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Alla Prima: Everything I Know about Painting
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Alla Prima: Everything I Know about Painting

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  931 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Alla Prima - the teaching standard for classical painting instruction. This must have book offers to painters the wisdom and technical savvy of a lifetime. Writing as an acknowledged master, Richard Schmid leads his reader gracefully through the fundamentals and subtleties of painting technique with refreshing clarity, authority and deep affection to all who strive for sel ...more
Hardcover, 193 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Stove Prairie Press (first published January 1998)
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Excellent for intermediate to advanced painters. Schmid has a gift for distilling art ideas into clear and easy to understand everyday language, which is often hard to find in an artist or art book. He is truly a gifted teacher, and in turn has helped me become a better teacher. There are things I read in this book that I knew instinctively, but never could articulate quite as precisely and coherently as Schmid does. It has helped me to focus my efforts in the right places and to more systematic ...more
Paula Ann Ford
Absolutely the best!! Every painter should read this book by the master!!
Well, overall this is a decent painting book. I like some of the things the artist discusses, although i cannot agree with all of it(since a lot is just personal bravado and rhetoric used throughout)

I appreciate his chapters on starting and direct painting, but have to say there are many better books out there for that subject.
I don't mean that this is a bad book by any means, but if you are looking for something to teach you new things, or be a ground opener, this isn't it in my opinion.

His cha
Thomas Veil
This is the best painting book I've ever read, and it's without question a must read for painters interested in working Alla Prima (roughly translates to "Painting from life in one sitting"). Schmid basically put his 50+ years of painting experience in this book - it will save any artist, even of other fields, a lot of time figuring those things out by themselves.

First of all, Richard Schmid clearly applies what he is writing about: his paintings are amazing - both in expression and in technical
I would recommend Alla Prima to every person I know who enjoys painting. Richard Schmid is truly a wise soul who knows his art form well. This book not only describes his process of painting but also reveals how he sees his subject matter from his own unique perspective. I read this book cover to cover and savored every word, hoping that this wisdom will be reflected in my next painting. I will never look at edges or brush strokes the same way after reading this book. I especially like the way h ...more
Here's an enjoyable read for the serious hobbyist or professional. Imagine sitting down with a master painter while he attempts to impart some wisdom about his craft. The author is a renowed oil painter, and the book focuses often on portrait & figure painting, but the principles
also apply other kinds of painting.

This is not a typical procedural book with step-by-step exercises. Instead, the author offers his thoughts on the principles of painting, his process and his motivation. It may not
Dottie Suggs
interesting book on painting from life. i found myself wanting more substance in certain chapters, and now I find out there is a new expanded version just out. I was not pleased with his take on photography. His paintings are rich in color and expression. this book has merit to anyone wanting to capture a person in paints.
One of the best books on painting I've read. Most of the information is very down to earth, direct and applicable. I'm already seeing a noticeable improvement in my work and I've decided to do the infamous color charts soon. Some chapters are a bit less useful, like the ones on composition, technique, harmony and photography but those subject can easily be explored in other books.
Martha Smith
Richard Schmid's book is quite possibly one of the very best books I have read about painting. The book is clearly written. The color photographs of his painting examples are stunning. I enjoy studying the photos. I will be adding this book to my permanent collection.
Mar 18, 2011 Mirian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: The Student to the Professional Artist alike
Recommended to Mirian by: Lyn Lasneski
I just devoured this thing. Written by one of today's greatest oil painters - this is a must read, common sense, instructional tool for the representational artist.

(March 2011) Upon rereading, I have to add a warning based on the fact Richard Schmid is an absolute genius: He spews good advice like a firehose. Mere mortals can't keep up. The result is a new ability to pick apart your artwork to a degree you were never aware of before. You can read his advice, you can say "Ah-Ha!" a million times,
Damian Ahmadi
Although it didn't help me draw better it helped me understand painting and how to think as an artist. It's a great book!
Colleen Parker
An absolutely great book for painters in today's language and style. Something to read cover to cover every year.
One of my best friends lent me this book once upon a time since it was hard to find at the time. I read it word for word, cover to cover. The quality of art Richard Schmid displays in the book is superb and that is always a requirement for me when reading books on technique. The book is not a step by step guide to painting. What Alla Prima has is indelible advice for the aspiring, and in my case struggling, painter. I remember much of it to this day and hope to buy it for myself sometime soon.
Did not finish only due to the fact I was reading slowly to savor it and I had to return it to the library before I was done. Fantastic, wonderful book for artists, and Schmid's personality and humor shines through as well!
stori .
This book is absolutely worth the expense and trouble to find. It's the best book about painting I've ever read. It made me both laugh out loud and get a bit teary at his closing words. I've embarked on the color chart exercises, combining them with Munsell values (8 values, not 5 like Schmid suggests) and have already learned so much. I highly recommend this book for new and experienced artists who work with color in any medium.
Anne Dramko
Excellent! Wow, a book to give you confidence about painting and art. Inside the mind of a master, who not only knows how to put into words some difficult techniques, but one who has a terrific sense of humor. Laughed throughout, while learning so so so much. What a gift to the world!
If you are an artist, this is a life changing must read. If you aren't an artist, you might find it interesting, or dry. I personally found each page full of technical revelations that only come from years of experience. Be smart and draw on this wonderful artist's vast store of knowledge to inform your own work. Well written and witty, the text is almost as good as the artwork.
Marjorie Elwood
Schmid has a real talent for explaining the specifics of painting in a fashion that is easy to understand. In addition, he's a funny guy.
Jan 01, 2014 Sheree rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
The best oil painting book I've read to date. Had to buy a copy for myself because Richard Schmid is a knowing and experienced teacher. Nice to have him available in book form whenever a question or doubt arises! We are going to have a long and beautiful relationship.
Plodding through Clarkson's and finding the author irritatingly Victorian, condescending to beginners, and sexist, I turned to Schmid and devoured it practically in one sitting! Schmid is charming, entertaining, and most of all encouraging!
Kimberly Johnson
Best art book there is!
Some really excellent insights in this. I don't agree with everything he says, I'll never be a purist or a 'direct' painter. But i do appreciate his voice in the book, and his willingness to share what he's learned.
Simon Yoong
Undoubtedly, a fantastic book for any beginner painter to read. It lays down the important foundation for a good painter to start with, and the right philosophy to approaching drawing, colour and everything else.
Absolutely the best book on Alla Prima (painting in one sitting) book ever. A virtual bible of how to tackle the job, with very detailed information. Pricey because he self publishes but well worth the price.
Jan 22, 2008 Kerri rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kerri by: Bryan Mark Taylor (look him up-he has a wonderful web site
A beautiful book about alla prima painting. The first read it was somewhat difficult to understand, but the second read was much clearer. Also, concepts have become clearer with more painting and studying.
For aspiring painters - this book is well worth the price. It's packed with great information and advice, all written with a very gentle and humble hand. I refer to it constantly.
I'm browsing this book by examples of works that strike my fancy and reading the related content ... so I'm enjoying an 'open visual dialogue' with this book.
This book and the book on painting by David Leffel are the two BEST books on painting I know of. Both are essential for the serious oil painter. 10 stars.
Kate Merriman
Finally got myself this book, after drooling after it for more than 2 years. Can't wait now to try his color exercises.
What can I say, I love art. Great Principles. You probably will not find it at the library. The book sells for $95.00.
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