The Wet On Wet Technique

The painting technique known as “wet on wet” or “alla prima” which means “first attempt” in Italian, is a technique used mostly in oil painting. It is a technique in which layers of paint are applied to previous layers of paint while all layers are still wet. This method of painting is also referred to as “direct painting” or “au premier coup” which is French for “at first stroke”.

The wet on wet method of painting has been practiced since the invention of oil painting. In fact, several of the best Early Netherlandish painters used this technique in parts of their pictures, such as artist Jan van Eyck in his portrait ‘Arnolfini‘ and some of Rogier van der Weyden’s paintings. In traditional oil painting, previous layers were allowed to dry completely before new layers were applied. This usually took from several days to several weeks for each layer to dry, depending on the thickness of the layer. Paintings done with the wet on wet technique can be done in only one session or “sitting”.

Who Can Learn This Method Of Painting?

Anyone. If you have the physical ability to hold a brush, get paint on it and touch it to a canvas, then you can learn to paint beautiful landscapes with the wet on wet technique, even if you thought you never had an artistic bone in your body. I mean heck, if I can do it anyone can do it. To prove it, look at the first two paintings my seven year old daughter did with almost no help at all. First 2 Paintings of a Seven Year Old.