This comprehensive guide explores one of the great traditions of Western painting: alla prima, or direct, painting. Bold brushwork and a painterly surface are the hallmarks of this renowned technique, and one of the great masters of alla prima was Arthur DeCosta, the legendary Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts teacher. In Alla Prima, author Al Gury reveals the step-by-step lessons he learned in his years of study with DeCosta. From start to finish, with clear explanations of color mixing, palettes, drawing and layering, structure, brushwork, and more, Gury guides readers through the full alla prima process. Portraiture, still life, figure, and landscapes are explored, all illustrated with the work of the greats, from Rubens, Rembrandt, and Velazquez, through Degas, Manet, and Cezanne, to Sargent and Whistler. Today alla prima is the ideal choice for artists who want to return to skill-based training yet retain a contemporary style--and Alla Prima is the perfect guide to the technique.