paintings · portraits

Zorn Study with Soho Oil Paints

Zorn Palette Study w/ Soho Oil Paints

One of the things I like to do sometimes is to see how “low can I go”? I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean in price and affordability, not necessarily quality.

Soho Oil Colors, sold exclusively in the USA by Jerry’s Artarama and ASW (sister companies) is touted as an affordable student paint with a buttery consistency. I have tried several tubes because the prices can be soooo tempting. If you wait for a sale, you can get a large 170 mL tube for about $4-5 dollars!

But it’s a budget paint. They don’t promise artist-grade quality for that price. However, if you choose your colors carefully and mix with higher grade paints (Lukas Studio will do, as well as the ever-popular Winsor & Newton Artist Oil Colors, Old Holland, Blockx, and so forth) you can do pretty well.

For this little oil study, I thought I’d use several stronger colors from Soho and add a higher quality white. The colors I chose were:

  • Michael Harding Titanium White
  • Soho Light Red (an iron earth red/brown)
  • Soho Yellow Ochre
  • Soho Ivory Black

This is sometimes called the “Zorn Palette” because it uses a very limited palette consisting of an earth red/brown, an earth yellow, black, and white. A cool black (like Ivory) can almost create the illusion of a blue, if mixed right.

What I like about using this palette is that you can save a lot of money, use only a few colors, yet get a “full color” painting. This palette can work very well for portraits.


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