Books That Inspire: Alla Prima by Richard Schmid

[amazon text=Amazon&template=my favourites&asin=0966211715 ][amazon text=Amazon&template=my favourites&asin=]Alla PrimaI’ve been sticking with my new year’s goal to spend some time reading art books every morning.  So far I have read quite a few so I thought I would start sharing and recommending a few.  One book that most artists have on their shelf is Richard Schmid’s Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting.  I have had this one for while but had never read it cover to cover until recently.  There is an expanded edition of this book out now, Alla Prima II, which I hear is full of a lot of new material, but this post is about the older one.

Many watercolor artists may not have this book since Richard is primarily a very well-known oil painter, but honestly if you are a painter no matter what media, you will get  a lot out of this book.  It’s not a how to book per say  even though there are plenty of color plates and some work in progress photos.  However, it’s a very detailed description of how Richard paints and what he thinks about during his painting process.  All things every artist should consider to achieve their best work.  An extra added bonus is, his wit and charm comes through on the pages!

Chapters are titled:  Good Ideas and Free Advice, Direct Painting, Starting, Drawing, Values, Edges, Color and Light, Composition, Technique and The Magic.  There is so much information here it will be hard to grasp on the first read.  This will be one you will want to refer to and read again.

Richard Schmid Color ChartOne of the biggest  take away exercises from the book are his color charts.  Many artists have done them and given their thoughts.  Just Google “Richard Schmid Color Charts,” and you will get a few hits.  He has taken every color in his palette and mixed it with every other color in the palette and charted it out.  Once you compete this exercise you will know your palette  inside and out and you will  have to use as reference the color families and harmonies for each color.  Richard’s teacher and mentor Bill Mosby made him do the color charts early in his career and he says, “ The charts took only two weeks to complete and when I finished I knew more about my paint a than I had ever thought possible. It was an astonishing- imagine being taken into the kitchen of a great chef and shown everything he could do with flavors-that was what it was like for me!”

I have seen him in a video show his charts done on what appears to be foam core, and he describes how he has taken them out plein air painting.  Holding them up to the scene he is about to paint, he can identify which color family fits the scene and know exactly which colors to use and mix on his palette.

The exercise does seem tedious and may take a while to do. However,  you would really learn your palette and not only what colors you will get when all of them are mixed with each other but what they will do when mixed with white as well if you are an oil or acrylic painter.

If you have a set palette be it watercolor, oil or acrylic you could do the exercise to make your own chart of the colors you typically use and you wouldn’t have to follow Richard’s exact palette. I’m very intrigued by this and hope to do it in the future.  This would be a great exercise to do if you feel you were experiencing artist’s block.  I can’t help but think mixing all that juicy color wouldn’t get one inspired to paint!

#richardschmid #allaprima

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

New Work… Secret Hiding Place

Watercolor on Twinrocker Handmade Paper, 6″ x 6,” 15 cm x 15 cm, Framed Size 11″ x 11,” 28 cm x 28 cm


Buy Now

After Painting, my last mushroom painting, Finders Keeper, I decided to so a series.  I’m not sure what kind of mushrooms these are or even if they are edible.  I wanted to create a sense of mystery in the background and really liked the diagonal line of the moss where the mushrooms are growing. They look they are hanging on for dear life.

These small paintings I like to mount on an archival board and seal them with acrylic UV sealer, therefore they don’t need to be framed with a mat behind glass.  They look lovely in  gold plain air frame.  I will post them framed in the future when I have better photos.

This painting will be in the April Exhibition at the 127 SoBo gallery, “Birds, Bees, Flowers & Trees.”

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

New Work… Finders Keeper

Finders Keeper, Watercolor Mounted on Board, 6″ x 6″, 15 cm x 15 cm, Framed Size 11″ x 11″, 28 cm x 28 cm


Contact me for purchase information.

All through my childhood every spring I would forage for mushrooms with my mother and grandfather.  Even though we were hunting for Morels, I have had a fascination with all kinds of mushrooms.  I always loved eating the morels, but ironically I absolutely detested button mushrooms!  Now, my taste has changed and I love to eat mushrooms of all kinds, except of course the poisonous ones and those  that make your mind…well you know what I mean!

This painting will be available at the March Exhibition, “Going Deeper,” at the 127 SoBo Gallery in Winter Garden, Florida.

www.kimminiciello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

More Good News!


Bourbon Street Encounter, 29″ x 17″, 74 cm x 43 cm, Watercolor on Handmade Twinrocker Paper

Available for purchase please contact me.

I am thrilled to be accepted into the 45th Annual International Exhibition of the Louisiana Watercolor Society. While I attended last years exhibition, I wondered around the French Quarter and was really inspired by the architecture and metal work, which was the inspiration for this painting.  I’m so happy that is going to the place where it was inspired, New Orleans!  Thank you to juror Chris Krupinski for including my work in this prestigious show.  If you are in the area the show will be at the New Orleans Academy of Fine At, 5256 Magazine Street, April 18 – May 8.   Then the exhibition will move to Place St. Charles May 9 – 23. minichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

The Paint Around at the Splash 2015 Gala for the Winter Garden Art Association

Me, my lovely daughter and paint around assistant and the finished painting I designed.

The Paint Around at the Splash 2015 Gala for the Winter Garden Art Association was a huge success.  The experience was a lot of fun, but very intense and nerve-racking at the same time.  The three of us had about an hour and a half to finish all three of paintings that each of us had designed and drew ahead of time.  I started with the painting I designed for  20 minutes, then worked on Mike’s painting for 15 minutes, then Rudy’s painting for 15, and then got mine back and finished it in around 40 minutes.  We matted and each signed all the paintings.

We were so focused, we were oblivious to the crowds and on lookers watching us paint!  During the course of the evening volunteers took donations for  raffle tickets and three lucky winners were drawn and took home our paintings! One of my dear friends happened to win the one I designed!

It was a lot of pressure to finish a painting so quickly and work on someone else’s work!   It was all for a good cause! Thanks to everyone who supported us and watched us paint!

Kim Minichiello