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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Summer 18 > The extended oil palette portrait

The extended oil palette portrait

Ann Witheridge discusses how, having mastered the limited (Zorn) palette, the next step is to move on to add more colours, including secondary colour. Or, as Archie Wardlaw explains, you could simply add temperature choices to your primary colours


Portraiture more than any other subject requires the greatest attention to drawing and the relationship of shapes. To achieve the likeness of a sitter our drawing skills have to be honed to the millimeter. There is so much to learn about shapes, values and a limited palette in order to achieve a likeness.

Once the foundation of drawing and values is established, you can afford to play a lot more with colours. Indeed, if the shapes and values are down, you can be much more liberal and experimental with colour. A favourite art adage of mine is ‘values do all the work, and colour gets all the credit’. An image without colour can work and, as I showed in my previous article, even by using just four colours you can still achieve so much.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our summer issue in which our team of top professional artists and tutors offer a sparkling range of inspirational features to help you create your best work over the summer months. Capture the sparkle of silver light on water with Chris Rose, enliven your watercolours with moving figures with Jake Winkle, use contre-jour for dramatic effect with Jo Quigley, paint spring and summer trees in watercolour with Ian Sidaway, or a coastal scene in acrylics with Paul Talbot-Greaves. Julie Collins goes back to basics with a look at colour theory and pigments, Ann Witheridge suggests using an extended palette for portraits, Amanda Hyatt offers a variety of tricks to help you produce better watercolours and there is a host of exercises to try throughout the issue. All this and much more, plus don't forget to enter this month's summer sketching challenge set by Adebanji Alade on page 46, for a chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on art materials with GreatArt!