Monday, October 24, 2011

Zorn Pallette

I have been visiting with another blogger about a workshop I had taken several years ago. The theory behind the class was to use a limited pallette of four colors for portrait painting. Well as I was going through other blogs I follow, I found another artist who had just given a workshop on this same theory.

I decided to research this theory and found a wonderful artists who gives credit where credit is due. It is called the Zorn Pallette and the following is a copy of the article, but I wanted to credit the artist that gave me all the information on this pallette.

Please check out his site, it is a wealth of information:

Westerberg-Fine Art

The following is Westerberg's observation and thoughts on this pallette:

Zorn Palette (color chart)

This is a color Chart I made using the “Zorn Palette”. This was not Anders Zorn’s ( 1860-1920) only palette he did have other colors that he used especially when he worked outside, this palette refers primarily to his indoor work. It is basically simplified primaries: Red, Yellow, and Blue.

I use Gamblin Ivory Black, Utrecht Yellow Ochre, Windsor Newton Cadmium Red and Titanium/Zinc White.

The Chart shows the range of the palette as you can see it is fairly large. Let me explain how the colors are laid out.

The first swatch (upper left corner) is Ivory Black, and below I have gradated it white white. Next to that is Ivory Black mixed with Cad Red, Black being the dominate color. Ect ect ect….

Below are examples of Anders Zorn’s Work.

I used this palette quite a bit when I was learning to paint and I still use it today. Its a great starter palette.

Below are the brands of paint I typically use.

Anders Leonard Zorn (February 18, 1860 – August 22, 1920)
Biography of Anders Zorn

Just thought I would share this tidbit. I am trying to educate myself as I go through this journey of getting my gift back. I am very excited about this and I think I will do some paintings using this theory. I will say right now though, I love color and dont see myself doing everything with these colors...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Susan Roux said...

Hi I just found you from a comment you left on Mary Maxam's post. You spoke about trying too hard to replicate what you're seeing. It's a common problem with representational art. We strive harder and harder to really capture what's there. But don't forget to cut yourself some slack. It's the feeling the subject gives you that we are trying to capture, not what a photograph sees... Allow yourself some fun and when the natural instinct tells you to dip your brush in purple, by all means go for it!

mary maxam said...

What an excellent post, I will soon try this limited palette again, as it's been too long. Susan is right in her response about being a little looser in handling of painting style. Look at bigger shapes and use bigger brushes....and enjoy the process! Thanks for visiting and keep up the good work :)

Virginia Floyd said...

I really enjoyed your post. I've never tried the Zorn palette, though I've heard of it. I'll have to try it.
I found your website via Mary Maxam's link. Very nice!

Scott Christensen at
paints the most beautiful, incredible landscapes using only three colors plus white. You should check him out.