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Video:Painting Wet on Wet

with Jeanine Hattas

Let your inhibitions go and paint alla prima! Free your inner Van Gogh and try your hand at creating a wet on wet painting in a single sitting.See Transcript

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Transcript:Painting Wet on Wet

Hi - my name is Jeanine Hattas and I'm with Fresh Custom Art and Murals - today we're going to learn about alla prima painting.

What Is Wet on Wet?

This is popular painting you might have seen from the French Impressionists, such as Van Gogh or Monet, and it's called alla prima, which means, "at the first," which means it's done in one sitting. Many of the paintings you'll see are nature, landscapes, things that are done outside in one day. Because it's done in one day, it's rather spontaneous. You usually don't have very much prep and you just start painting right away. There's also only one layer of paint, so you don't have to wait for it to dry. There's also no worry about the paint crackling over time as well.

Paint Colors in Wet on Wet

So, we'll just get started. We're going to paint this flower here. One of the things to keep in mind when mixing your paint for alla prima is to only do a maximum of three colors at a time. There's a risk of the colors becoming muddy if you're mixing the wrong colors - and because you want to keep it quick, you don't have much time to think about how the colors are going to react to each other.

Alla Prima and Detail

When working alla prima, keep in mind that it should be rather Impressionistic. So you're not going to have a lot of detail - you're mostly going to have the impression of what that object was.

Brushes for Painting Wet on Wet

I'm using oil brushes and oil paint - this is a big flat brush, which is great for getting the paint down there rather quickly, covering a large space. Flat brushes also hold a lot of paint. Painting is really about light and shadow. Keep the paint rather thick, too - the colors are going to blend together, and that's okay. You just want to make sure it doesn't end up too muddy. Let's get some more of the area around it here.

Painting Wet on Wet Tips

When painting, always be looking at your subject. That's where you're going to get all of your information - where the dark colors go, where the highlights go, what colors to be adding. Use your mineral spirits to keep the paint moving rather well. Using linseed oil is a great one to work with.

When working alla prima, the colors don't have to be accurate - it can be kind of however you want to paint it. It's fun. With alla prima, it's painting wet on wet, so you're getting different blending effects right as you paint. And you can keep it as thick as you like, because it's only one layer of paint. You may also want to paint with a palette knife, because it is so quick and the paint can be as thick as you like.

Now that the paint is all on there we can go back and add some detail. So just keep alla prima very loose and spontaneous - it's fun, it doesn't have to be accurate. It's really in the moment. And you can work on that as long as you like - build up as much detail as you like, but try to do it in just one sitting, and that's it.

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