"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, March 27, 2017

Anders Zorn and the Zorn Palette

There is a silver lining to every cloud. With my current back issues making it impossible to stand at the easel for any length of time, I have had plenty of opportunity to devour some of my art books from cover to cover. I have spent the most time looking at my incredible book on Sweden's Master Painter, Anders Zorn. The color plates are of great quality and it is easy to see that his portraits are nothing short of magnificent. His brushwork is virtuoso while his colors are so so subtle and real.

I was intrigued by his limited palette. It is said that he only used four colors - referred to as the Zorn Palette. He worked his magic using cadmium red medium, ivory black, yellow ocher and titanium white. How could this be possible? I decided to find out for myself and spent time today creating a color chart using just those colors. I always learn so much about color when I take the time to do an exercise like this.

The first photo shows the color chart next to the book open to a page showing  two of his portraits.

The next photo shows the actual chart - I will remove those blue tape strips when the paint is dry and position this in my studio so I can reference it while I am painting. I will definitely try out this palette one day. And I do recommend the book - not only are the plates clear and crisp, it makes for great reading as he was a bigger than life character and became a much sought after portrait painter among the wealthy in  late 19th century America.

Hopefully, it wont be much longer before I can get back to painting.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fraught With Possibiity

Fraught With Possibility /Oil on linen panel / 24 x 18 / 

Close up of upper body (the color turned out strange in this shot for some reason).

She fits on the canvas!

Fitting her on the canvas using my sketch as a reference
In this painting, doing a preliminary sketch helped me to decide what size canvas I needed and also helped to place the figure on the canvas. Unfortunately, my back went out in the middle of this endeavor. I powered through it but think I will take a few days rest now. :(

Monday, March 20, 2017

Back to the Drawing Board

Ballerina / multi-media - graphite, charcoal, pastel on newsprint / 24 x 18

Close up of upper body
I rarely do a preparatory study for a larger painting but having, tried her in oils twice without success, I thought I would try sketching her. When I was painting, she kept demanding a larger and larger canvas. I may try her again in oils one day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Matter of Degree

A Matter of Degree / oil on linen / 12 x 9

Her enthusiasm is showing although she may pay for it with a backache later tonight!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rekindling Enthusiasm

Rekindling Enthusiasm / oil on linen sheet / 16 x  12

A return of one of my ballerinas. She emerged from my brush when I stood in front of a white canvas wondering what to paint.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Portrait Practice as a WIP

Portrait practice, alla prima, oil on linen sheet

Loose oil sketch directly on canvas establishing light and shadow

Mostly done but I decided to add a quick pinkish background

Finished - oil on linen, 12 x 16
I did this portrait today as I am having a crisis of subject matter - nothing seems to be catching my imagination and demanding to be painted. When that happens (and it does from time to time) I tend to fall back on the basics and wait for inspiration to hit.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hounds, Horses and Jockeys

 This little painting was inspired by the hounds of Chateau Cheverny in France - hunting hounds that are a cross between English and American Foxhounds. They are incredibly beautiful animals!

Hounds / oil on canvas panel / 12 x 12

 And some doodling on newsprint - perhaps this fellow will show up in a painting some day.

Sketch of a jockey astride  his mount / graphite on newsprint

 And an experiment using pink drawing paper toned with burnt umber essence (highly thinned oil paint). I just love this grouping of horses and riders.

Racing / Oil sketch on paper