Own Your Encore

My Encore Excursions

Vivid Colors

Color Week 38 explores what makes fall colors and foliage appear so vivid and bold.

From Artist Ridge

The ‘warm’ colors of fall foliage [ Yellow. Crimson. Orange] are cast against the complementary ‘cool’ blue of the sky and mountains. It’s the basic color wheel at work, the colors are opposite each other [Blue & Orange for example] . The atmospheric blues are especially blue in fall because the sun is lower in the sky and less humidity makes the air more clear.

This collection of photos/sketches are the result of picking the perfect day to visit Mt Baker Area trails in Washington state. The scene was majestic and the colors vivid.

Here is my palette of colors and an explorers sketch of the visit.

1 Comment

Frog Visit


A visit to my garden by a frog is the inspiration for Color Week 37. My frog was brownish and appears to be a pacific tree frog. [reference USFW]

Seeing the Frog reminded me of my Wedgewood reproduction Queen’s ware ‘Frog’ service plate.

And as luck would have it I listened to a V&A online talk about Josiah Wedgwood [linked below] where the commission of the Frog service by Catherine II of Russia / Catherine the Great is discussed.

Online Talk: Josiah Wedgewood

Watch starting at 40 minutes for a brief description of the “Frog” service

V & A

What color is it? We are here because we are curious about color- the color of my frog visitor and the color of Catherine’s frog service – which are very similar. Here is a chart of browns…

Daniel Smith chart
  • The V&A refers to the plate as ‘painted in monochrome brown’
  • Christies auction house refers to the color of an ‘original’ plate as ‘painted in sepia tones (‘delicate black’) ‘
  • Here is Daniel Smith SEPIA the best watercolor match on my palette

Sepia watercolors, Queen’s ware plate and no frogs

Sepia is an old color. In the 18th century sepia was used in shellack to enhance colors in paintings. In the 14th century it was used in Grisaille style painting. We know sepia as a way of toning photographs and is often used to make works appear vintage, there may even be a sepia filter on your photo editing app. Sepia is named for the ink derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish Sepia. [ reference wikipedia.org ]

Sepia is an excellent color to have on the palette. but sepia is not a good mixer, best used alone

Color Week 36 Purple

Quinacrodone Violet

Purple is generally, any color with hue between red and blue. In contemporary times purple is often associated with rarity, royalty, magic and piety. But purple has lots of history:

  • The word actually derives from the name of Tyrian purple dye manufactured from mucus secreted by the spiny dye-murex snail. The dye came from the Phoenician trading city of Tyre. An incredible amount of mucus was needed to yield a tiny amount of dye.
  • Laws were actually introduced to protect the color’s use. It was used exclusively for the imperial classes in Rome, Egypt and Persia.
  • In 1547 when Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey was tried for high treason against Henry VIII the evidence against him included that he had been seen wearing purple which only the king was allowed to wear.
  • In 1856, an18 year old chemist accidentally created a synthetic purple compound while attempting to synthesize quintine, an anti malaria drug.
  • Purple hues in painting were made from mixing cobalt blue with madder.
  • Purple has been a regal color used by royalty, it was used by the Women’s Suffrage movement as one of their colors and purple was associated with the psychedelic drug culture of the 1960s – ‘Purple Haze’
  • And not least, purple was a favorite color of Waneta, my mother. She would have reached 100 years next week…so we celebrate her color here

It seems the color purple has certainly been on a remarkable journey

arts and collections

MIxing a purple watercolor includes a


A few cool warm color results

OR you can purchase a Purple such as Quinacrodone Violet shown at the top of this post and compared with mixed colors here

That generic purple is a watercolor pan that was included in a set of colors from years ago!

Some purple from the garden and a sketch.

Douglas Fir Colors

It is now September, Color Week 35. This morning I went out to the beach to sketch and found myself looking at the hills as they meet the water. The hills are a combination of evergreen and deciduous trees, but that tree on the edge of the beach, tall and wind worn is a Douglas Fir tree.

September morning

Daniel Smith offers some watercolor hues that are distinctly Pacific Northwest. The Cascade green used in my little sketch is one of those colors. I like this semi transparent, granulating color for capturing the unique color of the northwest outdoors.

The craggy peaks of the Cascade Mountains that divide lush, western Washington from the dry, high plains of the east, inspired this unique green.

Daniel Smith

The colors chosen for Douglas Fir include Cascade Green and Perylene Green. I was introduced to Perylene Green in a class and my initial thought was that it looked muddy and a bit ‘off’ for natural vegetation. I have learned to use Perylene Green in shadows and washes with happy results. Check out this field guide page using a limited palette of these greens, Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber.

Douglas Fir field notes.
real & sketch

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