There are two great traditions in Western painting: the classical tradition, which is characterised by multi-layered and glazed surfaces and highly rendered realism and the alla prima - or direct - painting tradition, which is characterised by bold, expressive brushwork and a painterly, atmospheric surface. Alla Prima: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Direct Painting is a practical and comprehensive guide to direct painting, particularly as it is expressed though the work of the author’s mentor, Arthur DeCosta, the legendary master teacher who taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for more than 20 years. The book begins with the history of the education in direct methods in both Europe and America. From there, detailed step-by-step lessons show how direct painting is begun, developed and finished, including invaluable discussions on drawing structure, broken and smooth brushwork and colour development. Further lessons on colour mixing, palettes and materials, brush technique, drawing and paint layering, portraiture, still life, figure and landscape painting are provided, all through illustrated steps, analysis and historical information. Throughout, the book features the work of the European masters of the direct approach, from the old masters (Rubens, Rembrandt, Velazquez) and the late 19th and early 20th century masters (Degas, Renoir, Manet, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne) to the American Prime masters (Sargent, Whistler, Henri, Eakins, Bellows) who spawned such vibrant late 20th century painters as Alice Noel, Wayne Thichaud and Jim Dinc.