The Zorn Limited Palette

Zorn Palette

The Zorn Palette (named after Swedish painter Anders Zorn) consists of using only four colors in the palette. Although it is attributed to Anders Zorn, there is evidence that the limited palette has been around since the 4th century and also know as the Appelles Palette.

Benefits of Using Limited Palette:

  • It forces you to concentrate on tonal value that helps you to understand lights and darks, highlights and shadows.
  • Economical because you use less paint.
  • Achieving a harmonious color balance is easier and the colors blend together well.
  • Gives you lots of color mixing practice.

Although Anders Zorn used Ivory Black, Titanium White, Cad Red (or Vermillion) and Yellow Ochre, you can mix any four colors that make various harmonious tones or shades. Below is a painting I did using Titanium White, Paynes Gray, Carbon Black, and a tiny bit of Yellow Ocher for the green.

A winter walk through the snow laden bush