Alla Prima from Photograph

Alla Prima from Photograph

April 4, 2020, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm


$75 per person.

with Suzann Beck

Saturday, April 4, 2020

9:00AM – 4:00PM


This workshop will help you learn to paint a realism-style “alla prima” or “all at once” portrait using value and color to communicate the light and shadow that gives dimension and drama to a portrait.

This workshop will teach you:
How to draw an underpainting in oil that guides your subsequent color work.
How to mix the basic values of skin tone color and build on your underpainting.
The finishing touches that bring life to your painting.
Suzann will explain her approach to alla prima portraiture and demonstrate painting and features hands-on practice painting with one-on-one guidance.

Please bring the following:
• Notebook and pen for taking notes.
• Paper towels.
• A painter’s palette, a double palette cup and at least one “diamond-shaped”
palette knife.
• Weber Odorless Turpenoid (the blue label). I run a “closed turp” studio, so we’ll
only be using a small amount in a palette cup versus an open brush-washing can.
Different brands have different handling, drying time, and odor qualities, I’ve found
this works best overall.
• Winsor Newton painting medium or similar (1/2 turpenoid and 1/2 linseed oil), or
linseed oil.
• A lightly toned canvas or canvas panel — I recommend 11 x 14 or similar for
newer painters, and up to 16 x 20 for experienced painters (14 x 18 is also a very
comfortable size for portraits).To tone the canvas, thin a pea-sized amount of paint
with turpenoid on your palette, paint it on your canvas, and then spread it with circular
motions using a paper towel moistened with turpenoid. Work the surface until
your canvas is the color of blonde wood (or the color of the wood frame around a
blackboard) and the tone is even. If you’d like help with this, please let me know
and we can arrange a time.
• Hog-bristle filbert brushes — several each small, medium, and large — I like to use
a lot of brushes to keep my colors clean. Dick Blick, Utrecht, and Winton are good
brushes that can be found in the area. Silver Brush Grand Prix and Robert Simmons
are excellent brushes and can be ordered online at My favorite
are Arttec from, but they’re special order and can take
awhile to arrive. A fan brush or two is nice to have for hair and for softening strong
brush marks. A fine pointed sable is also nice for painting catch lights in the eyes.
• Oil paints — Winsor Newton and Rembrandt are good quality, affordable paints
and mostly what I use for alla prima and direct painting (many people like Gamblin
and Utrecht). Overall, I believe you can’t go too wrong with any paint except for
student-grade paint. Following on the next page are the critical colors you will need
for the workshop. Specific brands I use are noted. As oil paints are expensive, I’ve
prioritized the colors
Group 1: These paints form the basis of all the colors you will be mixing and are the
minimum colors you should have.
– Titanium White (Winsor Newton, Rembrandt or Permalba)
– Cadmium Orange
– Cadmium Red or Cadmium Red Medium (Winsor Newton)
Note: if you can’t afford Cadmium red, we can make a substitute red or alizarin crimson work.
– Yellow Ochre or Yellow Ochre Light
– Cobalt Blue
– Raw Umber
– Ivory Black
Group 2: These colors will help you mix and adjust colors more easily and are highly
recommended to have for this class.
– Naples Yellow
– Indian Yellow (Winsor Newton)
– Alizarin Crimson
– Transparent Red Oxide
– Ultramarine Blue
Optional Colors: (I use these colors to modify my base mixes and create color effects.)
– Raw Sienna (used for darker skins tones in the light)
– Transparent Oxide Yellow (Michael Harding—like yellow ochre but transparent)
– Cerulean blue (for warm cool tones in the light)
– Viridian (for cooling skin tones in the light and in dark shadow)
– Burnt Umber
FAQS Q: Can I use watercolors or acrylics for this class?
A: No, these mediums are handled much differently and aren’t covered in this class.
Q: Can I use water-missible oils for this class?
A: If you absolutely want to use them, be advised that some techniques that will be taught
may be difficult or impossible with water-missible or water-soluble oils.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you have questions, please contact Suzann Beck by email,, or call 763.536.8055 or my cell 612.619.4010.

April 4, 2020, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Paramount Center for the Arts

913 West St. Germain StreetSt. Cloud, MN 56301United States

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