OCAD Studio: Alla Prima Still Life Part 2

This project is based on the ‘alla prima’ method which means that the painting is completed all at once – in a single sitting before the paint dries.

Following on from the first part, here are a few suggestion for carrying on your painting:

  1. Once you have sketched in all the major shadow shapes, you will need to roughly block in all the major colours.
  1. Don’t get bogged down in detail during this stage, just aim for a solid general impression. 
  1. Use fairly big brushes, and stiffer brushes for applying thicker paint.
  1. Paint the shadows and lights separately.
  1. Paint the shadows thinly and apply lighter colours more thickly (impastoed).
  1. Look for cool and warm shifts, as this will add interest to your painting.
  1. Once you have reached a point where you have matched to general colours and values, you can begin stage 3 where you will be refining the detail.


  • You can work in either oils or acrylics, using your preferred colours.
  • You can work on any type of surface; panel, paper, canvas etc. ideally prepared with a brown or grey-brown tone but you can work over white.
  • I recommend limiting the number of brushes to 2-4 of varying sizes and cleaning them when necessary. 
  • You will need a medium to thin your paint (mineral spirits for oils or water for acrylics).

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