Monday, October 31, 2016

"Berkeley and Boylston" oil 12 x 12

This month, Girls Just Wanna Paint explored the limited palette often used by Swedish painter Anders Zorn (1860 - 1920).  The Zorn palette is limited to yellow ochre, black, white, and cadmium red deep.  I have always told my students that if the values are accurate, then the painting will hold.  It was interesting using a warm red and a cool yellow with the black and white.  I almost never have black on my palette, so it was disconcerting at first to make gray with black, a technique I usually avoid. However, I never left the gray as only black and white, but altered it each time with a little of the cad red, or a little of the yellow.  The "battleship" gray possible with just black and white doesn't ring true to me, regardless of the palette I am using.  Every gray out there is influenced by its surroundings, even on a battleship. This is a painting of Berkeley Street from the intersection at Boylston in Boston, looking down at the Church of the Covenant, which creates a beautiful silhouette against the sky. 

You can see my block in for the painting and some iterative photos here.  It was a fascinating exercise, and very interesting to make cools out of black with yellow ochre, which makes an interesting olive green.  I'm going to do some more experimenting with this palette. You can see the rest of our paintings here

As always I love your comments.  What do you think?


  1. I could relate to everything you said regarding values being key and not using black. I think your painting is very successful and it just goes to show that there is no right or wrong way to create.

  2. Thanks, Laurie. It was a very interesting exercise. I'm going to explore some more.