30 Alla Prima Paintings in 30 Days By Shannon Grissom. I’m a creative multi-preneur. What exactly does that mean? Well, I‘ve got a large box of crayons, and I like to color with them all. I’m an author, artist, songwriter, teacher, and television producer.
30 Alla Prima Paintings in 30 Days
For years I’ve been persevering through thick and thin. But recently, prolonged care-giving for my husband had left me burned out.
I mean fried.
I knew my situation wouldn’t change soon, and I realized I had to change my thoughts and actions to get out of my funk.
Changing was easier said than done. Though I needed a break to recuperate and regroup, I found stopping work challenging.
But stop, I did for an entire month. I took all non-essential tasks off my to-do list and completed only enough work to keep my business running.
I told everyone I was taking a sabbatical. I’ve been self-employed since the late 90s, and this was long overdue. That downtime freed up time for meditation, long walks, guitar playing, and, last but certainly not least, painting.
But my painting was uninspired.
During one of my walks, I realized that I was struggling with control issues. Everything in my life has been up in the air and I just wanted some certainty. It dawned on me that uncertainty was the only certainty. After that, I felt liberated. I knew it was time to allow the paintings to emerge rather than forcing their birth.
So I challenged myself to do 30 alla prima paintings in 30 days, using a palette knife instead of a brush. I created this challenge as I knew working alla prima with the palette knife would curb my impulse to control the work.
At first I found painting alla prima to be a significant challenge. Alla prima work is done in one sitting. I seldom work in that manner. I typically work over days, weeks, and even months with multiple thin layers of paint.
But soon I reveled in the spontaneity. Each 6” x 6” painting was completed in one session, using paint so thick you could charge by the pound! The resulting work is fresh, loose, and spirited. I signed each one at the end of each session, even if I didn’t think I was done. And boy, was I glad I did. In the past, I have killed many a painting in an attempt to make it “better.”
I mostly used a limited palette of Indian Yellow, Pthalo Turquoise, and Permanent Rose. Sometimes I added pusher pigments such as French Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, and Carbazole Violet. This limited palette helped me stay focused, and I knew that the limited color triad would play well with one another.
I was and am on fire! I completed the exercise in 22 days, and I’m still painting freely! I highly recommend this exercise if you would like to paint more expressively.
Now I’m also painting larger pieces, yet they are still impressionistic and expressive. I can’t put the genie back in the bottle; I am so grateful!
Want to get out of a creative funk or simply loosen up your work a bit? Give it a shot and let me know how it worked for you.
Article by artist and multi-preneur Shannon Grissom