February 17, 2013

"The Cloth Divide"

Oil on canvas panel, 11 x 14 inches, $325

I began this painting as a demo for my students and used a limited palette of Yellow Ochre, Terra Rosa, Ivory Black and Titanium White. The canvas was toned with Raw Umber.

These earthy versions of the primary colors are nearly the same as those used by Swedish painter Anders Leonard Zorn (1860-1920). But, instead of Terra Rosa, the Zorn palette uses Vermillion (or modern-day Cadmium Red Light). Other earthy reds like Venetian Red, English Red Light or Light Red Oxide work well, too.

Using the Zorn palette has its benefits. The muted color scheme creates color harmony and unity with no effort at all. It's also a good teaching tool, because beginning students can learn how to manipulate oil paint without the concern for exact color-matching. The subdued tones also help students recognize complimentary colors and strengthen their understanding of the color wheel.

Ivory Black is cool and stands in for blue. So in this painting, for example, the small pitcher on the left was blue, so I used Ivory Black to paint it. Mixing Ivory Black with Yellow Ochre results in an nice, earthy, sort of olive green. But, as a final step for this painting, I decided to brighten up the yellow-green apples with a thin glaze of Viridian mixed with Cadmium Yellow. Below is a shot of the painting before the glaze was added.

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