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Archive for color

letters to my daughter . 081016


Yeah, carpool. It’s often unpredictable, especially at the beginning of the school year. Plus, it seems to bring out all kinds of stress, frustration and even unkindness in even the most mild-mannered of parents! Our first day of school last week had the typical carpool chaos at Baby Girl’s new school, and even though you know it’s going to be crazy, as a parent, I seem to always underestimate the time needed for those first few days. So, we were late. On the first day. And, Baby Girl got out of the car in tears, which made for a rough first day of school for me as well. Since that day, we’ve been leaving earlier and I’ve been trying my best to keep my attitude light as we navigate the crazy school traffic.

This morning, I couldn’t help but smile as we turned onto School Street for the last crucial lap of Wednesday morning carpool. Baby Girl was practically bouncing, and said, “I wish I was in there right now! I can’t wait to get in there and get started!” School, she meant! [Bravo, Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary staff!] I assured her that we were in “the loop” now and she would be inside in no time. Her response… “It’s really a Rainbow Loop!”

She proceeded to discuss the idiosyncrasies of various circular shapes that resembled the traffic flow on the HWS campus until we made it to her jumping out stop, and determined that “rainbow” was, indeed, the best description of the carpool line.

I love a girl who can see a rainbow in even the most harried of situations. It made me think that maybe seeing rainbows has less to do with light and water, and more to do with joyful hearts and happy attitudes. Thanks for the reminder, Baby Girl. I hope you always see rainbows!

make . DIY Watercolor Paint

Baby Girl loves the YouTube Kids iPad app! She just loves it. I like it because I don’t have to worry about questionable content, and it gives her the opportunity to wander through some of the things that interest her. These days, she’s excited about cooking and party planning projects, how-to’s for dollhouses and doll furniture, and crafts, crafts, crafts! She’s a crafty girl! It’s not unusual for me to walk into her room or our play room/Kid Cave and find some idea she’s seen on YouTube starting to take shape with her own spin applied to it. Earlier this week, I came home from running a few errands to find this scene on the coffee table…


She explained to me that we were making paint – a video she had seen on YouTube Kids. Since I’m a painter, that’s all it took to get me interested! The idea is really kind of cool, using old Crayola markers to make watercolor paint. Baby Girl went through her markers and found all the ones that had lost too much ink to really be fun for marker art. It turns out, when you place those markers in water, the remaining pigment seeps out to create varying shades of “paint” that still has some artistic life in it. I thought it was a great way to repurpose what might have otherwise been thrown out, and Baby Girl and I spent a little time experimenting with the paints.



Different colors created paint with various amounts of vibrance. Baby Girl used 2 or 3 tablespoons of water for each color, and I imagine the intensity of some colors would be greater with less water. The paints made for very nice watercolor washes with light color building up slowly with more layers. We thought the fluorescent yellow marker created the most fun effects. It was a great opportunity for us to experiment with color, and I showed Baby Girl how to sprinkle salt on wet painted areas to see some of its marbling effect. For our experiments, we used my practice paper, which is thick, but not standard watercolor paper. It gave us a lot  more curling and puddling at the edges than traditional watercolor paper would. I had planned to try to create some backgrounds that I could use with lettering, and I ended up just having fun with how water and color work together. Here are some of our experiment results!

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summer of water . monday 062314


Happy Monday! I’m playing with color and pattern again today. I’d love to do these as a series with hand-drawn words in the solid area. Also, this weekend I thought it would be fun to take a look at the painting series all together so far. It’s neat for me to see what common themes may be emerging as I’m giving myself the freedom to paint whatever interests me each day.


inspired by . Markers & More Markers


I think we have just about every Crayola and Sharpie product in our house somewhere, a great portion of them scattered around my office. This morning I gathered a few of the numerous containers filled with markers together for some photo staging, and I thought I would share them. I’m really loving the combination of bright pinks, orange and pewter gray right now like what you see in that first photo. I hope you have a colorful Wednesday!

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favorite color 092613 . Inspired by Fall

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I’m starting to see that sky — that particular shade of blue that says “fall!” Although we still have warm days, this week I saw the first Bradford Pear leaf change its color and the first sasanqua camellia bud begin to open in my yard. So, I’m taking my color inspiration today from the promise of Fall. Hope you’re getting excited in your part of the pond 🙂

favorite color 102912 . Autumn Texture

photo 092812 . Markers

Before I say goodbye to the Crayola markers in my monthly blog header next week, I thought I would show the full photo. I can’t see it without thinking of my 4-year-old and the masterpieces she leaves throughout my notebooks.

favorite color 091012 . Pasture Bloom

inspired by . Damien Hirst Spots

It was just a way of pinning down the joy of color.” ~Damien Hirst

I have to admit that in looking at Damien Hirst’s spot paintings, it’s still quite difficult to pin down the joy of color. It’s almost explosive. I was sifting through some of my browser bookmarks again and came across the online gallery of Hirst’s work in “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011,” which was shown at the Gagosian Gallery simultaneously in all their locations earlier this year. [I really appreciate it when galleries offer an online version of some of their exhibits — very fun for a Mississippi girl!]

The Spot paintings are so simple — mostly spots of color in grids — but the “joy of color” as Hirst described it is very present. And, even though the grid formats may seem staid, that joy is still quite uncontained. In fact, the spots almost seem to be in constant motion with various shapes trying to emerge.

Seeing the photos again was a very refreshing reminder of the power (and joy) of color. See for yourself…


Color Month: Green

There’s no better day to think about the color GREEN than St. Patrick’s Day, of course! From the renewal of spring to the warmth of tropical waters, the color green brings a calming influence to this upsized color month journey and to design color palettes. All colors carry unspoken messages based on cultural influences, historical references and even our own bodies’ physical reactions. Let’s look at what the color green communicates.

Green is one of the most prevalent colors found in nature and offers one of the widest arrays of approachable choices in the spectrum. Because it is linked to so many various shades in nature, multiple tones of green are rarely perceived to “clash” with one another. Abundance in the natural world gives the color a near universal appeal and very strong positive associations. This prevalence allows green to be used almost like a neutral in many color palettes, serving various roles from a grounding undertone to a calming influence to a striking counterpoint.

The many shades and hues of green offer varying associations that can appeal to nearly any audience. Blue green tones almost always elicit a pleasant response from viewers because they are so closely related to earth and sky. These colors are perceived as clean and cool, but also warm like the tropical waters they evoke. Blue greens are typically very soothing and are flattering to most skin tones. Lighter mint greens are seen as refreshing and easily invoke sweet thoughts of chocolate and the taste of mint leaves. While brighter greens generally connote renewal by embodying spring, fresh grass and leaf buds, deeper greens are often associated with the mysterious silence of deep forests. Both call to mind refreshing scents, but the associations with deeper greens expand to suggest prestige, security and trustworthiness because of their use in American money.

Among the lesser-used greens, bright emerald signifies elegance and is also strongly associated with the Irish heritage. Yellow-greens can be used effectively for projects related to gardening or florals because they resemble new growth. The sharper tone of chartreuse is perceived as trendy and an attention-getter that gives a youthful feel appealing to children and teens. Olive tones can be seen as up-scale but sometimes require stronger colors companions to pull them away from a staid neutral role.

Among green’s negative associations, it is sometimes used in cultural terminology to represent jealousy, envy or inexperience. In addition, some shades of yellow-green are actually associated with nausea and illness, and create adverse reactions.

Overall, the design possibilities of the color green seem almost as endless as the various shades we see outside our window. It has obvious environmental appeal as well positive concepts like cleanliness, growth and reliability. Personally, I like green’s ability to shift from that reliability right into an added kick of excitement with only a touch of blue or yellow added to the mix. And, of course, you know any small pond dweller has to appreciate a few green frogs. Enjoy wearing green today!

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