Friday, December 29, 2017

Zorn Palette

You know how sometimes one little bit of information from a class makes you feel like you got your money's worth?  I remember taking a quilting class years ago in which the teacher demonstrated the quilter's knot.  I can't even remember what sort of quilt we made, but I have never forgotten that life changing knot!

I think the Zorn Palette may be my quilter's knot for Studio Journeys.  This is such a simple, elegant palette that I'm surprised I never heard of it before.  It is the palette used by 19th century Swiss painter, Anders Zorn and consists of only 2 colors and black and white.  But what a gorgeous range of blends come from those colors!  He used yellow ochre and cadmium red, then Mars black in place of any blue, and white.  I didn't have any Mars black so substituted Carbon black.  I'm not sure if that makes much of a difference or not.  I'd like to try different blacks to find out.

Below is the palette in my sketchbook, with several values of each blend.  The squiggles are little samples of the yellow, red, and black mixed together in different proportions.  I then did a 12"x12" painting using this palette.  It has been so interesting to see these posted on our Facebook group because depending on the emphasis, you can get an entirely different look, from earthy to more vibrant.

I have really been enjoying these studies in limited palettes.  It feels good to squeeze out only a few paints and know they will not be wasted.  And the simplicity allows me to pay more attention to value.  I'll be revisiting this palette quite often!


Dreamcicle Journeys said...

What a great idea to use another painter's limited palette. I recently became familiar with Zorn's paintings and Swedish heritage. I've always liked Carl Larrson's artwork. He's probably more popular. Now, I know another Swedish artist.

Robin Olsen said...

I was going to correct you and say Zorn is Swiss, but I double checked and you’re right, he's Swedish. Thanks for letting me know! I do think it would be fun to explore other limited palettes. This one sure surprised me.

Suzanne Reynolds said...

The power of limitations! Great palette, and I love your painting. So much movement!

Robin Olsen said...

Thank you Suzanne! I think I’m going to stay with a very limited palette for a while. It's pretty crazy how strict limitations seem to help creativity not hinder it.