Using Colour in Portraits 2: Limited Palette – Online Course

Tuesday Evenings: 11th, 18th, 25th May & 1st June 2021

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Portrait Study of Kenny by Christopher Clements

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Learn the fundamentals of colour mixing for portrait painting.

To learn how to mix colour it is best to keep it simple, so on this course with Christopher Clements you’ll work with a palette consisting of just red, yellow and black mixed with white.

This palette is sometimes known as the ‘Zorn’ Palette after the 19th Century Swedish painter known for the incredible range and unity he achieved using very few colours.

The limited choice of colour helps you understand the basic ingredients of a palette and the role of each pigment. It is very helpful if you’re just getting started with colour or want to go back to basics to develop your existing knowledge.

The principles you’ll learn underpin all colour mixing and the practical colour mixing experience you’ll gain will give you a foundation for more advanced colour use.

The approach is designed to develop your painting in logical way by making one decision at a time, helping you to overcome problems while developing your technique.

You’ll look at the technicalities of oil paint, including layering, mediums and brushwork. What you’ll learn will be perfectly suited painting for your own enjoyment, making stand alone portrait sketches, studies for studio portraits or simply developing your knowledge of colour use.

Is this course for me?

This is an intermediate level course so some experience of drawing is recommended. The course will really suit you if you:

  • Have experience of drawing and want to learn to use paint
  • Have painting experience but want to improve your colour mixing
  • Are just looking for an enjoyable and informing portrait painting course

If you’ve already done a Northern Realist Portrait Drawing course, the Grisaille or the Warm & Cool Colour portrait courses, this is the ideal next step.

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Course Overview

Each week, Christopher will begin the session with an explanation and demonstration of what he’s going to cover. You’ll then work on your own painting using reference images sent to you, getting plenty of personal feedback as you progress.

You’ll look at drawing the head in paint, in particular proportion, orientation and construction of the head as well as compositional principles.

You’ll develop your portrait study in stages enabling you to concentrate on one concept at a time.

  • Paint a well structured head with accurately placed features
  • Learn to use a limited palette to mix skin tones
  • Create focus through brushwork and selective rendering of detail

By the end of the workshop you will have learnt how a limited colour palette works and how to use it to keep your colour clean, unified and lively. You will also have developed your painting technique and understanding of layering, mediums and brushwork.

Essential Info & Booking

Price :£120

Date: Tuesdays 11th, 18th & 25th May & 1st June 2021

Time: 18:30-21:00

Location: Online via Zoom

If you’d like to get some extra practice why not sign up to the Limited Palette Colour Mixing Workshop. You’ll explore the limited palette by doing exercises which complement this course.

Questions: Use Contact Form above right or visit the Contact Page or email

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