Own Your Encore

My Encore Excursions


What Color is Grandpa Green

When a 19 year old tells you his truck color is ‘Grandpa Green’ what comes into my 60 something mind is dusty and slow!

This is Color Week 50 and we are about to discover the color dubbed ‘Grandpa Green’.

The process of coming up with color names can be surprisingly rigorous, involving color specialists, marketing pros, and lawyers—always lawyers.

Consumer Reports

When I look at the colors on my watercolor palette there are ancient names such as Ultramarine or Burnt Sienna, color names that describe the source. Paynes Gray or Hookers Green identified by the founder of the color. More modern color names include an identifier such as Quinacrodone or Permanent, BUT in today’s world colors need to send a message to the consumer. I read a note by a color researcher (who has a Ph.D. in color strategy) that ‘the Behr paint team considers the emotions a color name might evoke or an identification people might make with it’. We can all agree Grandpa Green is not on anyones paint naming short list but it is ’emotional’.

What I thought of as Grandpa Green was a sad washed out Sage Green. At a recent dinner party I asked guests to identify what they thought of as Grandpa Green and an odd thing happened…. a Millennial said light green, 2 ‘real’ grandparents said blue-greenish, someone threw in ‘it’s green’! So here is the truck and my color match. I would call it preppy green, leaning blue green.

These colors are mostly a mix of Phthalo Green, Perylene Green, Cascade Green
The truck & my rendition

If you are ever curious as to an automotive color, here is the place to go paintscratch.com/

Can you believe there is a book named Grandpa Green.

Isn’t color wonderful!

Dark Tourmaline Metallic is the real color name.

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Winter Color Icon

Cardinals do not migrate so you can spot them year-round. However, some find it easier to spot them in winter because of their color.


Red is an iconic color of Christmas and the Great Northern Cardinal is an iconic winter bird in many areas of the United States making this red bird the subject of Color Week 49 … we love a bird that uses COLOR to stand out!

I have seen the Great Northern Cardinal in winter during a birding tour, they do stand out even on a sunny day in Texas. The bright warm red used in this watercolor bird portrait is Cadmium Scarlet, shadows are Quinacrodone Coral with Ultramarine and Jane’s Gray. We know these colors from posts earlier in the year.

These cardinals live year around mainly in the Eastern half of the United States

So how do these birds stay so bright red. The brightest coloration comes from naturally occurring ‘carotenoids’ in their diet, this helps to create yellow, orange and red coloration. In cardinals,  the carotenoid results in pigmentation on the surface of the feathers, not within the deeper layers. The cardinals with the best color feed on fruits and berries with carotenoids among other things and the best and favorite are those bright red `Dogwood Berries’.

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

Watercolor Ingredients

I must admit that watercolor ingredients are not something I have given much thought to until today. Color Week 48 is a superficial look into what goes into watercolor paint prompted by a presentation given by representatives from M. Graham & Co. The presentation was sponsored by the Pacific Northwest and the Oregon Botanical Artists associations.

M.Graham is based in Portland Oregon and is somewhat unique in that they use northwest blackberry honey in the manufacture of their paints. M. Graham also has a commitment to solvent free paint and other eco friendly practices. Specifically they use walnut oil in manufacturing and cleaning.

What’s so special about M. Graham watercolor

  • Extreme pigment load, honey allows for a more pigment which delivers more intense color
  • Paint dries to a gum drop texture in the palette, never hard and easily dilutes to create a fluid wash, even after months of disuse
3 M. Graham colors on my palette

Generally watercolor ingredients include the following

Pigment particles provide the paint color, oftentimes people will refer to a specific P# color, but each manufacturer has their own source of pigment particles.

Binder is traditionally gum arabic. Gum arabic is farmed in North Africa. Gum arabic is sticky when wet and quite hard and transparent when dry.

Humectant most used today is inexpensive corn syrup it helps paint to retain moisture. As I’ve noted M Graham uses honey as their humectant. The humectant is needed because both glycerin and gum arabic dry relatively quickly

Additives such as an extender, fungicides and glycerin are common

Water of course suspends all the ingredients and evaporates when paint is used.

I have no interest in making my own watercolors but there are recipes and instructions available. I ever so briefly considered a pigment making workshop

Color Influence

Recently I was chatting with a friend about this blog, posting every week about color. Here we are at Color Week 47. She was remembering that I had given her color cards and a book to help her monitor her moods… WHAT? That was probably 25 years ago, and she was in a stressful position as a CFO / Chief Financial Officer, so color therapy was relaxation for her. I was impressed that she remembered so I looked through my library for the little paperback book and cards, but I must have tossed it out.

With a little searching online, I can see that ‘Colorstrology’ continues to be influential and there is a ‘birthday color’ associated with each month. Since this is my birthday month what a good idea to look that up.

A birth color is described as honoring the essence of an individual. Here is the list of colors…seems to be fairly general and all encompassing:

  • January – Orange, Yellow, Red
  • February – Pink, Blue, Green
  • March – Aqua, Lime, Black, Purple
  • April – Navy, Silver, White
  • May – Blue, Gold, Cream
  • June – Cream, Gray, Maroon, Red
  • July – Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink
  • August – Blue, Green, Aqua
  • September – Aqua, Lime, Olive, Purple
  • October – Purple, Navy, Silver, White
  • November – White, Gold, Cream
  • December – Cream, Gray, Maroon, Teal

your birth color is meant to be a positive influence and should be incorporated into your daily routine

I am all for that, we need more ways to use color. Here is an interview with Michele Bernhardt where she makes the case for her Colorstrology.

Color Therapy is not new. Many different civilizations throughout history experimented with color therapy. Egyptian mythology accords the founding of color therapy to the God Thoth, and the Greeks built temples devoted to color, mainly for healing purposes. Aristotle conducted some of the earliest studies of color, discovering that two colors mixed together could create a third color. In early India, the ancients practiced the tradition of ‘Ayurveda’ a form of color therapy.

So much to learn about color.