Alla Prima Portraiture
Company Massive Black | Web | Price SD, $20; HD, $30

Artists working in traditional media often have to adapt their workflow to their materials. With oils, for example, you typically build up your image in several layers, waiting for each one to dry. Alla prima is an artists’ term for paintings where you instead create the image in a single session, adapting your technique to compensate for having to work over wet paint. The result is normally more direct and expressive.
In this downloadable video, Justin ‘El Coro’ Kaufman creates his own alla prima portrait in an hour and a quarter. It’s an absorbing and enjoyable session, as you watch El Coro use the handful of colours on his palette to build up a supple piece of painting that captures the essence of the model.

The patience of the process is reflected in a voiceover that imparts helpful information. El Coro’s principles have observation as their bedrock; he stresses the importance of painting what you see, not what you expect to see because of what you’ve learned. You’ll notice, for example, how dark he paints the eyeballs because of the overall lighting he observes.

El Coro discusses techniques like observing the planes that form the model’s face and looking carefully at the colour of different areas. Artists new to painting will learn much from his way of assessing values within the painting and paying attention to colour temperature. It’s this stripping down of the painting process to its fundamentals that makes this DVD compelling for anyone who paints, whether in digital or traditional media. For experienced artists, it’s a useful reminder that inspires you to make your art simpler. For newer artists with an open mind, it could be a revelation.
The video is available in two editions: standard-definition or high-definition. For an extra $10, the crisper HD version has a bonus half-hour portrait session, which doesn’t feature a narration.

SD: 74 minutes

HD: 101 minutes