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Photos of Plein Air Painting at George Quay, Motueka – Zorn Palette

The day at George Quay couldn’t have been better for plein air painting. No wind and mild temperatures made a perfect day for painting outside. Lately I have been playing with the Zorn palette. Anders Zorn’s palette became very famous and consists of titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red and ivory black, which is a very limited selection. As you can imagine, the colours are not capable to represent the true colours of a landscape. The green mixed with ivory black and yellow ochre can appear olive-brownish and the blue mixed with ivory black and white is more grey than blue. While many artists accept the green, they have a real issue with the blue and introduce ultramarine blue to the selection for the blue sky and water. However, the point of using the Zorn palette en plein air is to step away from creating a true colour representation and focus on tonal values instead. What a freeing experience! It took me by surprise how much of a breeze the plein air paintings are when you don’t have to worry about colour and only look at tonal value. Now, I still try to get as close to the local colour as I can but knowing that the capability of my colour selection is very limited, I don’t fuss over it too much and have more of a “whatever” attitude. I love it. Does it mean that I will use the Zorn palette in my studio painting? I’m not sure, probably not. But it simplifies plein air painting.

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