This book is a celebration. Contained within its pages are discoveries on the intimate details of creative expression. The focus
is primarily on painting with oils, but the fundamental ideas and problem-solving methods can be applied across other mediums and
artistic modes. Freedom in any creative endeavor involves a thorough examination of the foundational working properties. A grasp
of the inner workings of materials enhances the effectiveness of this language as a form of communication. This is especially true in
Virtuosity lies not only in a deep understanding of all the visual elements, but also with knowing what the instruments are
capable of, and a curiosity to explore what is truly possible.
Richard Schmid has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in the arts. With over sixty years of experience, he is a painter first and foremost, and a teacher second. An artist of his nature is rare. He is a continuation in the lineage of the great artists from the Romantic era, a direct descendant of a generation rooted in centuries of knowledge, which culminated in a very high level of aesthetic sophistication. Richard’s philosophy stems from a time when beauty was found, even in tragedy, and the most cherished and revered art was always an ascending act which served as an affirmation of joy and solace to sorrow.
Richard received his education primarily from Bill Mosby at the American Academy of Art in Chicago from 1952 to 1958.
Mosby was an extraordinary man. He was trained prior to World War II at the Belgian Royal Academy in Brussels, and later at the Superior Institute in Antwerp. His teachers were contemporaries of such luminaries as Serov, Monet, Zorn, Degas, Sorolla, Sargent, and Mancini, along with the Naturalists and the rest of the Impressionists. Mosby shared this world, opening the door and illuminating the path to their discoveries and contributions. Richard’s creative ambitions, in combination with his quest for skilled virtuosity, propelled him into uncharted territory. He further refined the essence of painting, finding new ways to express and articulate his inner vision.
In his sixties, he embarked on a journey to write
Alla Prima , his third instructional book, which focused on compiling
everything he knew about painting—that which he learned from his teachers, his teachers’ teachers, and all he discovered through
his own experimentation, study, and experience. He recalls a passionate urgency to write and publish that book in an effort to
preserve this precious information. Foundational instruction which was once considered common knowledge, understood and taught
by many, had rapidly declined in his lifetime. This occurred out of a direct response to Modernism, which strongly supported the
notion that the act of learning from the discoveries of the artists that came before hindered the ability to creatively express oneself.
Alla Prima was self-published in 1999, and over the years went into thirteen printings to meet demand. As a result, a
resurgence began, and now the value of this knowledge is being celebrated again by many. Richard is unique because he is not only
a highly skilled and expressive painter, but he can articulate his thoughts clearly, explain concepts in a straightforward manner, and
above all, is willing to share what he knows. Over the last two years, I helped Richard digitize
Alla Prima. During this process, he
took this opportunity to greatly expand the information, adding even more insights and discoveries on painting.
The contents of this publication were an integral part of this expansion process, and took many years to compile. This book
delves further into the materials, tools, and techniques of painting that are not included due to space limitations in the other two
Alla Prima. It provides detailed explanations and step-by-step instructions on the fundamental working and behavioral
properties of the medium. May this exploration on the instruments of painting serve to assist you in your artistic endeavors, as you
breathe life into the far reaches of your imagination.
Katie Swatland 2014