Sunday, August 23, 2009
The Zorn Palette
I just got in from trying something I have been wanting to do for a while but never made the effort.
The Zorn Palette.
For those of you who may not know, the painter Anders Zorn apparently used a palette that consisted of Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black, and Red, I chose a Cad Red. I am sure for some of his paintings he had many colors involved but I assume a lot of his landscape work was with this palette. If there is anyone out there who knows how to tell a painting with only these colors, let me know. I have looked and I am not able to discern by looking. That statement alone is an indication of how good he was.
When you see a painter's work who is truly a master painter there is an appreciation for their abilities as a painter. But when you actually try to do some of these things, your admiration is magnified a thousand times over. By struggling with the palette of his, my admiration was magnified. A lot. It seems the more I paint, the more I appreciate what these master painters did and are doing. When I say master painters I am not sure how you acquire the designation. I am not talking about the artist who attaches it to their name to pad a resume or make a long impressive bio and can't paint their way out of a wet paper sack. I am talking about the guys who were and are truly masters. You know em' when you see em'.
Before I painted I was a big fan of Sargent. Then I started plein air painting and it took on a whole new level of genius. I can remember standing at the Frist Center here in Nashville in front of a Sargent that had been painted of a figure in the landscape that had been painted outdoors. The technical precision of every value and color and brushstroke may have been lost on me before I became a plein air painter. On this day, it wasn't. The mental capacity necessary to do what I had just seen, to me, made the moon landing look like a trip to the grocery store.
As far as the Zorn Palette, if there is anyone out there who has tips, secrets, or a little history on it, share. It has a very moody, fall-ish/winter look to it that I am sure I will use again. I just don't know how to produce anything that resembles the greens that I am used to here in Middle Tennessee.