Leonardo da Vinci

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, July 13, 2012


One thing that draws me to painting is going through the thought process of how to paint a subject.
One point of interest for me is whether to paint alla prima or work a surface over a period of days.....
When i began this piece, i fully intended to make it a multi-day affair. However, as the painting progressed, i was liking some aspects of it and i decided to push on into the evening and see how it turned out.
As it would be, i wanted to focus on the spontaneity of the sky and keep to the freshness of how quickly the light can travel across the terrain as it peeks through the massive web of cloud cover.
In the end, i was reminded a great lesson.....I went into this piece with a plan, a plan that was altered mid-stream. I scrapped the multi-day thing, went forward to complete it in one sitting, and wound up being pretty happy with the outcome.
Being conscious of our decision making, and acting on those intuitions is critical. Plus, you never know where you will end up going down those little experimental bunny trails.


  1. Sometimes one day is all you need to make a painting. I really enjoy the compressed landscape, that sky is so dominating!

  2. Gorgeous painting. I so love your skies.

  3. I learned that lesson last summer. I had a plan, but it wasn't going as intended. I tried to force it a certain direction and it turned out awful. I realized you just have to let it go it's own way. I still always go in with a plan, though I know now, it will almost certainly change.


  4. Michael, you are a master of skies. This one is particularly outstanding--patches of clear blue coming in to break up ominous clouds, a beautiful sight. A promise.

    I don't understand: alla prima means not doing a planned drawing first, but going in directly with the paint on the pristine surface? And finishing the painting in a day? I thought the first was true, but if it took several days or weeks to finish the painting, it was still alla prima? Not so?

    1. Thanks Linda for the comment, i'm glad you like it!
      I understood alla prima to mean, "all in one sitting". So, i guess that's what i meant. I could be wrong, and if i am i apoligize for misussing the term. However, i do like to buck the system...:)

  5. I like how you switched your plan...I imagine it's a little like playing a football game...you have a play in mind, but then the opposing team runs a play you didn't expect. One has to make decisions on the fly. Great job on this---it is fabulous!

  6. Wow, now that's a sky! Marvelous.