Friday, October 12, 2012

Zorn Palette

I'm thrilled to be studying again with Kathy Weber, who is teaching a portrait class at The Portsmouth Arts Guild based on the palette of Anders Zorn. Yellow ochre, cadmium red light, titanium white, and ivory black. That's it! Look at the range of colour, and such greys I see in the sea, the clouds. It can be tedious to do colour charts but I found it fascinating, satisfying and almost Zen like in the mixing and the looking, the comparing of values and the direct knife application. It also brought up my perfectionism (arrgh!!), note the freehand size variation of my boxes. A note from The Artist's Handbook by Ralph Mayer: Ivory black is also known as bone black, is the black most widely used by artists, and is made by charring bones.( say what??) It's slow drying, has a brownish undertone, and should never be used full strength for an underpainting, as the next layer of paint will likely crack. Cracking most commonly occurs when the underpainting contains considerably more oil than subsequent layers. "Fat over lean" is a term to describe this process. Mayer suggests the use of Mars Black to avoid this problem. If you click on the colour chart, you can see the colour mixes at the top of each column.


  1. oh boy oh boy,thanks for giving all this info! So very helpful, I appreciate it - the Zorn palette looks like everything that is necessary -- except maybe some purples.

  2. Going to make my colour swatch now Thank you so mutch