Own Your Encore

My Encore Excursions

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Ink [ part one ]

After 50 weeks of posting about color, I continue to be curious about color in the arts and will continue to explore for another year here. This week it’s ink part one! The curiosity about ink color started when I was setting up some tools for trying modern calligraphy and asked myself ‘how is ink color different from watercolor ‘. More on that another week because this week I learned a new way to use ballpoint pen ink!

It was an unexpected benefit of a class with Molly Hashimoto. She is an accomplished visual artist and author. Our class today was a focus on quick techniques to use in nature journals, mainly to capture landscape and natural subjects. She started out by having us draw with water soluble ink, like this ball point pen…

Water soluble ink pen!

The focus of the class :

  • How to work quickly
  • Use ‘thumbnail’ / small sketches
  • Capture scenes that enhance memory & experience of place

In the past few years I have probably thrown away a dozen water soluble pens because they ‘bleed’ and make a mess of a drawing…and they always seem to end up in my pen box where I am expecting permanent ink. Molly changed all that for me. She showed us how to create a quick thumbnail sketch with the water soluble ink pen and then apply water to complete the visual memory sketch. Pen ink varies in solubility and typically colors are black, blue – of course speciality pens offer many colors. The technique is fun and has a watercolor essence.

Focus on trees using 3 different techniques

I asked Molly about using a watercolor pencil to achieve the same look, she discouraged due to the lack of a crisp line with a pencil. It might work but definition would be lost. So if you ever go on a walk and want to try a little sketch along the way, simply take a ballpoint pen, paper and a water brush. It truly does enhance the memory of a place visited.

Next post, Ink [ part two ] will explore the ancient practices of ink and how ink color was discovered and used around the world.


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.

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.