Alla prima

Alla Prima is a painting method where the artist aims to complete his work in one session while the paint is still wet.

A Brief History

The term comes from the Italian meaning “at once” and later the French referred to it as “premier coup”. It is also known as working “wet-on-wet” or “direct painting”. These days the term is more loosely applied to any painting done in a direct, expressive style, with minimal preparation.

The direct painting approach has been practised from the 17th century by painters such as Frans Hals,Valasquez and Caravaggio. In the middle of the 19th century the style became popular among impressionist painters due to the availability of commercial paints of a buttery texture also an ethos amongst painters for spontaneity and expression.
Some of the more famous painters from that period who worked in an alla prima style are as diverse as Paul Cezanne, John Singer Sargent, Sarrolla and Monet. The technique is still a popular way of capturing a portrait.