This month I have been experimenting with alla prima painting. Certainly, it is less labour-intensive than Renaissance-style glazing, which takes many days and at least six layers. The pay-off at the end is the addition of final transparent glazes over lighter sections, which almost immediately light up and glow. On the other hand, alla prima painters like Richard Schmid, Elizabeth Robbins and David Lefel produce luscious results. They paint mainly opaquely and more thickly in a gestural way, using excellent drawing and a mastery of colour to pull it off. Most importantly, of course, they finish a painting in one go.
So.... how to combine the virtues of both?
I'm experimenting this weekend with a swan whom I photographed in early winter at the lake. I painted her yesterday over a longish day (which almost necessitated a nap in the middle), but opted to undershoot some of the areas so that I could glaze them later. Today the painting was mainly dry so I was able to glaze the blue shadows on her chest and flank into deeper values and I detailed the reflection a bit too.
Sorta alla prima?