Gustavo Alla Prima

Study Hals, says Sargent, and only when you’ve learnt all you can from him, move on to Velazquez. Hals epitomises that “drawing with a brush” which we see in Sargent. Hals work is formulaic: a limited palette with a focus on tonal accuracy and capturing the gesture. These are the building blocks for Sargent and vital in understanding how he worked.

I tried to go back to such basics with this oil sketch of one of our models, Gustavo. Worked up from a 15 min graphite sketch it is painted wet in wet with a traditional palette, with no effort to hide the brush work. Indeed, the idea is to emphasize and celebrate the limitations of the brush…

Study Hals. I would say I’m just starting the journey…

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