- Lesson Details
World-renowned painter Steve Huston will analyze a painting by Swedish artist Anders Zorn and demonstrate Zorn’s approach to color. You will learn how to employ the “Zorn palette” to your work, using only browns for your shadows and working with warm and cool colors. You will also learn the some of the distinguishing features of outdoor and indoor colors, styles, and palettes.
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painting by Swedish artist Anders Zorn and demonstrate Zorn’s approach to color.
You will learn how to employ the Zorn palette to your work,
using only browns for your shadows
and working with warm and cool colors.
You will also learn some of the distinguishing features of outdoor and indoor colors,
styles, and palettes.
That’s because we’re using what I call the Zorn palette.
It’s a simplified Brown School palette.
The Brown School painters, as we remember, are the indoor painters.
They work where everything in the world goes from rich, lovely, oftentimes religious based
light in their thinking, down into a brown non-light.
The Shadows kind of go to brown.
That means as painters we don’t have to worry about the color choices, the color harmonies
in the shadows, and that shadow often extends all the way through the background.
In this painting we’re going to see a little bit of light and shadow in the background.
So a Zorn palette.
The Zorn palette is white.
Everybody needs white.
That controls our value.
Whatever color we have or colors we have on the palette we can make them lighter with
our white and render up toward those lights.
We start with white always with all of our palettes.
Then we have a yellow.
We actually have two reds, but a red and a blue.
The difference in the Zorn palette or the indoor palette is that in the Brown School
indoor palette our primaries are for the most part very gray.
We’ll talk about this in a second.
We’re going to have a yellow, red, blue.
Our three primary colors.
In theory we can mix any color in the rainbow.
But there are rather gray versions.
We’re not going to be able to get real beautiful color.
We’re going to be able to get tents of color towards an orange or towards a purple if we
needed it or a green or the primaries there.
So, in this Brown School thinking we’re going to use formulized colors.
They’re going to hint at the full color theory that we’ll see in Impressionist theory,
They’ll be actually a deep understanding of it, but they’ll use a formula simplification.
A lot of it came from—well, it came from a couple of things.
One, they didn’t have the full science that the Impressionists have.
The German scientists at that point had figured out full color theory and done laws of light
research and all that kind of stuff.
They had it fully understood.
But artists have great eyes and they observe those same effects all through history.
The main issue was paint.
In the Brown School period, they didn’t have a lot of choices of color.
It got very expensive to get a very bright blue.
Only the most famous and highly sought-after artists like Raphael and such could use blues
in their color because of the semi-previous stone they had to grind down to make the pigment.
So there was a real limitation on how much color they could use, just cost-effect.
They couldn’t go outside and observe as much because there were no tubes of paint.
They had to mix little pots of paint by hand in little open jars.
To carry all of that stuff into the wide world was just cumbersome.
They’d go out and do little sketches and drawing and come back and paint their painting.
Anyway, we end up in Brown School with a formulized version of what we’re going to see in the
real world, and it’s going to be mainly value based.
Value is going to do 80% of the work.
The colors will get just hint toward the real colors in the real world.
That will be our style.
I used Zorn’s palette because it’s very, very simple.
There are only four or five colors.
There is white.
There is yellow ochre.
There is some kind of brick red.
This is a Venetian red from Gamblin.
You could use Terra Rosa, Indian Red.
There are several of these reddish browns, kind of rich burnt siennas.
Yellow ochre, Venetian red, and a blue-back.
They take a black, ivory black, and add blue.
I added ultramarine blue to it.
Here is my black.
Here is blue-black over here.
And so I have something in between, about half and half.
I actually have a little bit more ultramarine in this than I do black,
but anywhere in that range.
Then, not always, but oftentimes a brighter red is added for lipstick, the ruddy flesh,
those kinds of things, so I added that 5th color.
But in a Giorgonne and some of these others they wouldn’t even use that color.
It would be in this range, basically.
Now, the yellow ochre, this I mixed I myself.
You can buy yellow ochres, of course.
Each company the yellow ochre will be a little different.
Some are really dirty green and unattractive yellows.
I prefer to do a brighter version of that.
What I did is I mixed my sunshine yellow.
It can be any of those: Hansa yellow, chrome yellow, cad yellow pale, any of those, anything
that’s a slightly warm sunshine yellow.
I added transparent orange, a little bit of transparent orange.
Gamblin, but Winsor-Newton or Gamblin both make good versions of that.
Then I added some black, just ivory black.
Now, as soon as you add black to gray it down, remember black is a very dark gray, it’s
also a very cool color.
When I add a little bit of black to it—in fact, I’ll do it here.
Can you see how green it gets?
It goes very green.
To combat that green, I added a little bit of Venetian red to it to cut that back.
Then I added a little bit of white.
You can just mix with your palette knife.
Just dab those colors and play with them.
Warm yellow, transparent orange which is a deep, darker yellow.
I’ll show you that.
I’ll show you that in the impressionist palette.
I’ll give you that full palette there.
A little bit of Venetian red, a little bit of black, little bit of white.
Mix those together.
You get a nice, rich, more beautiful version of yellow ochre.
Now, over here I have, I had done some other painting here.
You can see the smudges where it’s gotten a little bit dirty.
Over here I had—some of white got dirty from dipping into it, so I’d bring it over her.
I’ll do that.
I’ve painted one painting, and I’m going to paint another.
Hopefully, it’s not many, many days between my paintings.
The paint won’t be dried out on the palette, but I’ll have a dirty pot of color.
So I’ll scrape that off and put it on the side.
If I need to lighten the color, but it’s a dirty color, I’ll mix it out of this.
If I have to lighten something and it has to be a nice, clean white, I’ll use that.
That saves you a little bit of money.
Alright, so, the Zorn palette.
What we’re going to do is mix the color of the light plus the color of the object.
That will be the color that we paint down on our surface.
In this case, I’ve got the Zorn painting.
The title is Martha Dana, and I’ve actually got my computer here.
It’s up on the screen of the computer.
I’m going to have to refresh it every once in a while.
You saw it at the beginning of this lecture.
That’s going to be my source material, and we’re going to a very simple little study
of that, even simpler than the Rembrandt,
I did in the black and white lecture series of painting.
What I want to do is try and get these little color notes and a basic sense of the shape
of these things, but not too worried about the shape.
It’s a little study.
I’ve got her up on my model stand.
I’m doing a little color study to figure out how I want to break this down.
I’m not going to even worry about the composition.
That’s for another set of lectures.
I’m not going to worry if it gets a little too big, too small here or there.
All I worry about is working out the values and the colors now, the values and colors.
If I get my values really well placed, beautifully designed, the colors will be much more forgiving,
especially in this Brown School style where there is not a lot of color.
There is a red rose or carnation or whatever the heck it is in her hair, and that’s a
bright, warm fire engine red.
By the way, is should say the red is naphthol red from Gamblin.
It’s a cheaper red.
It’s not as expensive, but you can use cad red medium.
You can use Grumbacher red.
There are a bunch of them.
Any fire engine red, slightly yellowish red is what we’re aiming for here.
I’ll be able to use that color and get that red rose nicely, and that’s why he had that
She has nice red lips so he’s using that red wherever that life blood comes to the
surface in the red lips, in the ruddy cheeks, that kind of stuff.
Alright, so there is my drawing.
There is a little bit of background shadow.
I’ve cropped it a little tighter on this so I don’t have to worry about drawing that.
She’s slightly uplit really from the side, slightly up it from the side this way.
It’s an interesting light source.
We have very white shirt, blouse.
Very white background and then rather light flesh.
Her flesh is kind of blasted out.
Now, when we’re thinking of the flesh, we’re painting a Caucasian model here basically
pink we can call it.
It can be all sorts of—it can be more olive and all that kind of stuff.
We have pink flesh.
It’s a form of red.
Then we have the yellow light source on it.
It’s a yellow plus red is orange.
It’s going to be some kind of orange.
Now here is the trick with artists: I’ve mentioned this several times throughout different
As an artist you will make mistakes.
You will screw up.
What you want to do is learn to make mistakes in the right way rather than the wrong way.
Err to the more dynamic is what I say.
Wherever your idea is going, whatever you’re trying to get out of your art, push it.
If I’m doing a comedy, better to make it too funny than not funny enough.
If I’m doing shadows, shadows are a dark idea.
Better to make them too dark rather than not dark enough.
When we do, when we’re painting light in color on our painting, it’s the color of
the light plus the color of the object, that’s the color we mix.
If we’re going to screw up, screw up by putting too much color of the light in it
because that’s going to give it a sense of light.
The value is very, very light because it’s in light, so make that even lighter than you think.
The color is very, very yellow because that’s the light source.
Make that even yellower.
And so in these Brown School paintings, there are really formula colors, and they will err
to the light source.
They’ll make them really glowing yellow.
Think Rembrandt, Giorgonne, very glowing yellow.
Let’s get our background because that’s pure white.
I’m going to take a good chunk of light and I just scooped it right off there.
You can see how a big glob of it.
Then I’m going to blend it and smooth it out on my canvas.
I have a toned canvas here because I did another painting that was horribly bad.
I was sketching around I wiped it out.
It was a lousy painting.
I don’t know if that gives you comfort or scares you that your teacher does lousy paintings
sometimes, but I did one.
You will never see it.
But you can take my word for it.
Anyway, I rubbed this down.
You can actually see a little bit of the study here I did.
It started it off.
It was an abysmal adventure.
Art humbles you.
The best thing you can do is just keep at it and just have fun in the process.
Make it a start.
Make lots of start.
The horrible painting I did took about 20 minutes so it was 10 minutes of hope, 10 minutes
of misery, and then it was over.
Then I can go on to make next painting, which is this one, and we hope for greater success.
If it was not greatly successful, you will never know because I will delete this video
and do another again and pretend that time it was my first try and I was brilliant right
off the bat.
Try and have fun with it.
You are creating something from nothing, in effect.
You’re making all the decisions, controlling all of the variables.
You are creating a whole world here.
It’s very exciting and it’s a big task.
You need to kind of give yourself a break.
When I say it was a miserable experience, I don’t take it too seriously.
You get frustrated on these, but the main thing is to have fun.
If you can get a couple of things out of it that were a real revelation or a success,
yeah, I got that cheekbone to turn so beautifully well, but the face is a little out of proportion.
She’s not as pretty as she should be, or he’s not as heroic as he should be
or whatever it is.
That’s the way I take it.
I don’t take it too seriously.
If I do something great I know it’s not a masterpiece, probably.
If I do something horrible I know it’s not the worst thing in the world.
It’s the best I can do at the time.
Sometimes it’s surprising what you can get down on the surface.
Mainly it’s just a fun, wonderful way to spend your life, trying to create things that
are interesting and beautiful.
Alright, there’s my white background laid in here.
Now the flesh is light, and it’s a grayer, so I’m going to go to my dirty white.
I’m going to make a pretty good sized pot, a little lump of dirty white.
It’s mainly yellow so I’m going to my yellow here, mainly yellow.
Now when I choose the half-tone that’s what I’m painting.
I’m not painting for the highlights.
I’m painting for the half-tone.
I’m going to key it to the highlight, meaning I’m going to make it dark enough—you can
see how that red overwhelms that yellow because it’s a rich red, and this is a dirty yellow.
I’m going to make it dark enough that I can feel that a highlight, let’s put one
on here, a highlight will pop off.
When I do a highlight on the nose it’ll pop off correctly.
That’s what I’m doing to key and you can see how a little white is overwhelmed by any
color, even a weak color.
And that’s why we put that in first because it’s so easy for that to get polluted.
I’ve got a black jacket to put on here, black here on the hat, and that’s going
to really overwhelm that white if it starts to leach into there.
The thing about having a toned canvas—I got caught up in telling you about the failed
painting—toned canvas, the white is gone.
As soon as you put down any value, any color, we start to get that sense of pop and separation,
that sense of an environment happening, whereas if it’s a white canvas, then until you get
the last note of white off, it’s going to feel dead and lifeless and just out of character.
You’re not going to get that sense of atmosphere, environment that you desperately need before
you can understand what you’ve got.
We have that.
Now we have a cooler, darker version of that.
There is blue-black.
You can see how blue that is.
Had I used just a straight black it would be more in that range, but still clearly blue.
This is going to be the collar.
She has this high wrapped collar.
Notice I needed a gray-blue for her collar.
I already had a gray color here working that was about the right value, her face, and I
What that does, when we do that kind of thing, now I’ve got to darken it and warm it up.
When we do that kind of thing, things start to harmonize.
Remember, harmonizing colors just have something in common.
And so I’m always mixing, if I need a blue I try and use a blue
that’s already in the painting.
If I needed something gray I try and use something that’s gray already in the painting.
That allows for the colors to really get along beautifully.
Oftentimes, I will lay in two or three colors, so I laid in a yellower version, a redder version.
I’m going to come back and get that bluer version, put it right on the top.
I need to make a bigger pile of it.
There is a bluer version.
Now I’ve got—let’s put the blue here too—now I’ve got blue over red, blue over
yellow, and we start to get this sense of sophisticated color.
What I’ll do is I’ll put something down and say that yellow ochre, that gray yellow
ochre I put down for the shadows of her blouse were too yellow.
I can come back here and I can mix a much more accurate color and replace it.
That’s a fine way to go.
I can say, well, it’s awful close.
It just is a little too yellow.
I’m going to mix a bluer version and maybe something that’s a little too blue, put
it over the top, and now we have some of the blue and some of the yellow coming out.
They mix together on top.
One covers one, they mix together and create a third color.
Some of the old color peaks through.
You get a lumpier version of color.
You get several colors in there.
You have some of the background coming through, that pink coming through.
All that adds life and sophistication to your painting without having to try too hard.
I stay with that area until it rings true.
It’s crucial when you’re doing any kind of sketch work, and this is just a little sketch.
It’s a real quick translation of the world we see, or in this case, the painting we see.
We’ve already got an artist that’s done the translation.
We’re just trying to follow along, and that makes it easier in a lot of ways for us in
having to translate whole cloth from our source, from life.
This is a slightly brownish, at least in this reproduction.
I should have used this over here, but that’s okay.
You can see how I’ve dirtied that up.
I go to the edge to get it because I knew I was going to dirty that up.
We don’t want to ruin that whole pot of white.
It’s a slightly brown-black.
I’m going to thin it out just a little bit.
Since this is a sketch and I’m not going to render over the top of it, I’m just going
to—like a bug’s foot in the water, I’m just going to dip the very tip of my brush
into that solvent.
You can hear that scratching and scrubbing.
That is why I go through so many paintings is I scrub.
Rather than getting a real big chunk of color in the beginning, I like to get just enough
color to cover because that keeps less paint on the canvas and it doesn’t wad up.
It doesn’t gum up.
You get a lot of paint on the canvas it gets a little tougher to work with.
I will ease into that thicker paint.
I’ll paint very, very thick.
I’ll actually take a palette knife and I’ll scoop a big gob of my mixed color and I’ll
trowel it on to my end of the brush and then put that on.
I work very thickly at times.
In one of these demos I’ll do a demo of how I paint.
I’ll actually show you a painting of mine and record it and explain it as I paint.
You can see how I work on my own work and compare it to the old master kind of stuff
we’re doing here.
Notice—just put a little bit of that on it.
We don’t need it at this point.
Notice that here is my dark value.
Here is my middle value and here is my light value.
My light value and my middle values are getting pretty close together.
Then the dark value is the one that pops.
We have a dark value here, dark value here, so we get that striking and very organic lovely
Let’s get in the hair in the hat up here.
We’ll talk about these lovely organic shapes really beautifully designed and kind of flamboyant.
The shoulders kick up and over here this one does too, although for us it
goes off the canvas.
But really kind of Rococco kind of high society shapes, flamboyant,
pay attention to me kind of shapes.
Same way with this wild hat.
Their hats where huge even up in the 1940s.
Everybody wore hats, and they were, they really got pretty crazy.
As soon as I do that now I’ve got white on my brush, wipe it off, reload.
Do it again.
White on my brush so I’ll be disciplined.
You can see how a little bit of the white dragged into the
black and that’s absolutely fine.
I can get rid of it later, but it’s a nice little exciting moment in the paint.
Work around that red.
There you go.
Now I’m going to put in more paint on my brush to cover up the white.
You can see it over there.
Alright, so we’ve got that.
Now we’re going to get the shadow.
When I look at this shadow I’m going to squint at it.
When I squint at it, it’s closer, the shadow over here is closer to the value here than
it is here.
It’s going to be part of that darkest third value.
It’s rather green, kind of in the umbers.
But it’s not that green.
It has a little more warmth to it.
I’m going to add a little bit of warmth.
Warmth is my red.
Cool ice is my blue.
Yellow is my neutral.
That is pretty close.
There are some moments of warmer.
He painted over the top.
It’s like he actually painted the green over the red.
We’ll do the reverse here.
Squint at that painting now.
Can you see how these two—they are clearly different values.
This is darker, but when you squint they group together.
That’s what we want to do.
We want to use the squint test to get this stuff to design out, to do our tonal composition.
If our composition in terms of value is beautifully done, the colors are much more forgiving.
This Brown School style depends on that.
There is very little color that could be called beautiful in these kind of paintings.
Sometimes you’ll get the glazed Giorgonne and Rembrandts with glorious yellow, golden
yellow light, and that’s that religious God light.
It’s called the God light that comes down and illuminates the unenlightened.
But typically the colors are just, meh, nothing big.
Those values really hold it together.
Alright, here is the dirty white.
Then we’ve got a little bit of the end of the cast shadow here, so we’ll just do a
little bit of that just to give shape to it.
We also said that it also got kind of warm, and she’s got, before we do that let’s
do her brown hair.
She has this dark brown hair, and it’s a dirty brown.
I’m going to dirty it up with a green over here.
We’re going to talk more about those mixing of warm and cools and complements to get what
we want in the Impressionists.
I’m just going to kind of do this since color doesn’t matter hugely.
If it’s a little too this or a little too that, it’s not a disaster because the value
is going to hold together.
As long as the temperature that’s kind of warm when it’s warm, it’s kind of cool
when it’s cool, that’s all we care at this point.
I put down there and it looked too gray so I came back in and got a little more of my
We talked earlier about edges.
There is hard, there is soft.
There is lost.
Right now we have all hard edges for the most part.
This starts to get a little soft here.
I’m going to do a soft edge here.
The soft edge can be—now I think, shoot, I really goofed up her hairstyle there.
It was a much prettier shape on the model stand or in the painting that we’re working
Now I’m going to correct that hair shape with the negative shape.
I used the white negative space, negative shape, to correct the positive of the hair.
I was trying to draw the hair, but I drew it and put it in there badly or I put it in
there painterly to allow it to be a little more flashy, fun, spontaneous technique knowing
I could correct it with the negative shape.
Notice that as soon as touch it it gets dirty.
That’s why I made that little stroke there.
You can see a little bit of the dirt of the hair color in my brush.
Now I’ve got to get extra paint on top to cover it.
I can do this several times.
I can push in.
As I push in I’m keeping that white clean, and I’m pushing the white into the brown.
It’s dirty in the brown, at least the edge of the brown, but it’s not mucking up our
pretty, nice clean white.
Okay, and so there we have our hair shape kind of set up.
We don’t care too much that it’s just right in this little study.
It is a study, and we’re just trying to get the notes.
We want the shapes to ring true but we want to just get the notes of color and value here.
Again, squint at that and you can see it’s really a black and white painting that just
The white gets a little dirty yellow.
The grays get into a cooler or warmer version of that kind of umbery earth tones, siennas,
that kind of thing.
Okay, let’s look at the shadow.
There is actually a lot of reflected light in this.
I’m going to keep that out of here.
I’m going to make it simpler next to no reflected light.
I want to make it a little bit lighter.
It’s just kind of a brown noncolor.
Now I’m doing my zigzag and I’m dragging the shadow color into the half-tone or up
against the half-tone color to draw my edge, that cheekbone, that underside of the jaw
and chin and the upper cheekbone.
Now I’m going to push that back into my hair, and I’m going to lighten it just slightly
to get my ear.
It’s going to come along that brow ridge, and we’ll do lots of time and lectures talking
about the structure of the head both in line and drawing.
Line and tone and in paint.
I’ll show you both mediums, structures because they’re important to get
the truth of the figure.
In this kind of thing it’s just a basic, we’re just trying to get a basic sense of
We’re not trying to really get it too carefully.
I’m correcting that jaw line with the negative shapes.
Here we go.
Every time we make a little correction we get a little painterly smudge where they meet
oftentimes, and those things are the lovely little accidents.
I call them happy accidents that go along with alla prima, with loose style painting
rather than really careful painting.
I leave those.
You might find at the end you just don’t like it and you take it out, but leave those
kind of little oddball bits because oftentimes they’re the freshest, most lovely parts
of the painting once you’re done.
Now we have a redder nose.
It goes up into a brow.
I’m just going to mark off where the eyes go.
We’re not really going to do much in the way of the character of this.
She has an open mouth.
It’s a subtle thing and a difficult thing.
Again, we’re not going to worry to much about getting that.
Now, I need red lips but they have to be dirty red.
They are not going to be as red as my red rose.
They are a little yellower.
One of the problems we have when we’re trying to figure out what’s what,
what’s the shape here.
What’s the value here.
We have to compare.
I’m not going to look at this color and just get right in the middle of it and say,
now, what is that color?
Imagine what I’m going to do is I’m going to compare it.
In art it’s always about the relationship between the parts.
And so I want the relationship between this and that and this and that.
This is much darker than that, but it’s a little lighter than this side of the jacket.
It’s not quite black.
You try and bracket it.
This is pure white.
We just went with pure white on that because that’s what Zorn did.
In a painting situation I probably would have held back and not done that, but for design
effect in this real graphic flamboyant character, this kind of movie start of the time, he went
ahead and really wacked us over the head with those values, entrance
to make her have a big entrance here.
You walk into the drawing room and you see this big portrait of her and she just
dominates the room.
She was a force of nature and that was part of the concept of the painting and part of
the commission for the paintings, to make her bigger than life basically.
What I did is I added a little bit of warmth on the corner of the cheek.
That’s what you’ll find in this Brown School.
You get kind of a dirty noncolor in the light side.
You get a gray brown in the shadow side.
At the border where these colors come together is oftentimes where you see the real color
of the flesh, the ruddy life of the blood coming to the surface is at the edge.
I’ll put it a little stronger so you can see it in there.
We have a little bit of cooler going up into her and then a dark accent.
Separate her collar from her neck in here.
There is our beautiful red rose and it has a little bit of yellow to it.
Put a little bit of yellow in there.
Then it fades into the shadows, and so it goes into kind of a
red-brown and merges with her hair.
Let me show you a couple of little things here.
Our quick little study.
We can play all sorts of games with the variations.
There is a little glow.
That softens that.
A couple of little things here.
Now let’s say we wanted to do a little bit more rendering on the flesh.
Let me show you what we would do here.
We need to—we’re not going to render it much.
I just want to show you the basic idea here.
Now when any of these folks, any of these artists that draw a portrait are really just
thinking of an egg.
So if we took an egg and lit it from the same side, we would have that.
We would have that.
I’m going to take out the features here.
We’ll leave the nose in.
Now this egg is an imperfect egg.
That’s back more or less to what we had before.
This egg is an imperfect egg, but what Zorn is going to think of, let me get a better
shadow in here.
What Zorn is going to be thinking of here is this, and so as the form turns to the left,
it’s going to get lighter.
As it turns to the right it’s going to get darker.
Eventually that darkness will become shadow as it drops down the chin and gets a little
What we’re going to find is that cheekbone and middle forehead, cheekbone and middle
forehead over to our left, her right side.
It’s going to get very, very light with little variations of the bumps of the features.
Then it’s going to fade off that way.
That’s what we want to do here.
If I were to take this into more of a rendering where I start to want to turn things, round
them off, stairstep, I’m going to get the biggest possible form, which is that egg...
that big egg.
I’m going to get that big leg to the left, her cheekbone here.
I’m going to let that zigzag technique fade down to the darker jaw and chin.
I’m going to do it through, over the top of any features.
I don’t want those features in the way.
If it’s a really big head you can kind of step around it, but it’s always dangerous
to kind of bounce around the features.
You go over this eyeball and this eyeball and this nose and this mouth, and each of
those features is its own little structure.
The eyeballs are balls in a hole.
shape. They are kind of a slice of a ball.
Then the nose is a wedge.
Then you have some architecture of the relatively more narrow forehead and the wider cheek.
That’s why you have this step down out here on that cheekbone because the cheeks get wider.
There are all sorts of little subtle things that go on.
The big picture is this whole tube is fading that way darker, darker, darker.
Then all the little features have little variations, landscape variations on top of that.
It’s that big picture idea.
What we want to do is get that big ball lit with its lightest half-tone down to its darkest
Then we can add the secondary things.
Now I’m going to add the nose and a little bit of the eye sockets.
I already have the side of the nose.
I left it in there.
The front of the nose gets kind of reddish.
Basically, on the flesh wherever the smaller pieces of flesh, the digits, the nose, the
ears, the smaller things, there is more blood at the surface.
The bigger things, as we get into the bigger face, the full face and especially the torso,
the blood goes down inside and the torso goes down to protect the organs,
but it goes down inside.
So we get more pale flesh in the face in the chest and the arms than say the forearms,
hands, and fingers, nose and ears.
Those can get quite red because the blood can come to the surface.
They don’t always get red, but they can get quite red, and so we’re going to push
our nose now in shadow and in light a little redder.
Then we’re going to drag that into the eye socket over here and the eye socket over here.
That eye socket over there is even a little darker.
You can see how it’s starting to ghost out our features.
There is the mouth here.
Now we’ve created a little bit of an architectural landscape to mound our features into.
We won’t go any further with this, but let’s just place our features there, just the accents
of the features in there.
And so now we have a sense of where Zorn was going, going towards for his rendering, we
start to build the strategy of that.
Notice here how we set up for eventual highlights if there are any.
In this case we have them here.
I put a little dab of white on there because the center of the forehead between the eyebrows
is showing that and it goes down the nose.
And so I wiped off most of that so I could now just drag what white I had on there, into
the surrounding values and get a little sense of that nose structure.
Here is a little cheek.
You can see then we’d go then to secondary forms—not cheek, chin—secondary forms
and start to pick up those smaller landscapes features on our big
topographic map basically here.
We never did get any of that brown in the background so put that in there.
You can see where we can ease into an idea.
Notice that if I want something to be less interesting, softening the edge does that
When we’re designing this, we have a little bit of jewelry in here, little jewels or some
such things in the hat.
We start adding those in.
It starts to get kind of dabby.
You have to be careful.
The reason I put those in, highlight of the nose, these little highlights of jewelry.
There is some stuff down here.
It’s going to be some kind of necklace, some such device laid
over the top of her outfit.
All that stuff we don’t look at when we’re designing the picture.
We’ll get these little dabs of jeweled light, whether it’s on the flesh or on the costuming
or in the environment.
We don’t look at that when we design.
We look at the big silhouette.
I’m going to look at this whole big chunk of coat minus those little things.
I’m going to look at this whole big chunk of face in light minus the little shadow shapes,
the little dark local color shifts for iris, pupil, and eyebrow, the little highlights
of the sweaty flesh, that kind of stuff.
I don’t look at that.
I look at the midrange half-tones.
Look at the, as light starts to turn to shadow, as light drops away from the light source.
Look in those areas.
Look in that midrange.
Not in the lightest, not in the darkest, the midrange.
Pick a color there.
When I pick a color I’m going to err towards the color of the light, which in this case
was a cool yellow.
And so we added quite a bit of yellow ochre into our paint.
It’s mainly a yellow-white, a dirty yellow-white flesh, and then we came back in and added
the blood, which was the life, it symbolizes that life, that it’s a living figure.
Put that blood in the cheeks, in the lips, in the nose and wherever else it’s appropriate.
We are able, every once in a while, to match quite closely the local color of some object
with our palette.
That’s an accident; that’s a lucky accident.
For the most part, we’re really depending on the local values to control this whole setup.
Then we’re just tinting the colors towards the relative cool, warm, green, purple, orange,
red, whatever it is.
We’re able to get in the ballpark, but it wasn’t the true sense of it, and it wasn’t
any real beautiful sense of color.
They are not ugly colors.
They have something in common.
They are basically all grays except for this.
We have a lot of gray-reds in the painting and even in the underpainting.
It sets up for that brighter red.
Everything gets along.
They harmonize bit it’s really 80% about the values, the light, the dark,
and the midrange through the shadows here.
That’s our three-value system.
When we render it we end up with three value ranges.
Remember, when you design your values, your colors, don’t look at the little jewel-like
highlights, don’t look at the little dark accents of shadows popping into the shapes,
the little scintillating darks and the likes, the scintillating lights in the dark, look
at the big silhouetted shape.
Choose one color, one value for that, and then move on.
As soon as you get rid of your tone canvas or your white canvas, then you can see whether
things are working.
Notice that my toned canvas sneaks through at times and is actually quite charming and
gives the color a little more beauty.
It activates that by having that warmth sneak through, in effect relate to the warms and
accent against and kind of energize the cools.
So we’ll stop there.
Next lesson we’ll more stuff some way or another.
I hope that helped and we’ll see you next time.
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1. Lesson Overview42sNow playing...
1. The indoor school palette13m 59sNow playing...
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2. Controlling your painting14m 39s
3. Structure of the figure15m 17s
4. Finalizing your painting9m 52s