Alla Prima Portraits using the Zorn Palette
3-day Workshop with Robin Wellner
August 8, 9, 10 2020- 9:30-4:30pm
$325, includes model fee
Florence Thomas Art School, West Jefferson, NC
$325, includes model fee
Florence Thomas Art School, West Jefferson, NC
Portraits are challenging — but so rewarding! Simplifying my palette to something that I know works, has given me freedom to focus on other details of my work. Anders Zorn’s limited palette gives me a beautiful range of skin tones and I’m virtually guaranteed color harmony in my painting.
I’m offering a three day workshop on this palette and other aspects of portraiture October 6, 7 and 8th, 2017 at the ClearWater Artist Studios in Concord, NC. We will start each morning with instruction and a demo, painting the model “alla prima” (wet-on-wet) from life. After lunch, you will all have the opportunity to paint the model with lots of one-on-one instruction and gentle critiquing. We will focus on color, values, specifics on facial features, painting shapes rather than lines and learning to measure for an accurate likeness. There is nothing like painting from life! Even if you choose to paint from photos in the future, painting from life will give you valuable information that will help you in that work.
ClearWater Studios offers a beautiful space in Concord, NC for this workshop. Once you register, I will send you a list of supplies and your first assignment! Yes, I’m giving you homework! You’ll come to the workshop prepared and already on the road to mastering some aspects of the Zorn palette.
Advanced registration is required. Spaces are limited to make sure you get plenty of one-on-one instruction. Supply list and additional information will be sent upon registration. Tuition will be refunded if cancellation is done 30 days before the workshop. If for any reason the workshop is cancelled all tuition will be refunded.
I hope you’ll join us! Please feel free to email me with questions or for more information.
Registration below or on my “Teaching/Workshop” page.
This is me at the Portrait Paint Off trying to complete a painting in an hour and 45 minutes. Clearwater Artists Studios, in Concord, host an annual portrait paint off with five selected painters. The whole event is 3 hours — with wonderful baked goods and baskets of goodies to be raffled off. For the last two hours, we paint, with an audience of about 150 people. They were wonderful supportive and didn’t ask too many questions. Which is a good thing, since I tend to switch off the talking part of my brain once I start painting. I love the opportunity to paint with other painters. Gordon James, Barbara Ellis, Isaac Payne and Mark Stephenson were the other featured painters. It’s such a delight to see how everyone handles the same model in a completely different and wonderful way!
This is an iPhone shot of the final painting. I started with my Zorn palette, but introduced some other colors because of her dress. We had another row of painters who could set up behind us, so we had a full house of painters and audience.
Grateful to Sarah Gay and Clearwater Artists Studios for the opportunity!! Painting with the clock ticking is a good practice I think!
I am a part of a wonderful little group of artists who paint together every week from life. Today our model “no showed” so Todd – one of our amazing artists – agreed to model. This is from a 3-hour session, painted with the Zorn Palette.
The Zorn palette has become my go to palette. It’s so much easier to only have four colors out, and I feel like if Anders Zorn liked it, I’m good with it!! I’m starting to use my palette knife a bit more in places. All those daily paintings using the knife has made me so much more comfortable with it.
Looking forward to teaching another Zorn class. I’m waiting for the doctors to give us a gameplan for getting my husband well before I feel confident to put it on the calendar. Hoping to teach a beginners oil class as well — and maybe a palette knife class. I’m really enjoying teaching!
All the best!!!
Thursday are my day to paint portraits from life — and because of that one of my most favorite days! I paint with three other artist friends and share a model. Three hour sessions – 20 minutes of posing and 5 minutes of break for three hours. Today we painted Theresa — one of my favorite models. She’s great at holding a pose and has a beautiful, regal face.
I used my Zorn palette again. I like this limited palette since we arenon a tight time frame. It gives some good fleshtones, although I waver about incorporating more transparent colors. So I tend to go back and forth between palette choices.
Today some of my stress is finally going to be relieved because the health insurance company finally approved some of the tests for my husband. Yay! So grateful!! Hopefully these tests will tell us why he’s been in an out of pain everyday for over three months!
Tomorrow I’ll go back to my knife and still lifes or maybe plein air. But Day 19 is complete!!!
All the best to you and yours!
Grateful to be back painting with my portrait group for Day 5 of my daily painting. We have a small group who paint together every week and share the costs of a model. It’s my favorite thing to do!! I love painting people from life!
First of all I love people and then of course I love to paint, so it’s the perfect combo. So this is my daily painting for Day 5 of the Strada Easel Challenge and the 30 in 30 challenge. See you tomorrow!!!
Thank you Jim Brock for your patience with me— taking pictures and posing while I tried to do you justice! I’ve had so much fun with this piece. I was not worried about doing a “likeness” – although I think it does look like him. It is part of my “Musician Series” that I am slowly putting together. Mapped out with a brush and finished completely with knife — using only four colors!
The Zorn palette has been my go-to palette lately for portraits. I’m constantly amazed at the range I can get with only four colors – especially since two of them are black and white!!! It’s quite freeing to limit my choices. For those of you who are interested I’m using yellow ochre, Cadmium red medium, Mars black and Titanium white. And for those of you who are really interested, I’ll be teaching a class on painting the portrait from life using the Zorn palette. It starts on September 12 as a six week class. It will be a small class — maximum 6 people. Right now I have 3 spots left. Please let me know if you’d like more information.
I worked from photographs in “Percussion”. I had to pull the hands from two different photos to get a composition that I was happy with. Because of the knifing, there’s quite a bit of texture on this piece – which doesn’t register very well in the reproduction. There are broken edges throughout the painting, but I wanted the emphasis on the broken edges around his hands to bring your eyes there. Hoping that it will also give you a sense of the amazing energy that comes when Jim Brock plays percussion. He’s quite amazing! And sometimes it’s not just drums — it’s an assortment of percussion pieces—some are designed for that purpose and some are incorporated through Jim’s incredible creativity. I’m hoping to reach a level of mastery that Mr. Brock brings to his music in my painting one of these days.
Painting the energy of the music, rhythm and the people is my goal with “Percussion” and my musician series. Hoping they will push some visual energy into the rooms they occupy while the music keeps playing….
What a treat it was to paint sisters! I completed this commission for two sisters, Desi and Willa – at the request of their parents. They both recently achieved some major milestones in their lives by completing their master’s degrees, so Tom and Reba (their parents) decided a great way to celebrate was having their portraits painted. I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of this!
The first step in the whole process is a discussion of what kind of portrait you would like. If you look at my paintings, some of them are a bit looser and some are more refined. Are you looking for a casual or more formal look? Will it be a head and shoulders; or part, or all of the body? Loose abstract background or more details? Inside or outside? Do you want your dog in the painting? You can see there are lots of possibilities. Once the initial decision about direction has been made, the actual process begins.
My process (for now) has been to ask for 3-4 hours initially with the subject I’ll be painting. I take tons of photos, so that we can find some that seem to suit the person I’m painting. Then I spend some time doing a head study to record that person’s coloring in paint. Photographs are not the same as real life. Ideally, it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to paint the entire portrait from life, but there are few folks who are willing to take the time for that.
At that point, sometimes I will do a small, quick study for the client of the painting concept. Otherwise, I will begin the actual painting, using a combination of photographs and my study from life. I have recorded color notes in paint that will help me “translate” the photographs. Once I feel that the painting is complete, I will arrange for the client to view that painting, either in person or by photographs. This is an opportunity for the client to make adjustments. There are details that are important to the client that I may not be aware of — so this is an opportunity to make sure I have addressed those.
Portraits become heirlooms that are passed down in families — reminders of the people in our lives who are the most special to us. I am grateful for the opportunity to play a part in this process. There is something special and magical about painting someone. Hopefully a bit of their “soul” comes through in the process.
Recently had the opportunity to paint one of my favorite people – Hanah – from life. I love our little painting group. We hire a model virtually every week and paint from life. We paint for three hours – 20 minutes then hopefully a 5 minute break if we don’t get too chatty. It is probably one of the best things I’ve done for my learning in painting. Seeing those colors in people’s faces that you only see from real life. Photos just don’t do it! And I know I’m prejudiced, but to me there is something magical about capturing someone on canvas. Someone described it as “capturing their soul”. Don’t know if I’d go that far, but I still think it’s special.
In addition to the wondrous opportunity to paint from life, there is a wonderful camaraderie between our little group of painters. We share our latest tricks, gadgets and ideas. We critique each other’s paintings — always with kind intentions — because we are there to grow and learn. And sometimes we just can’t see where we’re off. It’s so helpful to get that feedback. It seems we all have areas that we are blind to. For instance, I invariably make everyone’s chins too short.
Sometimes I’ll take these back and complete them with the photo I take. In Hanah’s case, I have not done anything additional. Haven’t decided yet whether I will. Sometimes I like the freshness of the painting, even if everything is not perfect.
The last few sessions, I’ve been experimenting with the Zorn palette: yellow ochre, cadmium red medium and Mars black – and white of course. I love it! With this piece of Hanah, I did add a little Ultramarine Blue to get that color in her shirt. I recently completed a much large painting – 30×40- completely with the Zorn palette — I will show you that soon.
Should any of you be so inclined, please let me know if you’d like to model. We’re always looking for new faces! We provide chocolate, coffee and friendly conversation — as well as payment of course!
Thank you Hanah for allowing us to paint you from life!!! It was an honor and a privilege!
I had the lovely opportunity to have a one woman art show at Free Range Brewery here in Charlotte,NC. The brewery is owned by some folks who love art, and happily are providing an opportunity for local artists. The show runs from February 1 to March 14th, and combines portraits and plein air pieces. There’s great wall space and lighting. Sarah, one of the owners, has an art background and gallery experience— so a great eye! She chose the pieces and hung the show. Thank you Sarah!!
The beer was wonderful! I normally am a wine drinker, but discovered I really like their stout made from oysters! Who knew!!! The selections also include many other beers, cider, kombucha, soda and coffee. The brewery is family friendly as well. We had a crowd —- thanks to my incredible group of friends —- and happily we sold three pieces that night!!
Here’s Michael and I enjoying friends and brew. Don’t know what I would do without him. He’s so supportive of my art obsession. He also has a great eye, so I frequently get his feedback on paintings. It’s always spot on!
Thank you to all the lovely people who joined me that evening! Hope any of you who might be interested will take some time to see the show and taste some of the great beer and other selections at Free Range. http://www.freerangebrewing.com
Happy February and happy painting!!