Still Life Under Pressure

The Learning Continues...Ala Prima

(first published April 5, 2008, edited 9/25/2017)

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Note: 09/26/17 The Wild, Wild, West of the internet in 2008. It was all new...Facebook was just hitting its stride.

This blog 'stuff' is still new to all of us! Be sure you click on the links from your FeedBlitz email to go to the actual blog page (the one with the pretty green border).

I promised me not to get obsessed with blogging, to not let it take away from painting, or to bore my subscribers with my trivia. But once a week would be good, and I missed last week!

Am driving an hour to Pineville, MO to study with Theresa Rankin, for as long as she continues to teach there. Can't drive 2 hours! Talk about a workout! THREE still life setups in 5 hours. 

This technique in oil is 'Alla Prima' or all at once. As I experiment with it, and study Richard Schmid's books, I am realizing that you HAVE to be familiar with your basic pigment colors or 'palette' and what they do with each other. I'm fascinated with the drippy backgrounds I've gotten. 

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While the different mediums (pastel, watercolor, oil) are vastly different in range of application, there is a similarity or overlap in this transparent loose technique. You find it in Charles Reid's watercolors, Ramon Kelly's figurative, John Howard Sanden's portraits, Albert Handell's pastels and Richard Schmid's landscapes. A common element is the 2-3 hour painting, loose expressive backgrounds, and a definite 'mark of the artist'.

Watercolor is known for being a challenge with using the pigments suspended in a wet passage where they mix somewhat, but retain some of their individuality. Modern pastelists have a range of papers that will take the abuse of water or turpentine washes that dissolve the dry pastel pigment, and can provide a look similar to the oil technique I'm enjoying. I might have to explore this theory further in the next few weeks.

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