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!
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!!!
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.
I just recently started painting from a computer monitor when working from a photo reference. I love to paint from life, but sometimes that’s not a option; or, I’ve started a painting from life and I want to work on it some more to complete it. That was the case here. I have gotten frustrated with trying to work from photo prints. First of all the ink is really expensive. And typically I have to do many prints to arrive at one that I’m happy with — right color, contrast, size, etc.
Here are the advantages to painting from a computer monitor as I see them:
It took some research to find the articulated arm to mount the monitor on. The next challenge was finding a way to mount the whole thing and make it flexible enough to take down if necessary. My husband came up with the brilliant idea to get a wooden ladder. It’s stable enough to handle the weight and it’s easy to take apart if need be.
The only other consideration I might mention is that I went with a cheap monitor to start out. To make sure this whole concept was going to work. It doesn’t have the greatest resolution particularly for color — especially compared to my Macbook’s resolution. So eventually I’ll probably upgrade to a better monitor. In the meantime I’ve found if I use my photo editing program I can boost the colors so that they look better on the big monitor.
Here’s the result from the painting you see in the photos.
I would say that my painting from a computer monitor experiment has been a success. Now I’ll be keeping my eye out for a monitor with better resolution. Happy painting!! All the best!!