Alla Prima II Everything I Know About Painting - and more by Richard SchmidIts a wonderful book, of course, but frustrating to read because of the larger, wider format than the previous edition. More pictures, more text, but as is the case with so many self-published books, would have been better and more powerful if there was a more vigorous editing process to cut some of the extra verbiage that in my opinion makes it harder to separate the fluff from the important stuff. It seems like he literally included everything he knows, and that doesnt make for as useful a book as I would have preferred since some of it is just random story-telling.
That said, its still one of the best books on alla prima oil painting, just a bit of a bear to hold and read.
Paul Ingbretson Talks About Richard Schmid’s vs Boston School Painting - No. 27
United States Contemporary Realism. What does it take to reach the top? Simply said, everything. What does it take to remain on the top, to become appreciated to the extent of being referred to as a living legend? The answer is — even more.
To hone these skills, Schmid developed an approach built on quick oil sketches—which he considers finished works—completed in three hours or less. His accuracy begins in identifying a simple, easy-to-see shape, putting it down, then moving on to the next easy shape and re-creating it at the proper distance from the first. His first task is getting the likeness—the exact dimensions, proportions and relationships—in all the little shapes of color. For instance, I usually like to go for the eyes and the nose at an early stage. To simplify the task of measuring and comparing, Schmid usually works life-size.
I have been a painter for my entire adult life. In all of that time I have never been able to ignore the wonders that are possible in painting. The astonishing thing to me is how certain individuals could even conceive of anything as beautiful as some of their works or how you and I could have the capacity to respond to them. I have pursued this question relentlessly over the years, and I am still consumed with the mystery of what makes such magic possible. In my younger days, I learned what many serious thinkers thought about Art, and for a while I even believed that I knew what it was. Inevitably it dawned on me that I could probably not rationally understand Art itself.
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Essential Reading for Artists with Alex Tzavaras
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So far I have read quite a few so I thought I would start sharing and recommending a few. I have had this one for while but had never read it cover to cover until recently. There is an expanded edition of this book out now, Alla Prima II, which I hear is full of a lot of new material, but this post is about the older one. Many watercolor artists may not have this book since Richard is primarily a very well-known oil painter, but honestly if you are a painter no matter what media, you will geta lot out of this book. All things every artist should consider to achieve their best work. An extra added bonus is, his wit and charm comes through on the pages!