Alla Prima

The wet-into-wet oil paint­ing tech­nique yields great re­sults if done cor­rectly. Fol­low Rob Rey’s work­shop as he achieves this dis­tinc­tive look in a stel­lar piece of art

ImagineFX - - Editor’s Letter -

Tal­ented tra­di­tional artist Rob Rey gives us an in­sight into how he cre­ates tex­tured works of art in oils.

Alla prima, or wet-in­towet paint­ing, is a tech­nique that I’ve long ad­mired. A sin­gle layer of thick paint can cre­ate a beau­ti­ful, but­tery ef­fect on the can­vas, while mul­ti­ple lay­ers of built-up paint tex­ture tend to look crunchier and rougher.

Un­for­tu­nately, my paint­ings al­most al­ways take sev­eral days to com­plete. Of course, the paint never stays wet that long, which makes achiev­ing that but­tery look dif­fi­cult. Pri­mar­ily for this rea­son, my process is heavy on plan­ning and pre­lim­i­nary work. In ad­di­tion to fa­mil­iaris­ing my­self with the anatomy and forms I’m about to paint, work­ing out the colours and other details of my fi­nal im­age ahead of time helps me to move quickly.

More im­por­tantly, this en­ables me to fin­ish one wet sec­tion at a time, al­ready know­ing how all the dif­fer­ent sec­tions will work to­gether. The re­sult is a paint­ing with the fresh look of alla prima, but the com­plex­ity, ac­cu­racy and de­tail of that comes with sev­eral days of work.

This paint­ing is part of my Star­dust se­ries, a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the fact that many of the atoms which make up our bod­ies and ev­ery­thing around us were once cre­ated by early stars, whose ex­ploded re­mains formed new gen­er­a­tions of stars, in­clud­ing our own So­lar Sys­tem, the Earth, and ev­ery­thing on it. If you think about it, we’re lit­er­ally made up of the rem­nants of stars!

Paint­ing stars has cre­ated some in­ter­est­ing chal­lenges for me. Nei­ther the soft gas clouds of space nor the short gra­di­ents of starlight eas­ily lend them­selves to the bold, chunky brush­work that I like most, but I find ways to en­able th­ese ele­ments to co­ex­ist in my work. With this piece I’ll guide you through the mul­ti­ple plan­ning stages that in­form my fi­nal paint­ing, my sec­tional paint­ing process, and how I han­dle the del­i­cate details of starlight.

Rob’s fore­most pas­sion is for learn­ing about the world, and this pur­suit of­ten in­flu­ences his painted work. He strives to make paint­ings that are not only beau­ti­ful, but thought-pro­vok­ing as well. You can ex­plore Rob’s art by vis­it­ing www.ro­bre­yart.com

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