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

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  1,259 Ratings  ·  50 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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Paula Ann Ford
Aug 11, 2012 Paula Ann Ford rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the best!! Every painter should read this book by the master!!
Feb 15, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 10, 2009 Todd rated it liked it
Shelves: art-books-read
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
Oct 09, 2009 Thomas Veil rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2010 Val rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2014 Dottie Suggs rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 04, 2014 Asgeir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2014 Martha Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
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 it was amazing
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,
Mary Susan Vaughn
Mar 23, 2016 Mary Susan Vaughn rated it it was amazing
Outstanding!! Richard Schmid, master Artist extraordinaire, shares so much of what he knows of being an artist. If you want to be a better artist, this book is essential for your artistic journey!
Mar 20, 2016 She996 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely one of the best books on painting. It especially deals
with oil painting and realism. A must have for any serious realism artist.
Damian Ahmadi
Mar 01, 2015 Damian Ahmadi rated it really liked it
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!
Apr 22, 2016 Ching rated it it was amazing
"Every work you do is a self-portrait beacause your paintings always reveal more about you than about your subject."
Nov 04, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing
Best book for the practice and philosophy behind how to become a better painter
Colleen Parker
Jul 23, 2014 Colleen Parker rated it it was amazing
An absolutely great book for painters in today's language and style. Something to read cover to cover every year.
Apr 17, 2009 Waggle rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 15, 2015 Katharine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, did-not-finish, 2015
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 .
Apr 14, 2013 stori . rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 15, 2014 Anne Dramko rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 04, 2011 RJW rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2014 Marjorie Elwood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
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 it was amazing
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.
Jun 18, 2013 Stacey rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 09, 2014 Kimberly Johnson rated it it was amazing
Best art book there is!
Aug 02, 2012 LemontreeLime rated it really liked it
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
May 18, 2016 Simon Yoong rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 18, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books
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 really liked it
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.
Mar 24, 2013 Lynne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books
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.
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