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Painting “Alla Prima”
6 Weeks | $245 | In-class

Painting alla prima, or the “direct” painting method, is a fast-paced, centuries-old painting technique that coaxes the painter to be bold and decisive. In this introductory course, you will learn to apply layers of wet paint on canvas to quickly capture the essence of the subject matter—from landscapes, still life, and figures. Building on a review of essential visual art principles such as composition, values, and color mixing, you will develop confidence with paint handling and the ability to be decisive with your brush strokes. In a positive and constructive environment designed to support you as you grow as an artist, your instructor supplies the subject matter and demonstrates step-by-step as you follow along. Work done wet-on-wet or "alla prima" can be carried out in one or more sessions—depending on the type of paints used and their drying time— but it is mostly done in one session or "sitting" only. Through demonstrations, in-class projects, individual critiques and group discussions, students will expand their creative abilities by trying this painting approach perfect for beginners and more advanced painters alike. Recommended medium: oils, acrylics with slow-drying medium.

What You Will Learn:

  • Principles of paint layering (underpainting and stains) and composition.
  • Overview of values, color mixing, and massing and shapes.
  • Still life, outdoor, and figure painting.
  • Developing confidence with handling oil paints.
  • Expanding techniques of oil painting, focusing on painting wet-on-wet.
  • Understanding compositional techniques and color theory.
  • Developing appreciation and understanding of the historic development of this style.

Quarters Offered: Summer | In-class
Prerequisites: Introduction to Painting (ART-40180) or equivalent experience.
Materials: Students can choose to either use oils or acrylics.
Note: Elective course for Art and the Creative Process professional certificate.
Contact: For more information about this course, please email

Course Number: ART-40656
Credit: 2.00 unit(s)
Related Certificate Programs: Art and the Creative Process

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