24 April, 2018. A couple days ago I mentioned that I planned to try out the Zorn Palette on a couple of these 4 x 3 inch gouache studies I’ve been plowing through for the 100 day creativity challenge. As of this writing, I’ve made a couple of attempts, the first of which is illustrated above.
The Zorn Palette is a limited paint group: Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, a mixing white, and Cadmium Red Medium. Well, just like when I cook it took me all of about two minutes before I changed the recipe. Instead of Cad Red (which I don’t happen to own a tube of in gouache), Scarlet Lake was substituted. It makes a difference when mixing with blue hues, but as you may notice there’s no blue in this color grouping. Ivory Black has cool characteristics and substitutes in a very restrained, but harmonious, way for the blue corner of the color triad. Mixed with Yellow Ochre, some nice greenish toned mixes are possible.
I like limited palettes and have experimented extensively with various versions of the triad. In watercolor, my kit usually has a cool and a warm blue, red, and yellow, with a green for mixing earth tones. Many of my friends have commented on how few colors I carry – so imagine a kit of only four opaque paints! I confess that it felt very discomforting trying to rethink the color organization of what I was observing, and translating those into the limited color range of the Zorn Palette.
But stepping back, allowing a little time to pass and a little distance from the painted image… I rather like the subtle color range.