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Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting Hardcover – November, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0966211719 ISBN-10: 0966211715 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Stove Prairie Pr; Revised edition (November 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966211715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966211719
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 11 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,199,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Meticulous and painstaking painting tends to be naive in most hands.
Inti Cristobal Santamaría Bolaños
On top of the excellent content, the book is beautifully made to last a lifetime (and more!), and printed on top quality paper.
Amazon Customer
The book, "Alla Prima", by a gifted and well known artist, Richard Schmid, is worth every penny!
John Bescher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is by far the best book I have ever seen on the subject of oil painting. Not only do you get to admire many lucious images of a modern master's work, Richard Schmid generously shares his knowlege with humour, clarity and detail. A long look at both the technical and emotional aspects of painting, written with great commitment and depth. Though the price is daunting, consider it a worthy indulgence. You could buy ten other books on this subject and still not obtain such a complete reference source as this one book. On top of the excellent content, the book is beautifully made to last a lifetime (and more!), and printed on top quality paper. Splurge on this; you won't be disapointed!
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75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Inti Cristobal Santamaría Bolaños on February 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I can hardly praise this book enough. It is full of experience and concrete knowledge.

The text is made of 10 chapters, plus an introduction:

1. Good ideas and free advice

2. Direct painting

3. Starting

4. Drawing

5. Values

6. Edges

7. Color and light

8. Composition

9. Technique

10. The magic

It has 193 pages, and is full of Schmid's paintings, almost all of them oils.

WHAT THIS BOOK TEACHES YOU:

It teaches you how to OBSERVE 3-D REALITY AND TRANSLATE IT ON A FLAT SURFACE AS DIRECTLY AS YOU CAN. The way of achieving it is to paint LIGHT ITSELF (what you see), not the very object with descriptive minutiae (what you know). Meticulous and painstaking painting tends to be naive in most hands.

Schmid asks you to clear up your mind and trust your instinct. THE HOW BECOMES OBVIOUS ONCE YOU UNDERSTAND THE WHAT AND THE WHY.

Some of his most insistent advices are: keep it SIMPLE; don't overwork; don't use ostentatious techniques; don't make random guessing brushstrokes; do a minimum of trial and error (correction wastes time); rather be BOLD than shy, but do it without hurrying and without any thoughtless bravado. Also, EXCESSIVE BLENDING IS LIKE MUMBLING WHEN YOU SPEAK.

He teaches you that, as you start, you sholud focus on one specific problem. Set a GOAL and do it in the time available. Limiting your time helps to SIMPLIFY your works. SIMPLIFY values by SQUINTING. If edges remain sharp when you squint, paint them sharp; if they go fuzzy, paint them fuzzy. Trust your squinting.

Schmid insists on the fact that, unlike common belief, most mistakes happen with drawing, not with colour.
Read more ›
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Gypsy Moth on August 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
With this book in hand, I could throw out all 4 dozen or so books on painting I've purchased in the past. Schmid clearly describes the factors necessary to paint well as well as his suggestions on tools with which to do it. His chapters on edges and values alone are indispensible to artists, beginners or professional.
His writing style is very easy to read and understand and there are more than a few laughs laced throughout. It's a keeper and I'll be going back and rereading until the pages are tattered and worn.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Painter Dude on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book which I refer to repeatedly. BUT, I bought it used at Amazon for a rip-off price. Lots of people are complaining about the high price, so do yourself a favor and google his name to go to his web-site. Much cheaper there!
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Mopoki on October 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book itself is great, but DO NOT PAY THESE RIDICULOUS PRICES for a used copy of this book.
You can get a new copy for $95 (hardback) or $45 (paperback) at Richard Schmid's website.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Some Dude In L.A. on September 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is rare for an artist to have contact with and guidance from a master. Though this book cannot replace personal instruction, it is the next best thing. Schmid, in his book, tends toward the thought processes involved in his work, a valuable and hard-to-find resource. The book also demonstrates the sober, as opposed to flighty, attitude of the master painter.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L. Platt on May 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I found Richard Schmidt's book a wealth of information on oil painting technique(for that I would give it 5 stars...but for other reasons I give it a 4)....but having only started to learn to oil paint I found this book overwhelming and a bit discouraging. His work is beautiful and he is very generous in sharing advice, techniques and tips from all that he has learned in his many years of oil painting....but one soon realizes his book is directed more to those who have had more than a few years of oil painting under their belt and/or who are leaning towards a serious career in oil painting rather than those who are new or want to enjoy the simple pleasures of oil painting as a hobby. At times I felt well out of my league as I tried to imagine putting together a painting in only a couple of hours as he describes all the while being conscious of the changing light, drawing accurately, mixing and appylying the correct colors, and handling the various weather conditions. I don't know any artists in my day to day experiences that are able to pump out an oil painting that quickly and still have a work of art. I realize Richard is in a league of his own, but I wish he could preface his lifetime artistic accomplishments with a bit more consideration and understanding for the average person who doesn't have the time or the resources to pursue a lifetime goal of being a professional artist. Overall his book is chocked full of valuable information...but realize that there is a lot more here than the average person will ever have the time to digest and put into practice.
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