When it comes to painting, there are as many different approaches to achieving the end result as there are artists. One approach, which is often referred to as “Alla Prima”, is a direct painting method in which the artist strives to capture his subject in a single session of painting. The constraint of time plays a crucial role in this demanding approach. The painting session is over at the end of the allotted time and what is left on the canvas is what remains, not to be touched again. An emphasis on accuracy is a key element when working this way. The artist focuses on the most important aspects of his subject in order to capture a convincing likeness. The experience of working this way is both exhilarating and exhausting because it takes everything you have in order to capture a moment in time. For those artists who have mastered this approach to painting, the results are breathtaking. These works reveal not only the artist’s subject, but also the energy and intuition with which it took to create them.

Richard Schmid is one of the most well known and respected artists of our time. His work has inspired an entire generation of painters and is often the bench mark for those who work Alla Prima. His paintings have been featured in countless museums, galleries, books, magazines and videos throughout his distinguished career. He’s had over fifty one man shows and received every major art award in the United States. His subjects include portraits, figures, still life and landscapes. When it comes to painting, Richard Schmid ranks among the very best.

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Having said all of that, what impresses me most about Richard Schmid is not the awards that he’s won or the artwork that he’s produced, but his willingness to share with others.

I had the opportunity to experience this firsthand as a college student back in 1993. I had seen an advertisement in an art magazine for a one man show of Schmid’s work that would be opening in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I decided to pack up my ’77 Caprice Classic and drive from Virginia to Oklahoma in order to see the show and to meet the man behind the paintings. While there, I had the opportunity to watch Richard paint a still life and answer the many questions that he received during the demonstration. Afterwards, I had some questions about some of the things that he had mentioned and wanted to see if I could talk with him for a few minutes. After making my way through the crowd of people, I finally had the chance to shake Richard’s hand and ask him some questions from my list of notes that I had taken during his demonstration. As he began to answer my questions, we were quickly interrupted by those waiting in line behind me. As people began moving beside me and asking for Richard’s signature on books and prints, I felt the opportunity for having my questions answered slipping away.

Just as I was about to walk away, Richard Schmid did something that I have never forgotten. He asked me to step to the side and then turned his back on everyone in line in order to stop and talk to me. He began by saying, “Now, what questions did you have for me?” As I began asking my questions and listening to his answers, I couldn’t help but notice the scene that had unfolded in front of me. As I was looking at Richard, I could see the line of twenty five to thirty people behind him. He had no idea who I was, yet he took the time to share his knowledge and experience with me. That brief meeting left an impression on me and gave me a glimpse into the character of Richard Schmid. His desire to help other artists reach their own goals is a unique and rare quality.

Here are some examples of Richard Schmid’s inspiring paintings.


“Churchyard” Oil 12″ x 8″


“My friend John” Oil 16″ x 20″


“North Garden Peonies” Oil 18″ x 18″


“Zorro” Oil 28″ x 38″

SchmidAspens10x16Oil on Board

“Aspens” Oil 10″ x 16″


“Daffodils” Oil 16″ x 12″


“Carly” Oil 20″ x 24″


“Joy” Oil 16″ x 20″

As part of the Grand Prize for the “You be the Judge” art contest, Richard Schmid has donated a hard cover edition of his book Alla Prima. This book has been a great inspiration to me over the years and I’m excited to have the opportunity to share it with you as well. For those artists who are wanting to learn about how to start a painting, drawing, values, edges, color and light, composition and technique, this is the book for you. Along with examples of his inspiring paintings, you will have the opportunity to glean from Richard Schmid’s years of experience as he gives you detailed information about how a master painter thinks during the decision making process so that you, too, can apply that same knowledge to your own work.

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This hard cover edition contains 193 pages of information and paintings that are sure to motivate and inspire any artist. As an added bonus, this book is also hand signed by Richard Schmid.

If you would like to learn more about Richard Schmid and his work visit www.richardschmid.com. In addition to Alla Prima, the artist has also produced a series of books, DVDs and lithographs that I highly recommend taking a look at.

Click here for more information about how to enter the art contest for your chance to win this incredible book!