I’ve noticed that my demo sketches often have a very spontaneous feeling to them, probably because I am trying to get them done in under 30 minutes so as not to cut into class painting time. The last painting I did of the ocean had that same spontaneity, much of which I attribute to a greater use of alla prima (wet-into-wet) painting as opposed to layering and glazing. Both technqiues can be effective, but alla prima serves to bring out the looseness and expressive qualities I prefer.
That was the goal of my demo today, to show how the alla prima process can help to make a painting more spontaneous. One of the things to keep in mind, is that a good value study as an underpainting goes a long way. When working alla prima on these small studies, I often will do the under painting in acrylic, particularly if it is a demo and I want to work on the piece immediately without the alla prima layer mixing with the under painting.
It’s important when working alla prima to let the colors lie next to one another, they can meet smoothly at the edges, but allow them to sit alongside one another instead of overblending.
Obviously, I have not finished this piece, but I have always liked unfinished work where I can still see the structure of the under painting along with the more developed areas. I will leave this as is.