Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Portraits in Oil using the Zorn Palette

Lately, I've begun to paint portraits in oil which has been quite compelling because I half way feel like I'm creating a new human being.   This is partly because they sometimes don't look quite like the model, i.e. a "new" person, which I find quite fun and intriguing.  Being new to painting portraits, I'm learning with two painter friends.  We've been watching a DVD by Jeffery Watts on "Painting the Gesture Portrait" using the very limited palette of Anders Zorn, who lived near the turn of the century in Sweden.  The portraits are painted with only four pigments: White, Black, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Red Light.  His portraits using this limited palette are truly amazing and beautiful!  My goal is both to learn to paint rich paintings with only four pigments (and no blue) as well as to paint with greater gesture in my brushwork--to loosen up!  This is how it works:  Black is very cool and therefore offers a subtle blue;  yellow ochre and black make a green of sorts; cad. red and black make a purple of sorts, yellow ochre and cad. red make an orange; yellow ochre, cad. red and black make a brown. So there you have it.  Now to transform those four pigments into a loose, gestural portrait.  This is my second oil portrait ever and the first with this Zorn palette.  It's "Andrew",  12" x 9", oil, from the model.

Painting is "life-long learning" and learning always adds to much to life.  Remember, I always appreciate your thoughts and comments.  Please forward this to your friends who might be interested.

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