Own Your Encore

My Encore Excursions


Choose a Color Scheme

One of the tasks in a watercolor class assignment this week includes selecting a ‘color scheme’. It seems like a simple task – thus the topic of Color Week 29.

Monet loved to use a limited palette. He achieved more luminescence by having to utilize more mixes rather than from a variety of colours. Typically he used just three colours, a warm and cool of each

These choices might replicate a warm/cool limited palette of Monet:

  • Lemon Yellow – Cool
  • New Gamboge – Warm
  • Pyrrol Scarlet – Warm
  • Alizarin Permanent – Cool
  • Ultramarine Blue – Warm
  • Cerulean Blue – Cool

Back to choosing a color scheme – there are so so many enticing watercolors for the palette. Winsor Newton offers 108, Daniel Smith 261 and it’s fun to select new colors for the palette, but a color scheme is limited!

Below are some examples of color schemes shown in sketches from classes I have taken over the past few years. Every instructor has a suggested palette with a limited selection of warm & cool colors, plus what I would call their ‘signature, go-to’ colors. From Stephanie Bower we learned to use Sap Green and Pyrrol Orange, Shari Blaukopf introduced me to Indanthrone Blue & Phthalo Green and Ian de Hoog’s birds eyes are enhanced by his very specific choices.

Here are some of my color scheme choices when plein air sketching… out on my own!

And my class work this week:

Drawn to Nature, lesson #4, w/ Jean MacKay

In January 2021 I started ‘Color Week’, a personal goal to weekly explore a color history or curiosity.


Vera Neumann Inspiration

Americans are likely familiar with the name Martha Stewart … But they might not recognize the name Vera Neumann a woman who was arguably an equivalent as one of the most successful female design entrepreneurs of the last century

Elle decor

ELLE decor ‘Vera Paints a Scarf’ exhibit

Here at Color Week 28 I like to think that diving deeper into the life and work of Vera has made my daily sketch routine richer, brighter and more experimental with color. Looking at her body of work, seeing the work of those who apprenticed with her, is inspiration indeed!

inspired sun
Watercolor sketch inspired by Vera butterfy / flowers


Vera Neumann Geometrics

My collection

Vera was encouraged to be artistic. Her father would pay her fifty cents to fill a sketchbook! She went to Cooper-Union and the Traphagen School of Design and gravitated toward textile design.

Design Sponge

Color Week 27 and we are exploring the ‘geometrics’ of Vera scarves. Vera used bold color and what better way to introduce innovative color combinations than in geometrics. Circles, triangles and swirls of color typified her geometric design scarves and in my opinion translate easily to the silk screen process which she used to print the scarves.

I read that Vera put a sun in each of her collections … something to look for!

This week I have sketched five of her bold geometric scarf designs. Trying to capture her energy and her esthetic. I think i like the blue with blue circles best.

Heres my sketch pad, it was fun!


Vera Neumann Inspired

For the month of July my weekly color posting will be inspired by Vera Neumann. She was simply known as Vera, her iconic name was on all her boldly-colored scarves and cheery home furnishings. You could often tell it was a Vera before seeing the name. There are many online sources for her history & identifying her vinage goods. I especially like this blog about collecting her scarves.

My plan is to explore her work and to use that inspiration for my daily sketch practice. Starting with her florals in this Color Week 26.

I get inspired from my garden. I can’t understand it when people say you can’t mix and match certain colors when, after all, nature itself puts them together in such beautiful ways

vera neumann

Vera put her interpretations of garden flowers on scarves, her early scarves were covered with somewhat traditional floral forms and later the florals became bright geometric forms. Vera made some of her earliest scarves using surplus parachute fabric, a leftover from WWII reference from Vera Textiles / Michalets

Personal scarf collection

I have used my own garden flowers and a small collection of floral scarves for sketching this week. Hoping to capture some of that wonderful ‘Vera floral style’ in my work.