I've been reading a lot about colour theory recently and my brain has felt like exploding at times. My main area of enquiry has been regarding colour choices for mixing skin tones within a limited palette. Anders Zorn (1860-1920) is the obvious choice of painter to look at for his limited primary palette of Red, Yellow and Blue and the range of colour and tone that he achieved in his work. The Zorn palette consists of Ivory Black ( a colder black in temperature than lamp or mars), Cadmium Red Deep and Yellow Ochre.
In order to experiment with this palette, I carefully laid out the colours on my palette and set about mixing 4 value steps of different mixes to achieve a range of cold and warm tones. In the first row I mixed up a 4 step Ivory Black and white, I added some cad red to two adjacent mid range mixes to achieve a neutral purple (great for shadows in the skin). The greener row is Ivory Black and Yellow Ochre which gives a range of greener hues found in half tones of the skin. The mixes below are made up of all three colours with white added to achieve variations of browns.
I found that arranging the palette in such a manner before painting made organising the placement of colour and value on the actual painted portrait a lot easier to control. The mixes could be tweaked and adjusted alongside the main mix, making the transition colours easier to establish.
I chose an image from the internet to work from which was carefully selected to suit the Zorn palette
Zorn Palette of Ivory Black, Cad Red, Yellow Ochre and White
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!