Do you have a painting that you keep in the studio to work on whenever you have a few moments? I usually do. I know that I need a minimum of one hour to paint a small 6" x 6" panel and I don't always have an hour to spare. Usually I find myself with 20-30 minutes of time before I have to go to work or an exercise class or the store... whatever. Once in awhile I am just not tired enough to go to bed but I don't want to start something "new" late at night. When I have short blocks of time like this I turn to my 'back up painting'. This is usually an experimental piece that needs to be worked on in layers or a piece that has been sitting around for a long time and needs more 'interest'.
The past few weeks this piece has been Hannah, a 9" x 12" portrait piece that I initially started to explore the Anders Zorn palette. Zorn was a 19th century Swedish painter who became famous for his ability to create stunning alla prima portraits. It's said that he used a very limited palette of White, Yellow Ocher, Cadmium Red and Ivory Black. I've looked at a number of his portraits and I definitely see hues of green that would be impossible without a blue but I wanted to give it a try anyway.
Here is a painting of Grover Cleveland by Zorn and you can see he was a master of brushwork and gesture. Cleveland was a huge buy but Zorn somehow managed to position him in a manner that minimizes that fact.
Here is Hannah in the early stage of the painting when I used just the Zorn palette to bring her to life. I liked the warmth and natural color harmony of the piece but the photograph showed a green scarf and it was impossible to achieve that brighter hue of green without adding blue.