Oil Painting - Learn the Zorn Limited Color Palette | Walt Reunamo | Skillshare

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Oil Painting - Learn the Zorn Limited Color Palette

teacher avatar Walt Reunamo, Art Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Who Was Anders Zorn?


    • 3.

      The Zorn Palette Explained


    • 4.

      Why Use The Zorn Palette?


    • 5.

      How To Mix The Palette


    • 6.

      Introduction To Payne's Grey


    • 7.

      Black Paint Comparison


    • 8.

      My Template Palette


    • 9.

      Portrait Painting Demo


    • 10.

      Closing Words


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About This Class

Join Waltteri Reunamo for an inspiring 45-minute-class on learning how to use the world-famous Zorn limited color palette for your paintings and sketches. Works with oils, gouache or acrylics! The Zorn Palette is one of the best ways to learn how to paint realistic skin tones for portrait and figure paintings. It is used all around the world by portrait and figure painters with different skill levels, from beginners to professionals.

Did you like this class? I'd appreciate it a lot if you could leave a review!  Thanks! It helps other students like yourself find me :-)

What You'll Learn

  • What makes Zorn Palette so great for beginners. I will explain why every beginner painter should use the Zorn Palette for their portraits and figure paintings.
  • How to mix the Zorn Palette colors. We will mix all the colors possible with the palette.
  • Demo Painting with commentary.  See how the palette is used in actual painting and get insightful tips!
  • Your First Zorn palette painting. By finishing the course project, you will have your first Zorn Palette painting done!

Continue your learning with my additional courses:

Meet Your Teacher

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Walt Reunamo

Art Instructor


Hey everyone!

My name is Walt Reunamo and I'm a artist and art teacher living and working in Finland. I have been doing art for the past decade and taught online over 2000+ students in more than 100 countries. I have also worked as an artist in the videogames industry for 10+ years in award-winning titles.

Outside of art-related fun, I enjoy spending time with my crazy Bengal cat, experiencing the short but sweet summers of Finland, photographing, watching movies, and hitting the gym. I'm also a book junkie.. I do buy more art books than I probably should!


I would love it if you could follow me here by clicking the "Follow" button on the left.

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1. Introduction: Hello. My name is about that. You know, I'm a painter and instructor living in Helsinki, Finland. Today you will learn how to use disarm palate to make an amazing oil paintings in an easy and affordable way. I assure you how you can use only four tubes of paint. Make disharmonious fella colors on what you're going to be. I have also recorded a demo off a sketch show. How to use the sword palette on actual painting process after finishing discourse will not only have a solid understanding how to use the sword to make a beautiful portrait spendings . But you will also finish your first depending don't with the storm. This is amazing opportunity to learn color, harmony inventing. So I hope to see you all in the course. 2. Who Was Anders Zorn?: so that's speaking by looking at what song palate is on. What is the history behind it? The storm palette gets its name from the famous really spender. Sculptor and nature under store was born 18th of February 18 60 in More on died at the age of 60 22nd off August 1920 in Stockholm, Sweden. Joan Spending subjects included mostly off portrait paintings, commissioned portrait paintings and new female figure of endings. But he also often painted this release countryside, and it's common People during his lifetime zone established himself as internationally acclaimed portrait Bender and he paint it's optics as three American presidents on this release. King and Queen and other members off the High Society Off The Day on Your Sword was a generous and kind man who loved life. His bathing style was energetic and lose quite similar as to style of other contemporaries off his time, such as John Singer starts and 3. The Zorn Palette Explained: understory you stuff than a color palette limited to only four colors for his portrait and picker paintings. And this is where the Zorn ballot gets its name. From it is often are Kyoto that he used more colors than the four colors, and in some of his paintings there is evidence to support that. But such arguments is the whole point of the limited palate. All those are unused, more colors. When it was necessary, he tried to limit the palate toe only the four colors as much as possible. Therefore, the sole ballot is not a strict guidelines to be followed by the way off working. So what are the four color hues in disorder about it? They are writ yellow, light and black. The exact use corn is said to be used, uh, are yellow ochre or titanium white, ivory, black and vermillion. On the huge that I use are cadmium red, light yellow over Daniel White, ivory five or black. Now, as you can see, the exact you've that you use don't matter that much. But the idea behind it does, so the palate consists off order all the primary colors that is red, yellow, blue but because we don't have blue paint that we use view of the ivory black ass applause when you mix it with white, it gives our bluest Inc so in sort of about it their ivory black access, our primary goal or blue. And from these primary colors, we can mix the secondary colors orange green on a purple. I think there's a two ways are this can use the door. The first is our streaked away where you use that read yellow, black and white. I don't mix all the colors on. The second way is where you put some additional blue into the black so you can have more vibrant secondary color mixes. So the range of secondary colors you can achieve with the parrot depends on how much blue you use. Toe makes that your colors with the strict way of fainting your greens, purples and blues will be quite dollar almost non existent. But we if you had a traditional floor to make that huge, you will have more vibrant colors. Either way, it's not the right or wrong way Toe meets the sore invalid. It just depends on what you want to achieve with it. I recommend, actually, toe try out both ways so you can see which one do you like more 4. Why Use The Zorn Palette?: No, let's look why it would be great idea to start using Zorn. But if you're a speaker, bender, portrait painter or just an art student, it's my least off. Five things that I think makes tourmalet so awesome. Number one. Cool or harmony? Because we mix the secondary color from only three different hues, the colors mixed together very easily. This makes it easy toe make paintings that that have colors that harmonize and look together nice. Usually when painting with very large amount of different different tubes tubes off color, it's easy to make paintings that has colors that I really don't seem toe act together nicely, and it's all about. It is good for avoiding this because because the colors are not too bright to begin with, so they work together really nicely. Number three. It's affordable. You only need four different tubes of paint toe brain with this orange there black, white rent and yellow. And if you want, you can add one more tube under these blue. If you want toe makes stronger secondary colors or make a stronger blue. We are going back. Number three, perfect for learning. There's no palate is perfect for learning how to make scholars. It's small and simple palette, but with that, you can make all the different skin colors you need because you don't need to spend ourselves laying down Are ready complex palate you can just focus on on the actual painting process. Number four. It's versatile. Certain pilot is great for quick sketches and practising, but it's also capable for more serious work shots. As thes portrayed, spending's off mine you can use destroyed by that man traveling, going to workshops or, um, painting from life. Because we only have, like four or five tubes of paint, it's easy to carry around and use number five. It's really fun to experiment it. Try adding the blue into the black so you're gonna make stronger secondary colors. Or try using Golder, Ritz and yellows such as lemon yellow and see how it affects the whole painting. Or you can try to limit yourself off using only one color. Maybe on the painting. Uh, what's this red? So it's so you're painting will be leaning really the words red on only using small amounts off, but there are a few just have fun with depending on trying out different things and different colors and see how they work together. That is the best way to learn how to use the sword, but 5. How To Mix The Palette: okay. No one's going to show you how you can mix all the colors you need for this orange about it . Right. So here I start by, I'm just scraping the ballot to make it clean and ready for painting. All ready for mixing. Um, remember the Bhutan plenty off bank down for your mixing, because you're you will use quite a lot on. And here I have my mixing knife and ah, paper towel. That's all you need for the mixing on die. I start with the, um, writ writ, um, values first. So I just put up down a bit of white. Um and, uh, I'm gonna do a only five values, Not not too many. Just keep it simple. And when you're painting, you don't need that many different values anyways because you will just makes the paint on and make new new Blanton. Um, just having too many values. Really? I think make make the whole painting, bro. Sis, too difficult. What is? The video has been sped up a bit, so I'm not actually meeting this fast, but, uh, so here I'm doing the darkest read eso. It's putting quite a bit off our black in the into the red Make it the darkest value. Not not black, black, but really dark red. And this can be used for shadow areas for, like, warm shadows. He is the second darkest thread. Um, putting more more off that got to me and red, uh, into the mix. Make it lighter A bit more. Um, are in the middle. We have t, um the red straight from the tube. So that's the brightest red you can get by color. Intensity, I mean, And don't make that white. Why this read too white. It should be really, really light pink. Now I'm continuing to Thea yellow, I think, Yeah, in the middle. Like, um again. But there the yellow from straight from the tube. And that will be our most pigment. That yellow in the in the scale. And here's the target still. Oh, and as you can see, when I bought the ivory Black in the day mix of yellow, it would turn green because the ivory black has that bluish tending it. It will during the darkest yellow to green. And this will are also served as the green in our palate. Big, lighter, yellow again I didn't. Just more yellow ogre on meet less black. I want to make that, um that much like a middle ground between the between that color straight from the tube and the darkest. You know, on, um, when you're mixing these colors, don't overthink hope How precise you have to be just you're just eyeball there. I bought the colors and don't don't overthink too much because it's not exact science. How you need to make this. You just want to have, like, a pretty good preservation between the colors, so you don't have, like, two to same values. Um, by that I said earlier, you will. From this you will makes more detailed colors for the for the scheme. So, um, they don't have to be exact exactly. Perfect mixes. All right, here. I'm, um, adding the blue but the palace. So just to add a bit of flow into the mix to make the, um I think purple color that's gonna gonna come next. Um so the purple will be a bit stronger. So just adding a bit off blue into the black on a tiny bit of white to make it a bit lighter. Not to have it completely dark. A bit more white. Make it a bit lighter. Eso this is, um it is it is the blue makes not not purple. I think the purple is gonna come next, making a bit darker and because we can put relate that blow straight from the tube into the middle. I'm gonna make it a bit lighter, just not to have it too dark, because the blue straight from the group to this really dark. So, um, I'm gonna make it lighter, lighter blue, - and I just adding more, more white Lewis, quite, uh, powerful colors. You have to at quite a bit of white. If you if you have a blue speak meant in then in the mix and your wife makes and no is the purple horrible make. So I'm gonna add Brett straightening of the blue, - and I'm just adding white. Why? To make that, uh, mixed lighter on continuing to the next much and just adding white to them to the red red piles and and adding the PLO. You don't have to think. Think about it too much. And if it's too dark than you, then you're gonna move that That color that darker Piland. If it's too light, you can more to the lighter file. And here I'm almost done with that. All the colors just mixing the the lightest purple. Make sure it's really well mixed, making the lightest purple bit more lie there. So and there we have that we have all the colors we need their the reds. We have the yellows on, although the greens in the same on, then we have the blue and the purples. 6. Introduction To Payne's Grey: right. Hello. Uh, I wanted to make a new, uh, chapter about the this paint Payne's gray. Uh, I bought this while ago, and I wanted to test it out for replacing the black in the in the Zorn ballot with this because it's supposed to be really more like bluish black done than other blacks. And also as well as the name suggests, it's It's a gray, not not black, but from straight from the tube. It's really, really dark a star Gesu need for this arm about it. So all in all, I think it is it absolutely fantastic for this or palate. I tested it out, and it's really, really blew it show it really gives the nice secondary colors for the palate, and also it's not completely dark. So, um, it doesn't go as black as other blacks. So it's a on. You really need that for that? For this or about it, you don't really want to goto extremely dark values, so I I would highly recommend this Payne's gray uh, don't replace the black in the storm ballot. If you can find this from from your art store and that eso the bank rate is, it's less intense than other blacks, and it's really easier. The match. Our Yeah, it's really easier the mix to the right shade when using it as a mixer, um, comparing to the other blacks and if that's originally a mixture off Iran blue roast at Brochin, flu, yellow, okra and Kareem some lake. And now it's often mixture off blue. No. So with criminal from Marine on Black or Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. And the name comes from, uh, that really, um, pain, the pain there who painted with watercolors in the late 18th century. So I think, No, we could make a small fist you could compare. It is Payne's gray to the other blacks and see how it how it like compares to those blacks . Right, let's get start. So these are the change that I'm going toe test out. So we have ah, lamp black for what we have seen. Quite then, we have ah, Ivory Black on the last one is, of course, the pain square. So let's justice different. Different blacks out with different values and see how they compare which one gets the most bluish on the bluish is the one that we want to use with his own ballot, because from that, we can get the best colors and the greatest secondary, uh, colors. All right, let's get started. - As you can see that. Ah, the pain is grace. Straight from the dupe. It looks like exactly as black as old, all the other black, So it's really dark, all right. 7. Black Paint Comparison: Ah, here. I'm gonna know Mark down. Like which. Ah, black goes where? So first vehicle. Uh, first they put the lamp like here. Then I worry on. The last one is in. Think right now, the first test is straight from the UK, so that's blackest. It gets. All right. So here's the test results. And yes, you can see the the bank bank, Great Baines. Graze really much like bluer than the other lamp on ivory, Ivory, black. You can really see the see if the, um, the bluish tint on it. It's much stronger. And in the Ivorian or lamp like so I would really, really recommend using using the Paynes grey as the black in In in Zorn palette. I think it really improves the ballot and, um, really, like, feats in the into the ballot. Uh, and I definitely will start yours using that bane been great in the ballot also maybe like generally in all kinds of paintings, uh, rather than that ivory or lamp they have they use is also the lamp and never back. They're not bad as as blacks, but if you want to have toe the color color in the black bluest into thin depends Grace. Just perfect for that. And your example. You can see one under bending. I've been doing still working progress, but, uh, I did it with Rita. Uh, with the pain pains gray on, it has to blue ish bluish tint on it. I'm It's a really nice nice, nice, nice substitute for black. So all in all, highly recommended to paints. Gray. I hope this was helpful. And, um, that see you in the next chapter. 8. My Template Palette: So you probably wondered about this template that I have on what I use it for. I made this template. Um, first of all, to learn, I'll go makes the complete set off shore palette. And second off, I know that I have it ready. I can use this as a template when I mix this or about it again. So I only need toe match. My color makes a sweet They already made, um, squares. And I have the whole Zoran ballots ready. I I bought this photo frames from logo cheap store. There are only a few bucks, and it has a class panel on top and wooden frames. And I took that paper from the back off, and I I taped the different off the panel so that I had only the squares visible. And then I pain that the squares and I let it try completely for a few weeks. And then I took the their day off, and after that, I just inserted that it back to the French. And no, I have a ready templates that I can use for my future bandage. If you want to make thesis palette for yourself, you don't necessarily have to make as many different values that I have here. Yes, you can see I have 10 different 10 different values for each color I have. Decide the liner values on, decide their darker about use. And, um, you don't need that many when you're painting. Actually, you would do quite well. Just tweet five different values. I think so. Even if you want to do more simpler about it. Template ballot just five values for each color would be enough. 9. Portrait Painting Demo: Okay, here we go. So did just that demo for Soren Planet painting. Uh, and I'm going toe paint here up. Ah, portrayed off the man himself under a sword. You can see my palate. I simply have just some basic skin tone colors laid out. And no, I'm going to start growing there. The layout off the off the head. Fine. Tryingto, um I'm trying toe get the basic, um, scale or size of the head down on the canvas right from the beginning. So I don't run up in any, uh, errors on that art later. And the video, of course, sped up. So, um, I think this took about two hours. The sketch and they just condensed into 20 minutes. Video? Yeah, I'm growing a bit more. Just trying to get there. Position off the eyes and the lips and the mustache to their right place. Just giving the say shapes. Very simple land, not going toe. Too much detail. I'm also trying toe. Look where the shadow areas in the face are. Andi. Later you will see how I used these put on, put down their darkest darks There I'm painting the eye sockets and the whole area. It's good to get the ice no drawn really well in the beginning because their eyes are really important in portrait painting. But the whole, uh, first, that they still just get the drawing. Correct? I don't really. I worry about the painting in the stage at all. I just want to the drawing off the face and the A proportions, the location off the different parts, like northen lips and ice. Um, and this idol shapes before I start to put on the color and the color that you're used to draw. That this first drawing it doesn't really matter that much that you probably want to have it quite, um, warm, warm and maybe a bit lighter told so you can darken it later. You're on fixing some mistake I made on that cheek, so I just erased it. Would it would be, uh I mean, she'd oil on the cheek and rubbed it with the brush. So it came off. No, I'm putting our bending the cheek again, so just making a get up with better fixing some of the most Algeria. Just take your diamond, fix the area, see if you see some. Um there are sonic because you don't want toe later Fix the actual painting. So don't hurry this stage on here. I'm laying down the first color in I'm putting some rid on the jacket area just to start off somewhere, say, and not straight on the on the face, Um, - here on building down the darkest shadows, as I mentioned earlier. So it's just very fairly large breasts. I'm going through the main shadow areas and not putting down this really brown are reddish uh, Brown. It's not black, although it might seem like it, but it's not completed back. It's quite quite some war Dark Rome, I think. Next I'm going to put some background Oh, Oh, I'm well, think some some off the surrounding skin colors in my next of the darker, darkest those just slowly building up there. Darker values. Uh, I think there I met a small mistake by putting darkest or the dark brown on the cheek. It's OK and think about the bathing. Um, more just putting down color nose off different values. Don't think about us as if you are painting ah specific feature or area, like knows our I. This helps you focusing on just there, the caller said. Values come small, it slowly moving toe lighter values. Yes, a bit of like lighter pink being done. I'm plucking, plucking thes scholars in fairly large large about masses in the States. It's good toe, not total to watch on a small details. Just put on large, large color masses. Don't you can do the details later and just make sure that the colors and values are coric here. I'm no putting down some some of the background color just to establish them the darkness of the back around So I can I can compare Camembert them the dark back around to the skin color. Um, I'm just gonna see when when I put down the dark background there that skin values start to look lighter tryto thank a bit over there borders off what you android is because if you try to go along, too, if you try to go too close to them, whatever you you're drawing lines, then you end up having these gaps in your painting that showed that that the white off the can was true and that we look look really ugly. So, uh, rather than doing that trip. Spain's over there. Whatever. You are fading a bit to a boy. Yes, this, um, lightest, uh, more like their tones. They're highlights of the nose and, um, forehead. I'm using that light tones it like to sculpt their, then diff through the face. I'm using the light lighter tones toe like to bring out the forms off the face. I'm basically just tryingto blocking all that. All the colors are all the values, and they're trying to get rid of their off the canvas white. They they take your time with mixing the colors. It's really important to get the colors and the values right. Don't try to rush it. I'm doing the year because here is the really important part of the pork, right. If you don't need to paint it into too much detail, just have the main shape off the year. Correct. I'm looking into hair. This there's, um, gray, and there's brown and yellow also in the hair. So even though you might think that the hair is just thrown brownish hair or or similar, um, or other color, it's really are a collection of different colors. So depending on where the highlight is and where the shadows are. There's a lot of different colors that can be seen, and there you can do. This kind of paintings from other painters works also, and it's a really, really good good practice to do with this kind of master studies every once in a while, That way you can copy the masters and learn how they paint it, trying to make that. I'm trying to make them the hair quite soft looking. So trying to get rid up there, check it. It just Here's a bit closer view off the pending I'm starting. I think I moved to a smaller for us now, so I'm starting to block this idea. There's in and refining the shadow shapes using, um, I bat, I bet bro, as a reference. I have my image there. Um, you can use whatever if you have ah, tablet or or laptop or PC or or even just bring about the image. It doesn't really matter. But if you look from the screen or a laptop or or my body, um, the image will be quite a bit brighter than if you bring it out. So no may see color speak better. But for this for this study, it doesn't really matter that much. Putting down I'm or D That shadow shapes. Um, going through the eye area slowly trying to make those was perfect as I can. As I said, the eyes are really important on portray its so you don't want to. I mean, I'm doing some details on the nose trying to model it at the shape off the knows to be right. Painting a portrait Painting like this takes quite a lot off practice on dumb Ah, and especially at drawing skills. So you need to, uh, practice your growing quite a lot on with this study. When you do it, don't try to aim for the exact lightness. Just try toe. Get a feel for it, huh? How it feels to paint with the storm palette. And, um, I just tried toe learn how to match the colors that you see in the reference photo, but the colors that you put down on the painting there's some readiness with leaps. It's probably a feat to read. No on the Egyptian. I might, with some some white on it later. No, I'm adding some highlights on the on the islands just to give that, um, give them a more form. You know, I'm giving some highlight under on the lips. - I'm making that the shoreline up more rounder toe about the form. A bit more display. Ending out some edges here and there, trying to make it look more us off there. No, I'm giving it some reflective light on there on the bottom. Off that off the gene. - Now , I'm using fairly good amount off paint when I paint this kind off. Um Alla prima paintings. So when you when you mix your paints, make sure you makes a good amount of pants you don't want to double with with a small amount of pain, because, um, it's really slow, slow way of working. And you will find menu when you practice enough that using a lot of paint makes the banking protest much easier. No, I'm going through that shadow areas again and putting don't don't even darker darks. It's just to enhance their death more with this that you want to be really careful that you don't ruin the picture with too dark, uh or too much on a black port. Dark dog, same thing with highlights, and I'm starting to put their like this lights just a tiny bits of our highlights here in there. I really want to avoid using too much white because that that will make your painting look Charlie key. And, uh, you won't really see that highlights that much If you if you use too much white because they don't stand out any more, it's your bits off camera. But I'm making the, um, or bathing the shirt the watcher area and check it. And there it is. They're already Zorn. Master study painting. I hope you will have fun with this painting. And I'm really looking forward to seeing your paintings in the in the project in the course project. Thank you. 10. Closing Words: As you can see, the storm, pal, it is very easy to learn, but powerful palette or figure and portrait paintings. I hope this was this inspirational for you as but for me. And I hope it has helped you with your painting. Now remember the keep practicing on experimenting with that storm about it and I will promise you it will help you in the long run thescore force the first that I have ever done . So I would love to hear some feedback from you. What did you like? And what could be improved? So I know what we improved or my future courses. You can do this by off course, giving discourse a review or by commenting toe community section. So thanks for watching and have a baby.