Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2-Day Color Workshop: Zorn Palette

2-Day Color Workshop

Zorn Palette


Color Workshop Supplies:

2 Canvas Boards:  Provided by Kline Academy

Oil Paints:
Yellow Ocher
Cadmium Red Light
Titanium White
Ivory Black

Small and Medium Sable Flats and Filberts

Palette Knife (Medium-sized)
Paper Towels
Plastic Trash bag
Small jar with Walnut Oil or Linseed Oil for cleaning brushes (NO TURPS)
Large glass palette or wood palette (Stay-wet container with glass inside, glass should have grey or brown paper underneath, no mixing on white surfaces!)


Color Mixing Workshop:  Zorn Palette

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 2-Day Color Mixing Workshop at Kline Academy.  Sixteen students piled into the back studio to learn the nuances of the Zorn Palette...  a limited series of colors suited well for mixing skin tones.  Since the next step of my Mandala would be focussed on the Zorn Palette, I thought it a good idea to learn what this palette was all about.

Anders Zorn

I don't know much about Anders Zorn except that he is the one who popularized using this series of colors to mix rich, beautiful skin tones.  His paintings are lush and lively with radiant light reflecting off the surface of his figures.  I found it hard to believe that he only used 4 colors to mix such a wide range of skin tones and was eager to learn the secret behind his genius.

The Process

Color Wheel Template
We were given two canvas boards painted a neutral pearl grey and with one - a color wheel was traced on the surface and the other - the outlined figure of a man.  The color wheel we were to create first and then that would be used to help us recreate a color study of the man on the other board.

Above you can see the three colors we were working from - Yellow Ocher, Cadmium Red Light and Ivory Black.  The primary colors were painted into the inner wheel then we used white to create the 4 gradient tints radiating outward.  The trick was to create transitions that were as seamless as possible - meaning there were only slight jumps from one tint to the other - not drastic ones.

Next, we filled in the inner wheel between the primary colors...  Those colors were also tinted with white to finish out the wheel.  The strip to the side was made up of all three colors to create a pure neutral greyscale. 

Finished Color Wheel
Below is the male figure we used to implement our color study.  We used a process of "tiling" - meaning that we weren't trying to create a blended reproduction of a photograph, but instead were "tiling" colors from the color wheel where they best matched the larger shapes within the image.  The effect reminds me of camouflage uniforms.

Unfinished Color Study
If you are interested in this process, painting flesh-tones or just want experience in being able to control the colors you mix, you should take this workshop.  Our instructor, Brianna Lee did such an excellent job walking us through the color wheel that I feel unqualified to try to explain it myself any further.  The workshop itself was a blast and I met many new friends.

I am finishing up my color study in my regular Beginning Oil Painting class before I move on to finish my Mandala with the Zorn Palette.  I will post photos of the finished work when I am done.

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