked up some of that and what I'm going to be doing in between layers. I'm not gonna be cleaning my brush off insolvent. For the most part, I'm just going to remove any excess paint from my bristles, as I can just with my paper towel, because again, no matter what we do, we're going to have interactions between the layers of paints in an alla prima painting. And so it's kind of a fool's errand. Teoh. Try to have a completely clean brush in between every layers. That's more important when you move on to the final layers and you might want a highlight or just a little bit of really pure color. Then you might want to use a clean brush, and you'll also see that for these layers I'm going to stick with this coarser bristled brush. But then when I move to the final layers, I'm going to show you how useful it could be. Toe have a little bit of a softer brush. All right, so now this next layer I typically refer to this is my blocking layer. This is where I typically do my drawings and you could do this with, you know, maybe just more of your raw number or whatever you used Teoh tone, your surface or a player in premature A or you could just use another dark color. But what's important here is that we don't want any white in this layer, and I'm also not going to be putting any solvent in this layer. I'm also not gonna put any medium in this layer, so it's gonna be straight out of the two, but I'm still gonna keep it fairly thin. It's really important in these first layers. Teoh, apply your paint very thinly because the thicker your pain is, the more texture you have in that paints, such as when you're painting an imposter. Oh, it's going to just be almost impossible to apply more paint on top of that. So we need to keep this fairly thin, and I know that you're not gonna be able to see all these little lines in here once this is on, and I'm not going for total coverage at this point. So this would be again, like a block in or a very loose under painting with the L a prima technique. You're not necessarily going to want to do a real detailed under painting or even a detailed drawing. You're just gonna want Teoh, get the biggest shapes in the big masses and kind of just determine where your lights and your shadows are going to be. And we're not going to put any white into this layer, either. So you're just going to make do with a darker color, and I'll do another short demonstration on why, especially with the Alla Prima technique, it's really important to paint from your darks and the work up to your lights. All right, so again, I'm gonna just use my paper towel to remove any excess paint from my brush. No need to completely clean. It's, and now I'm going to move on to my first fat layer. Now these two layers are very similar in the sense that they both don't have any solvents, and they're both not going toe have any medium in them. But I'm going to be able to apply the paint just a little bit thicker in this first fat layer so that it will sit on top of this other. These other two layers So I'm just going to demonstrate this with red and again it's gonna be thicker. But I don't want it to be so thick that I'm not gonna be able to apply paint on top of this . So you can see here that I've got a little bit of build up. Let's see if I can get this a little closer for you. A little bit of buildup of this red pain swoops. You're losing focus here. I think it's just a little too close. Okay, so you could see that there's just a little bit of build up there, but not a lot. And I also need to make sure that I'm using less pressure when applying this and I also with these layers from here on out, I have to be really careful not to overwork my strokes. Actually, for this last stroke that I play down here, I will overwork it and you'll just kind of see what happens. So a very light touch. But let's say let's say I apply a stroke, and for whatever reason, I want to fiddle with it a little bit and so I go over it again, takes more pain. Go over it again, and we're going to start actually mixing the paint together. And you may want that. Typically, I would say that you don't. So when you put a stroke down, try to just leave it. All right, so I'm going, Teoh, go on to my next layer. This is my second fat layer next, and I think, what I'll do a mix up in orange here. So I'm going to start lightening the value, and you can already see that between blue and red. Blue is a much darker value than red, so this is typically what you want. Teoh, due to handle value changes in your paintings rather than adding white toe, lighten the value this early in the process. Try to see if you can just use a color that has a lighter value toe. Lighten up the values as you work through your painting and try to save your whites for last. So it's just add a little bit of Well, actually, we'll need a lot of yellow because this red is very, very powerful. All rights and then what I have is my walnut medium. I've put in this little dish, and so I'm just gonna dip my brush into that medium and then I'll need to have ah, bit more build up on here, as you can see, So this is gonna be the second fat layer, and you're gonna see you're gonna have to use a very, very light touch. But there's going to be interaction between these layers, and there's no way to avoid that. It's just something that you need to know that that's going to happen so that you don't feel frustrated when it does happen. Very light touch. And to help me control the pressure with which I'm applying my paints, I start to adjust my grip on my brush. So the lighter pressure that I want to use I'm gonna start moving my hand further back on the handle of the brush. And this is actually kind of a short handled brush, so you'll be able to really control the pressure that you're applying your paint with. If you have a long handle brush because the further back on the handle that you're holding the brush, the less pressure that you're going to be applying. If you're always holding your brush up here, you're going to find it very difficult. Teoh. Control the amount of pressure. So you want to move it back as you go now and actually going to move on to my softer bristled brush for these next layers. And now I'm finally going to add just a little bit of white as well, Actually, let's, um Let's try to do the third fat layer with just yellow. I'm gonna grab this yellow. We're gonna have to use a lot of it and we're going to use more mediums, so I will dip my brush into my medium here and then. So this brush does have a longer handle. So I'm gonna move my hand just way back here. And the less pressure we use less pressure. Lots of paint build upon the bristles so that the paint consent on top of the other layers . But you can see we're still getting a lot of interaction, which is to be expected, So don't feel frustrated by that. Just know that it's going to happen. And then for the final air, we're going Teoh, I'm gonna show you two different ways of doing this. So we're going to add just a little bit of white in here. So let's just grab some whites right there and then first thing I'll show you is just We're gonna add a lot of medium to help this sit on top of these other layers that are very, very thick already. And so, even though I'm using a pure white here, it's going to mix in with these other colors. So I'm just gonna again hold my brush way back here so there's not much pressure. And then just with a light touch, I'll add that there. Now if I decided to get picky about this and decided I didn't like the shape of the stroke or whatever and started messing with it. This pain is going to get worked into these other layers of paint. And so it's going. Teoh muddy up the colors, and it's also going to make the highlight very ineffective. And so, with highlights, it's best to make small marks and just don't worry about them being perfect. Okay, and then another thing that I like to dio, especially when I'm applying highlights in an AL a prima painting, is instead of adding any medium, I'll just take a bit onto my palette knife Let's just put it right up here and just very light touch. There's really no, um, interaction between the metal of the palette, knife and the surface. There's just this build up of paint. Let's do that again. So I'm gonna get a nice, thick bit of paint here and then the only contact that's going to occur. It's just between the paint and the painting, so just a very small mark. That's my favorite way of applying highlights, and you get a nice imposter. So stroke adds a lot of interest. It's very organic, and it looks nice. So this is kind of just a very simplified version of the alla prima layers. Again, this doesn't mean that you're always going to have this many layers, and as you can see, the more layers we have, the more interaction we get, the less control over how those interactions occur. And so typically, I would say that using fewer layers is going to serve you well, especially if you are a beginner painters to try to limit yourself to maybe just three or four layers 4. Why We Paint "Dark to Light" (reserve whites for last): Now let's take a look at why, especially in oil painting, we need to have some control over our values and paint from our darker values and work up to our lighter values. So on this side, I'm going to show you the proper technique for painting from dark to light in order to better control your values. And then over here, we're just going to kind of be very haphazard and not really have any control or discipline over the way that we build our values. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to start dark at the bottom, work my way up to lighter values. I'm going to start out with just some of my ultra marine blue and just like with my layers of the alla prima painting, I'm just going to apply this over the entire rectangle because it's important to see how each subsequent layer is going to interact, especially when we're talking about the alla prima method. Because those interactions are inevitable, there's no way to avoid them. And so what we need to do is learn to understand them and build them properly in order to avoid frustration. So I'm starting out with my darkest value right here. And I want to build up to a lighter value, which is gonna be a nice light kind of pastel violet up there. So let's grab my palette knife. It's, um, blue. We're gonna add a little bit of red to it. Now, this is actually probably going to look a little bit darker than that first layer. And that's just because when we add red and blue, Well, this red is very powerful. So if I added just a little bit of red to that blew, it would actually make it look a little bit darker. And we'll just kind of see how it looks on top of their. But don't be surprised if when you're if you're applying it, violate on top of a blue, your violent actually might look darker. All right, so now we're going to start up here, and you can definitely see that looks darker. It almost looks black. But in the end, we're gonna have a nice gradation, love. Just a little bit of that blue showing at the bottom. And now I'm gonna add a little bit more red to try to shift that value. Your blues air typically going to be your darkest value color right out of the two. Maybe, with the exception of, like a wrong number and then your reds air gonna tend to be a more of a middle value. Your yellows will be your lightest value, and we're going to not apply any white until the end. Go home or red in there. Okay, I'm gonna just wipe off my brush on a paper towel just to remove any excess pain. And now I'm going to apply just kind of a pure red. And then we're going to start adding white and your white is going to be very opaque, very powerful. It's also very in contaminating. So anything that you apply on top of why is going to end up having white in it. And that, I think, is the number one cause of paintings looking kind of chalky or washed out, that if you add white to your mix too early in the process than every color that you apply on top of that is going to have some of that white in it. And now let's have a nice highlight up the top won't grab even more white, and we're actually not even gonna mix it in with the red because it's just going Teoh automatically mix. Well, just apply that right up here so you can see that we get some good control of our values when we paint from dark and work our way up to lights. So now let me show you what happens when we add white too early. So what? I'm going to go ahead. I'm just gonna wipe off my brush. I'm not gonna clean it thoroughly. So has already got a little bit of white in here. But let's just grab some blue And let's say, for example, I think that the biggest thing that happens is that in painting a landscape, if you start out painting the sky and then you think that you're gonna paint other things like trees over your sky, it's going to be very frustrating, because when you apply the dark color for the branches of your tree, it's going to interact with the white that you've put into your sky, and you're just not going to be able to get those dark values. But you need. So even though I'm applying this very thin I'm really working it into the fibers of the paper. Let's see what happens. I'm actually going to clean my brush thoroughly. Get all of that white paint out of the bristles, and we're gonna try to apply a dark tryto do this dark violet on top of this blue that has some white in, and we'll just see what happens. All right, so my brush is nice and clean. Now I will grab more of this blue, grab more of this red, and so you can see it's really dark here on my palette. Then when I apply, it's on top of the blue that has white in it. You can see I can't get nearly as dark because it's going to interact with that white paint underneath. And then, let's say, Well, I had a little bit more white in here, and then I'm gonna grab some of my red without adding any additional lights. But it's still going to be interacting with all the white from before, and so you can start to see that it's just a lot trickier to control your value when you start out with white too early in the process and you really can do Ah lot of shifting of your values just by using colors that have lighter and darker values rather than dipping into your white too early so we can still get a lot of white, A lot of light on top. That's really no problem. You can always add more white. It's kind of like salt. You can always add more at the very end, but during the process, if you add it too early and you add too much, it's going. Teoh have an impact on the entire arrest of the process. And again, the biggest thing that goes wrong in a painting, especially for beginners who don't quite understand why this is so important, is that they don't understand why their paintings come out looking chalky and washed out. And that is because they've added white too early in the process. And when we are really careful about reserving white, we end up with paintings that are much richer 5. Sketching with Alla Prima in Mind: I personally like to start out my paintings by doing a quick sketch, and I think that's especially important when it comes to Alla prima painting. Because one thing that we need to be a course very aware of is our placement of values. And so I like to do a quick sketch of just the darks and the lights. Very, very simple. This is also called a no tan sketch. No tan just means dark and light. And so I do these sketches very quickly, very loosely, just with some ink. But you could use whatever you want. So my little composition here is just going to be a square format. And so I kind of think of this is just a mapping out of my largest shapes and my values. So this kind of my massing and the nice thing about painting fruits is that we don't need a perfect shape very organic again. This is very rough because I just want to start thinking about where my shadows are and how I'm going to simplify the composition. So right now I'm just looking for shadows shapes, and this is going to be a very dark composition. Overall, Let's look for the shadow on this peach here. And I know, too, that I'm going toe. Want Teoh have less contrast in the background than what the photograph depicts? Because if I have a lot of contrasts in the background, it won't look like soft fabric. And it will also be distracting. Okay? And so then, basically, I'm going to just scribble in me darks to a little cross hatching. I need to, and this kind of works as a poster study as well. Rather than painting out your poster studies, you can just do them as a sketch just to help you really see your composition objectively and to judge anything that you might want Teoh adjust or things that you just might want to be more careful about as you're painting things that you want to be mindful of. So as I'm sketching, I'm also kind of just making some mental notes, especially about how all these values are going to be working together. And I'm gonna also start thinking about lost edges. So I think I'm gonna have a lost edge between the background and the fruit here, and it's the transition there will be with color rather than with value cast. Shadow, of course, is going to be very dark, probably about my darkest area in the painting, and then the little occlusion area right beneath the peach would be the darkest course we have, where the stun goes. Three there and then the rest of this. I want to just be nice and soft. It's but again with Alla prima painting. We really need to have a good idea of where Oliver values were going to be and how they're going to work together before we start painting. Because painting alla prima painting went into what it means that every layer we applied to the painting is going to have an impact on all the subsequent layers. And I know that I want this to be my focal point right here. So this is where all the lights are going to be all right. I think that is a good enough sketch. Let's get painting 6. Lean Layers (Imprimatura & Block-In): Now let's do a full demonstration using the Alla Prima technique, and I am going to be painting this peach. I'm going to keep the photograph down here in the lower left hand corner and this photo is available for you. If you go to the project section of this course, you will be able Teoh actually download this photograph. And I'm also going to put up a photograph of a plum that I took as well. So I think that fruit is a great way to practice new techniques because you don't necessarily need to worry too much about the shape because it's going to be organic. You really can't mess that up. And a peach has a lot of interesting color patterns to it that I think are really fun to explore, especially with a method like alla prima. So I'm gonna go ahead and quickly apply my imprimatur a layer here with just my raw number and I use just a little bit of my solvent. And I'm just going Teoh wipe this off to get rid of any excess solvent that might be in there. And I'm gonna go ahead and start with my rough block in. And for these first layers, I'm using my course, bristled brushes and then later on in the process, I'll move onto a brush that has softer bristles. But I'm gonna try to stick with my course or brushes at first. So here I am, just kind of very loosely sketching this in again. We don't have to worry much at all about the shape. Well, just get roughly around with just a little bit of an interesting shape in here. And then I'm going to very roughly scrub in my shadow areas. And remember, even though I am mapping out my big shapes and my big value shapes here, I don't want to use any white in this layer, because if I do, it's going to impact all of the subsequent layers. So I'm going to keep my dark stark, and my lights will just basically be the same value as my imprimatur or layer. And again, we really want to keep in line with our no tan sketch here. So refer back to your sketch during this phase and just map out the darkest areas and then leave the lighter areas alone for the most part, and also just keep in mind that this is meant to be a very rough block in of your major shapes were going to be thinking about massing. We're going to be thinking about areas where we might want to lose our edges, for example, where the cast shadow meats the base of the peach that is going to be a lost edge. So I'm not really going to define where the peach ends in. That shadow begins, and that's going to help actually bring a little bit of visual interest to the composition . So that's something that I like to think about during this phase. I'm really thinking about this painting in a very abstract way. At this point again, just the abstract shapes the values and how I want some of the edges to either be hard or soft or completely lost. And now I'm just using a nice soft cloth. Teoh lift out a little bit of paints, and with a color like raw number, it's very staining, so it can be difficult to lift that pain out, and so you may actually just need to dip your cloth into a little bit of solve it, and then you can see here that it really helps to lift that out just to lighten some areas and soften some layers. And again, we're not going to have a really light highlight anywhere in here. This is just darks and lights. 7. Fat Layer 1 - pt. 1 (Rough Color Block-in): And now that we have our in premature A and our initial block in set, we're ready to move on and we're going to start developing some color, and this is going to be a layer where the color remains very rough. These are not going to be the accurate final colors. And so it might look a little bit funny at this stage, but this is part of building a really nice good quality painting where the colors are very rich. We're not going to start out with the most obvious colors that we see, or even the colors that were most attracted to in the painting. We're gonna build a nice, solid foundation that will help the most important colors of the composition to really stand out. And I just had an old painting come flying down across the screen so anything can happen when you're painting things. Just start flying around your studio. So here I am right now, just kind of mixing up some very basic colors just to give me started. And I want you to notice that I actually don't even have any white on my palette at this stage at all. And normally I would go ahead and put white on my palette and just not use it. But I really wanted to emphasize that during the initial layers of your painting, you should avoid using white at all costs. So I really want to block in my colors very roughly without using any white. I'm just going to be using the local values of my various colors to shift the values around during the stage so you can see down at the bottom. I mix up kind of a nice, dark, neutral color, and then right above that is another dark neutral, which is more of a violet. And then above that is another violet with more resonance, and then a reddish orange, and then finally over to the side is something that's a little bit more yellow. But I'm not even cleaning or wiping off my palette knife. In between these mixtures, I'm just letting everything mixed together and influence one another, because another important part of this phase is to keep the colors fairly neutral. So I don't really want any bright, vivid colors at this stage, because again, this is the foundation that I'm going to build my other colors on top of. And so I need them to be just a little bit more muted, a little bit more neutral so that when I placed the most important colors on top, they're really going to stand out. So now I'm using this darkest color. Teoh. Add a little bit more substance to the shadow areas, and I'm going to keep this application fairly thin because I don't want light to reflect off of these darker areas and make them look lighter. And then I'm also going to use this just Teoh block in some of the darker parts of the peach itself. Again, I want that edge to be lost between the peach and that shadow. And the background for this composition was just a black cloth. And so, because I am going to have to use white to pay in the other parts of the cloth that are getting a little bit more light, I'm going to just leave that for the next stage. So I'm just going to leave the rest of the cloth as it is right now with them per mature, a showing through. And now I've moved on to that next color value that had a little bit more red in it. But it's still very dark and value. And at this stage of the painting again, it's really important just to think about your colors in terms of their value. And then you also might want to think about their relative temperature. So is it going to be very dark in value but cool in temperature where I would want more blue, for example, in the shadows? Or is it going to be an area that's very dark and value? But there's more red in there, like where I'm working on the bottom part of the peach. So again, these are not precise colors. I'm really not painting based on the colors that I'm observing in my photo reference. I'm just painting based on the values that I want to build off of later on in the painting , and so this phase of the painting is going to tend to look too dark to you. But I think it's really important again to remember that when we paint from dark to light, we can always add lighter values on top of darker values. But it's very difficult to go the other way And so I tend to overcompensate with my darks because I know that I can correct those later. And so don't be afraid, Teoh. Have a painting that at first looks way too dark. Now I'm blocking in the lightest areas of the peach and to lighten that value, I'm primarily using a lot of yellow, but I've allowed that to mix with some red and even a little blue, just to neutralize it a little bit. 8. Fat Layer 1 - pt. 2 (Rough Color Block-in - Background): and now I'm going to move on to just finishing up the background, and this is still really part of that initial blocking. But I'm separating it out from the other part of this color blocking just because I am using a little bit of white during this stage. What I'm doing right now is I'm actually trying to use just the paint on my palette to see if I can mix up a nice neutral color that's going to be even slightly lighter in value. But ultimately what I'm going to be doing is just adding a little bit of white because right now I'm just moving it around kind of experimenting with adding yellow to see if I can lighten the value without turning it either green or brown. And I'm just finding that that is not going to be a realistic option. But it's important to experiment, and I think it's really important to always try to see if it will work out for you. Teoh mix a light value without using whites, so normally I don't clean my palette while I'm painting. I don't mind it being really messy, but just for your sake, I'm going to wipe it off here and have a little bit of a cleaner space to work in. And then I'm gonna go ahead and grab my white paint, squeeze out just a little bit. I'll place it up here at the top. I really like to arrange my paints on my palette in order from darkest, usually at the bottom, up to the lightest value. So I'm using my raw umber and my ultra marine blue here. Actually, you know what? That was not just pure raw number. That was actually a combination of all those other mixtures, but it's kind of a nice, warm, neutral color. It's pretty close to the wrong number. And now I'm adding a little bit of white, and I held up my palette knife just to see if I have achieved ah value that is sufficiently light. I don't want my background to have a lot of contrast in it, because I want it to be very soft, and I don't want it to be distracting. And so I don't want a big value shift between the shadows in the background and then the areas that are getting a little bit more light. So here I have a really nice neutral color with just a little bit of white. Just enough. Teoh help the shadow areas look like shadow areas. But overall, I want my background to be fairly dark, actually a little bit darker even than what we're seeing in the photo reference, because again, I just don't want all that contrast back there. I find it a little bit distracting, and as I apply the paint to the background, you'll see that sometimes it overlaps with what I've blocked in for the peach so far. But don't worry about doing that, because what you'll end up with is really nice soft edges. And I think that that has a really nice effect. And also as I go back into the peach, once I finish up this background, then I will actually be applying more paint to the outer edges, and I'll actually make this peach a little bit larger than it is right now, so that it fills up a little bit more of the space as I go along. I want to keep my background really simple and pretty much neutral. I'm going with more of a cool neutral with a little bit more blue in it just so that we have a little bit of contrast between the background and the warmer colors in the peach and just trying to be careful not to overdo it with the white. And since I will be finished with the background at this stage, it really doesn't matter that it has some way in it. As long as I don't try to go back over the background with darker colors or decide later that I need to dark in any of these areas, it will be okay. So we'll just leave the background alone after this and focus our attention on developing the colors within our actual subjects. 9. Fat Layer 2 (Building the Base Colors): and now we have the color blocking for the first fat layer complete. And I'm going Teoh, just leave my background alone at this point. And in fact, since I used White to paint some of that background, I'm going to be cleaning my brush out really well right now so that I can remove any white paint from the bristles. And then I will be moving on to refining some of the colors within the peach and this kind of gray neutral color that I created for the background. I'm just going to reserve that in the corner, and I'm going to use it every once in a while to neutralize these other colors because again, not quite ready to put my final colors on here. I'm just going to be building these initial colors a little bit more, defining them a little bit more, so I'm going to still keep my mixtures pretty muted at this point, and I'm still going to be avoiding using white. So even though I used a little bit of white already in the background, since I'm not really painting on that area of the painting anymore, I am just going back. Teoh avoiding whites. Until I get to the final stages of painting the peach, I'm going to go ahead and mix up some more colors that are going to have the approximate correct value. So they're going to be as dark or his light as I need them to be, with the exception of the lightest areas. And then I'm going to be paying attention to the temperature. So how much warmth versus coolness needs to be in the mix? It's not about mixing an exact right color at this stage, and in fact it truly never is about mixing any kind of precise color. I really like to emphasize that you should use a limited palate and not worry about whether or not these particular colors air going. Teoh combine to create some color that in your mind you think that you must create in order to make your painting successful. Color is all about relationships, and so you can use ah limited palette containing any colors from your primaries, and you're going to get a really nice color harmony, and that's what's going to make your colors really sing. So I'm just gonna go back in here and reemphasize some of these colors help them be a little bit more defined. And I'm really again just focusing on value and temperature at this stage. So this is the shadow side of the peach, where there's a bit of a form shadow, and then also the coloration on the peaches just a little bit darker, more red and violet. And then I'm going to move toward the lighter part that is going to have more yellows and oranges in it. And this is kind of just a really quick touch up of the colors, looking a little bit more at the form of the peach. As I said before, this peach will actually end up being just a little bit larger in the end, that is right now, just because of the way I'm going to be, applying the paint and moving the boundary of the peach outward. As I go, you can already see here a very clear value pattern of the light side of the peach versus the darker side of the peach. Even without me using any white within these mixes, 10. Fat Layer 3 (Starting to Use White & Medium): and now moving on to our next layer, we're finally going to start refining the colors and getting them a little bit more accurate. So basically, what I'm going to be doing here is just beginning to add a little bit of white, each one of these mixes that already exists. So these are the same colors that we just used. Teoh refine some of those base color layers, added just a little bit of white Teoh this mix down at the bottom, and I'll add a little bit to this mix in the middle. So down on the bottom, it's kind of a very neutral violet. Here in the middle. It's more of a neutralized orange and then up at the top. It's a very neutral yellow. So I'm just gonna play with these piles right now, and I'm even going to start dividing them a little bit into color strings. And if you are not familiar with the concept of color strings, I recommend that you take a look at my skill share class on using a limited palette to develop your color, where I talk a little bit about this method of mixing. So basically to each subsequent string for each color. I'm adding a little bit more white and for the orange here in the middle as I add more why I also want to add more yellow. And I do that a lot because, especially when mixing white with something that's a little bit more red or orange. When we just had white, it becomes a little bit chalky looking and a little bit pastel on. That may not be what you're looking for, so I typically will warm those mixtures up with just a little bit of yellow. And I do apologize for the light clear that we're getting on some of these mixtures. So hopefully you can just kind of see how I'm mixing these and that will indicate to you a little bit better what the color should look like. Sometimes that light that I have is just hitting those piles of mixtures a little bit the way that we don't want it, Teoh and just just causing a lot of glare. So again, as I divide each of these mixtures up to develop a string, I'm adding a little bit more white and usually adding just a little bit more yellow as well . And this is just a starting point. I'm actually going Teoh be mixing some of these piles amongst each other. Two neutralized, um, when I need to. So just because I'm mixing up colors ahead of time doesn't mean that I'm necessarily just going to be sticking with these colors. I'll still be mixing them together, mixing new colors over once in a while. This is just a really good way, Teoh. Start out. And so you can kind of see a color scheme emerging here where we have some violets, some oranges and some yellows. So it's kind of a nice, split, complementary color scheme. And a lot of times color schemes will just emerge naturally based on our subject matter. And that certainly is the case with this peach. So now I'm just looking for opportunities to refine the color a little bit. Most of the work that I dio from this point on is going to be on the lighter side of the peach, mostly going to leave the shadow areas alone because again I have a little bit of white in each one of these mixtures. Even the darker mixture has just a little bit of white in it and I really don't want to use any white in the area of the peach that is in shadow where that form shadow begins. I really want Teoh avoid using any mixture with white. But at this point, I am really trying to stick Teoh working from my darks to my light. So just because I have some white in these mixtures, you can clearly see that some of them are lighter in value than others. And so I'm really trying to stick to the darker values for now. And I will build up my whites and my light areas as I go. And at this stage, I'm also going to begin using my medium. And you won't always see me hold up my little cup of medium and dip my brush in. Just know that I am very frequently dipping my brush into just a little bit of medium, and that will help this wet paint to sit on top of those subsequent layers of wet pains. And I'm going to just speed this up a little bit because at this point I'm really being very experimental in the way that I'm applying my colors just trying to move forwards and backwards pushing here, pulling there just to start to experiment with the ways that these colors air going to interact with each other. And one of the fun things about painting, fruits and other things that have a lot of color variation is that you can really start to experiment with the way that the colors interact with one another. And so sometimes you'll apply a little bit of pain and decide that that doesn't really work . And so you'll tryto pull it back with another application. And it's really important that even though we're being very experimental, I am applying usually just one or two brushstrokes at a time and letting them sit and kind of evaluating things and not overworking my strokes, not pushing them into the previous layers too much. 11. Fat Layer 4 (Refining Colors & Adding Highlights): and now the fund really begins because we get to start applying the colors that are really going to bring this peach toe life. So I am going to be able to be pretty liberal with my use of white at this point. But what I want to be very careful about is to not obliterate some of the darker values which is very easy to dio, the more white you're adding and again for the remainder of this painting, I'm going to be focusing all of my attention on the light area of the form of the peach. And so I'm really going to be leaving that shadow area completely alone as I have been, and just working on bringing out the lighter values and the more vivid colors. For now, I'm still working from the same mixtures of painting that I was already using, and for me, I really like to just continue reusing piles of paint. You can still see that I have roughly three different sections here. Down at the bottom is more of a muted violet and then in the middle is kind of a nice warm , neutralized orange and then at the top, I have a little bit more red on one side, and then where there's more white, there's going to be more yellow mixed in there. One thing that I find really beautiful about a peach in particular is that it kind of has a nice soft fuzz to it, and that is really fun to play with. And we actually do get to use quite a bit of white there, and that's actually an area where we want it to look a little bit more pastel. I would say that that is fairly rare, because if you think about something that shiny and dark like a plum, we wouldn't see this much white used even in the lighter areas of that form. We would really be reserving any white for just a little bit of highlight in that kind of form. But for something that's really soft and fuzzy, like a peach, we get to kind of play around a little bit more with these pastel colors, and again, I'm being very experimental here. I'm laying down a stroke and kind of deciding how I feel about it, how it's working overall for the form, Is it a little bit too much like I would say that this was probably just a bit too much, at least at this stage. I went from a value that was pretty light to a value that was much, much lighter. And I think that that transition was just a little bit too fast. So I'll probably work on adjusting that just a little bit. And I'm also working on bringing out some of the coloration within the peach, where the lighter side has a lot more yellow to it. And so I want to really bring that out without making it look like mustard. If that makes sense, because if you look at the yellow that I have straight out of the tube, it kind of feels a little bit like a mustard yellow, especially in comparison. Teoh, the more violet and reddish violet areas on the peach. And so I'm trying to strike a balance between it, really having a nice, strong yellow to it without clashing too much with the other colors. And so whereas earlier in this process I was only thinking about color in terms of the value and temperature. I'm now beginning to think about color a little bit more literally, although I'm still not trying to exactly match the colors that I see in my photo reference . But what I'm really thinking about is the ways that the colors relate to each other. I don't want that lighter side of the peach feel disjointed with the darker side of the peach. I don't want any colors to be clashing, so I want a really nice color harmony that's way more important to me than getting a precisely correct color. And so now I'm mixing up a little bit more of a neutral violet with a lot of white in it to try to capture some of the fuzz on top of the peach. And that's looking just a little bit like maybe I added too much white too fast, so I will return to that kind of adjust that. But again, this face is really all about just kind of exploring your colors and seeing what works and when you're painting alla prima, Of course, we have to remember that our colors are always going to be interacting with one another, So every time I add paints on here and I don't like it, and so I need to add more pay on top of it, I'm actually making things just a little bit boring. Difficult for myself. And so it is a really big benefit. Teoh not be overly perfectionistic about painting when you're doing alla prima paintings, because you're always going to have the interactions and the more paint that you're applying, the trickier it's going to be to make corrections by applying more paint on top, because the paint is what it's being applied, thicker and thicker as we move through the painting. And so at some point you might run into the problem of not being able to apply any more paint on top. So if you have a lot of imposter and that paintings really built up and you still feel like you need to make corrections than I would recommend taking some time away from your painting. And this is something that's really important to dio. No matter what, you really need to give your eyes a break from your painting, and so it's important to just take a break, walk away, take your eyes off of it and then come back and make some judgments at that point, and you may find that it's really not as bad as you thought while you were in the throes of painting. Or you may come back to it and realize that there is no hope. But you know what you've learned, and you can apply what you've learned to the next attempt. In fact, this was my second attempt at this painting because I just really didn't like how the colors were interacting in my first attempt. And so I analyzed what went wrong and what things went right and where I wish that I had made some changes, and I applied that toward this attempt, which turned out much more successfully. So that is just part of the learning process. And I really like alla prima painting because of all the unintended interactions that happened but can be a source of frustration. But it's really important not to give up, because every time you paint, every time you put a little bit of mileage into your brushwork, you are improving, and you're learning not only how to see it your subject, but how to proceed through a painting in ways that will pretty much guarantee a decent painting. Most of the times that you sit down to do it. Of course, we all have off days where things just don't go quite right, even when we think that we finally got this thing nailed. So don't become too frustrated. Keep going. Keep experimenting, experimenting and making mistakes, or what you think at the moment. Our mistakes are really great ways. Toe learn. And even though you may work from a photo reference sometimes or even sometimes when you're working from life, it's really easy to try to compare your painting directly to the photograph. And I think that that actually is not the best way to judge your painting. You really need to judge your painting standing alone. So take the photo reference away or take your painting away from the still life that you've set up and judge it on its own again. Take a little bit of time away from it to just kind of give your eyes a little bit of a reboot. I think that that's really important for artists because we tend to be a little bit too hard on ourselves, and when we are again in the throes of actually working on something and we see every little thing that didn't go quite the way that we hoped it would. We get frustrated. And so it's important just to take some time away from your painting and also remove the source material, whether it is a photograph or an actual still life that you've set up and judge your painting just on its own merits, because you can see that my peach here isn't an exact replica of my photograph. But what I do like about it is the way that the colors are interacting with each other. I really like those muted violets on the top of the peach and how they come together with the very light yellows on the front of the peach. I think that that's a really nice pleasing interaction between those two complementary colors and really helps to bring it to life. And during this final stage of the painting process, this is just where you're going. Teoh. Maybe take a step back every once in a while and really evaluate where you want to go next , because this late in the stage of the painting, you want to be very intentional about every stroke that you put down, not to the point of being perfectionistic. But you definitely want every stroke to be very well intentioned and considered fully because these strokes that I'm applying here, I can't really go back from here, especially because I'm using so much white at this point to add that nice, soft, fuzzy feel to this peach. If I go overboard with that or start putting in whites over some of the darker and middle values, I'm not going to be able to get those really rich, dark values back if I try to apply dark paint over these lighter colors. And so I'm really thinking about the placement about the value, about the color mixtures that I'm applying here because I know that this is really winding the painting down. And so I'm really just focusing here on making sure that I have a good sense of form, making sure that I like the way that the colors are interacting with one another and that I like the way that my edges are defined against that background. And as you can see now that we're at the very end of this little demonstration, that once I put in that background, I was able just to really leave that alone. And I think that that's ideal in most cases where you really want to just spend your time focusing on your subject and developing your focal points. And now I'm just going to take one last step back just to kind of look over this painting, decide if it really needs anything else, maybe just one or two strokes here and there. But really, this is finished. And in the next video, I'm just going to show you a little bit closer how this turned out. 12. Let's Take a Look!: Let's go ahead and take this down and just get a little bit closer. Look at the final painting, so there was a lot of experimentation that went into this. I loved seeing how the different colors interacted with each other to create this nice harmony, and I really hope that you guys will embrace Alla Prima. Painting is very fun. It's spontaneous, and I think you have to embrace the unpredictability in it. 13. Process Overview: - way . 14. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for joining me on this course. I hope that you enjoyed it. And I really look forward to seeing your project posted in the project section of this course. If you have any questions at all Of course Feel free to ask me anything in the discussion section of this course and I will make sure to answer you. And if you like to be notified when I upload new courses here to still share feel free. Teoh, follow me here on still share. And then it will be notified every time I upload a horse again. Thank you so much. I really hope you enjoyed it. And happy painting.