See what happens when I put my brain in neutral….a whole bunch of inspirations fell out of the end of the pen this morning; driving home during a storm, my neighbor George’s 3 day journey to his summer cabin in Montana, watching paranormal shows on tv, Covid’s emptying of the streets and prevention of public funerals and the color in a dream.

Text me.

Text me when you get home safe
you never know what regrets
lie in the ditches that pass for un-dug graves,
what nymphs lurk under the surfaces
of the lakes and rivers of the rain-swept streets.

Text me when you get home safe
let me know whether the rabid pictures
on the bathroom walls of closed cafes
beckoned with royal blue absences
or vanished when you turned your tears to them.

Text me when you get home safe
the storm and silences out there
where there used to be a world
hide a lot of opportunities
that could echo off the empty mountains.

Text me when you get home safe
the music of the tires, the rhythm of the blades
hide the footfalls of the shadow people
peering at your approach
around the corner of blank expectations.

Text me when you get home safe
or even when you’re getting close,
there’s no one else to hit texting while driving, but
text me when you get home safe
or if you get lost on the way.

Next Year’s color

I’m thrilled to see that my favorite color is going to be ‘color of the year‘ as advised by Pantone.  Anyone who has passed my house on laundry day can attest to the favorite colors at this house.  (I have a washing line, not a dryer.  Why would I want a dryer? I live in a dryer.)

An interesting aside in the linguistics of color: when I’m teaching about the color wheel, I mention that the secondary color between red and blue is often referred to in artistic circles as violet. Purple/violet is one of those colors that have two names – one from the German “purpurrot” and one from the French “violet”.

Colors and words.

A friend passed along this video about words for colors, and how words for colors develop in different languages.  It reminded me of a friend of mine, Gordon, with whom I was having a discussion about some coworkers who had sat across from me at a meeting wearing fuschia, chartreuse and magenta blouses which in a row, were quite visually difficult to look at!  He looked blank at me and said ‘I’m a guy, I got blue, red, green, yellow… nothing more complex than that!’

YInMn Blue

For those of you who have taken my Painting for Absolute Beginner’s class, you will have heard me talk about the origins of French Ultramarine.

Recently, there was another blue discovered.  Or perhaps you could call it invented, I guess it’s unclear as to whether this blue would ever occur in nature.  Personally I think it should either just be Yinmn blue, as everyone is calling it now, or Mas blue, after the original chef.  What do you think?

I’m looking forward to it being available in watercolor, acrylic and oil.

Painters to get a little greener.

Three things I tell my students, is that it is important to not lick your brush, drink the paint water or to wash the brush out in your wine (/coffee).  Primarily this is because of the heavy metals in some of the pigments.  Flake white was stopped being produced when it was discovered that lead isn’t good to eat. Cadmium isn’t terribly good for the digestive system either, but it is a metal that produces awesome reds and yellows from different salts; my chemistry doesn’t stretch to complete comprehension of the quinacridone range, but when you know that phthalo (you pronounce it ‘thallow’ – isn’t English wonderful!) blue’s full name is phthalocyanine blue, you might get a hint as to why brush licking isn’t advised.

But science comes to the rescue of art with replacement colors for the cadmium range that don’t contain the nasty wonderful cadmium! Liquitex isn’t my usual brand, but if Golden haven’t started introducing them by the time I’ve used all the cadmiums I currently have, I’ll definitely be giving them a try.  Looks like this is only for acrylics at the moment, but something like this will likely catch on once the ban on cadmiums can be enforced because there’s a viable alternative.

Until I’ve completed the move to cadmium-free cadmiums though, don’t lick my paintings either.


A little heavy poetry.

A note:  Where I grew up in Wales, during the Cold War, the time for nukes to reach us from Moscow was supposed to be four minutes.


Within the upturned cerulean cup,
across the Wedgwood blue waves –
the milk-not-plain Chocolate Mountains.
Above, the bright October sun blinds us to
flashes of falling silver
dispensed from those brown-growling speedsters above.
We are too far to see
spiky gray instant clouds scattering
puthers of pulverized sand,
but the earth reports back to us
as shuddering ripples under our feet.

The bombing range is in use today.

It is night time now in another desert.
I wonder if Aleppo hears the gray jets’ approach –
do they carry on with their ecru lives
as do I, under these bombing runs,
wondering if they are in range,
knowing there is no place to hide,
like we carried on under the timescale
of the black cold war,
that four-minute range to white nuclear destruction –
not jet to hear, no future to hold
just gone in sunshine, releasing
the range of emotions we carried with us,
the thoughts and hopes we nevertheless hewed out
in our pastel lives.

But accidents happen within
the rainbow range of human possibilities;
a hop, a skip, a crimson heart beat,
a jumpy peach finger tip and we are all in range
of the friendly fire that
could rain down twenty miles too far west, upending
a Salton City day into the beige earth around us
and the cerulean cup above.

This Video Explains How Color Blind People See The World And Shows You Whether Or Not You Are — Sparkonit

If you are color blind or have a color blind friend, you have probably been in a situation where you argue with one another about the color of a particular object. Well, this video by #Mind Warehouse discusses how color blind people see the world and explains the causes of color blindness. The video also explores…

via This Video Explains How Color Blind People See The World And Shows You Whether Or Not You Are — Sparkonit

New Blue

Came across this article from one of Artnet‘s regular emails that I get.  I’m looking forward to trying this new blue – ‘YInMn blue’, though I think there’s still time to rename it to something more pronounceable such as ‘Mas Blue’, ‘Subramanian Blue’ or ‘Oregon Blue’.

YInMn blue