Saturday, January 15, 2011


paint color names from art supply websites

These days I often find it difficult to determine the origin of an idea. The vast amount of data and stimuli encountered on any given day defies measure and sometimes even specific cognitive register. Middle-aged memory doesn't help, either. This is a somewhat long-winded way of saying that I can't remember how I was moved to paint a pink painting. I can tell you that the idea for this post came after a Facebook post in which I said that I had just painted a big pink painting and an ensuing email conversation with buddy Hylla Evans. When I then announced I would name the painting Maybelline, Hylla responded with her by saying that she would name her new chicken after my new pink painting. I am honored!

From Hylla:
She is a six month old blue color Cochin bantam.  No doubt each of her feathers has been carefully lined in dark gray with an eye makeup pencil.  Her comb and wattles are the most perfect Maybelline pink, too.  Such a beauty!


Pink, or I should say, the pinks, do not typically dominate my painting, living, or sartorial palettes. Nonetheless, I created Maybelline, as one of my final paintings of 2010. Out with a bang, so to speak.

Associations and baggage are endless for pink: politics, gender, sex, sex, sex; race (anyone remember Crayola's Flesh crayon? Thought that was outmoded? Well, guess again how many major paint manufacturers still label a pink-toned paint Flesh), age, status, wellness...the list goes on and on.

Perhaps because I am interested in the more esoteric aspects of the usage of the word pink--and I see this entry as somewhat transgressive--this is my favorite dictionary definition of pink (From Douglas Harper's Online Etymology Dictionary...a fabulous resource.)
pink (v.) c.1300, "pierce, stab, make holes in," perhaps from a Romanic stem *pinc- (cf. Fr. piquer, Sp. picar), from L. pungere "to pierce, prick" (see pungent). Surviving mainly in pinking shears.
For a wildly comprehensive reference on all things pink, see wikipedia here and here...

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OK...back to art...and a few words from paint maker, artist, teacher, and chicken trainer, Hylla Evans, who waxes on about one of her favorite pinks:

Deep, Rich, Warm - Pink!

As winter cold settles in, the best remedy is a morning spent making Studio Pink Paint Sticks.  Each pink is unique and each has its following, but Studio Pink with its understated name is my favorite.

Since Studio Pink is a single pigment paint color (there is no white in it), it can be translucent and oh-so-warm without being cloyingly sweet the way Candy Pink is. Studio Pink works and plays well with others. It's the perfect opposite of Cadmium Green Light in every way. 

Many painters find reds are challenging because they always seem to move to the middle ground.  Try putting a red in your background and watch it move forward just enough to irritate you.  Reds do that; they move visually.  Want red in the foreground?  Better add some orange or yellow or it runs right back to the middle.  Damn frustrating color!  Pinks do the same thing, so it's important to make a choice of warm vs cool pink or the painting will control the artist rather than the other way 'round.  Try putting a single pigment pink next to a warm metallic such as Copper and you could go dizzy from the tango they do together!

A n d   n o w,   o n   w i t h   t h e  (p i n k)  s h o w ...
Curatorial note: The images below all come from the Call For Pink. I decided to limit the post to images that the artists who responded to the call, rather than mining the web. I also placed the images somewhat randomly, that is, after endlessly arranging and rearranging them. Thanks to all who contributed.

Morning Scape  
Encaustic on board  8 x 8"  2010

Though I don't usually use pink in my paintings,
I've started putting down under-colors of wax to 
start a painting off -- this one started out solid pink.

Baby's Breath Encaustic on Panel

I did this painting earlier this year. I was thinking of pale skin at first. 
The way the dots of color layered I imagined them as particles of something 
disbursing into the air. For some reason the title Baby's Breath stuck in my mind 
with this one. I also thought of the soft, delicate nature of a baby's skin. 

Broadway 44    16 x 16   oil on canvas

Pink, pink, pink-- it is a color with so much baggage!   
...I steadfastly avoided it for years and years, until I was invited to participate in a breast cancer fundraiser (of course, all donated work had to be primarily pink).  After overcoming the initial yuk factor, I was determined to find ways to become comfortable with the color.

Eleanor Farrell
Cherry Blossoms
Usually pink is not my color of choice for graphic design (or anything else except maybe cosmos), but here's a photo I took in San Francisco's Japantown a few years ago during the Cherry Blossom Festival. I added a pink frame to reflect the color of the blossoms.

Herringbone (Sansom Pink) 

Photographic Assemblage
A rare sighting of pink in the urban landscape 
(window glass splashed with pink paint) 
was the inspiration for this photographic assemblage.

2010   acrylic on canvas   42 x 44"

Hot Topic 
acrylic on linen

Bob Barbera 
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas  16 x 20

Bob Barbera
Spray and house paint on canvas   28 x 34

I get pink here and there.

Art Critic

Pink Veil I

Elizabeth Sheppell
  Surface Series #3  2009

Pink is strong and whimsical. It makes you look twice.

Glenn Fischer   
Habits of Safe Living
Mixed Media Collage 16 x 20"
Pink magically works as a great buffer when you need to 
take the hard edge off of something.

My image is a digital collage of two encaustic monotypes. 
Actual works are 40" x 26".

Pink is the center of our body.

Steven LaRose
Cerise Pink

An ongoing project I have is randomly drawing a paint chip from a 
local manufacturer's fan deck and drawing the name of the color. 
One hundred and one of them can be found here.

  Ian MacLeod
  Untitled #31
19.5" x 16.75" (irregular)

Acrylic, latex, tape, sticker and varathane on cardboard
As I worked on this piece it seemed it needed some colour -- 
the pink acrylic paint was right there and on it went.

Big Pink

This painting with a pink ground is so new, it is still titled "Pink Ground"
.....acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48"
It was fun playing with an unfamiliar color.

Koan Box Pink/Salmon/Green, 2008-10
oil, wax, alkyd, and 23 kt gold on wood cigar box
10.5 x 8.25 x 2"
The Koan Boxes are an ongoing exploration of paint, color, intuition, paradox and randomness; they all start either as drop clothes on the floor of the studio or as palettes, for months or even years, until they let me know when they are ready to make the leap to the wall, wherein I investigate, elaborate or simplify what is happening on each.

 I always try to make Pink "mean" because when it appears in 
nature it seems natural and beautiful but using it on the canvas 
without appearing corny 
is a huge challenge, and I love a challenge.

Peel (from The Paradise Project)
 2009   16 x 16 x 2"   acrylic on panel

In this painting and others in The Paradise Project,
I used vernacular color –- hot, saturated Caribbean hues --
to evoke an emotional reaction to place and time. 

White Shiny Orbit
8 x 8  x 2”
acrylic paint, acetate, masonite, pine, gel medium

I don't know what it is about pink but...Pink Love seems to be in the air.  
I've had several conversations with folks about how pink is on their mind.
Could it be a need for softness?  Wombness?  Or Girliness?  I'm not sure.

Julie Alexander
Oil on Canvas  24 x 24"  2010

Here is a mostly pink painting. I love the color pink. 
It gets my juices flowing on so many levels. 
This time it's muddied pink -- skin or bandaid -- rubbed 
over a scratched, landscape-ish ground.

Matter of Fact 
12 x 16"    Lithograph

Here's my new pink piece called Pink Lady. 
She's 42 x 40" 
Paper, cardboard, book parts and tacks 
with encaustic on three joined panels

2010  acrylic on paper  22 x 22"

Chris Neyen
Pink 2
oil and oil pastel on paper/bristol board


Chris Neyen

Pink 3
oil and oil pastel on paper/bristol board

Randy Carone 
Pink Hats/Hello Kitty
photograph   2010

Pink 2

I wanted to give color and new life to the sepia toned photo of 
this little girl from long ago so I chose pink, 
symbolic for me of free-spirited transformation.

Dreaming the Pink Dress 2

Pink: a girl color, not for redheads, 
makes other colors sing, sunrise, sunset, gaudy, garish,
and the name of a flat bottomed, narrow-sterned sailing vessel with bulging sides.

This is "Rues" from my 20/20 series
The series shared a commonality of size, collage as structure and water media applied, in this instance watered down red reads PINK. Other drawing media also applied.
Pink usually has an unsettling effect but i have been told that this piece is calming
as you travel the streets of paris, you are not irate and seeing red...its a more voluptuous pink, and pleasure for the eye.

Silk Road 86  
2007  encaustic on panel 12 x 12" 

Silk Road 147
2010, encaustic on panel 16 x 16"  
courtesy of Arden Gallery, Boston

Pink has no particular significance for me save for the fact that it's a color, and I work with color, so I try to work with as broad a spectrum as possible; also, my color is created with layers of  transparent or translucent paint, so the hue is mutable, depending on the angle of the light and your position in relation to the light and the painting.

2003   oil, mixed media on canvas   36 x 36"

 Wow--no pink in my last 20 years...hmmmm except maybe this one?
I remember working on this piece thinking was it too pink or too fleshy?

 Lynda Ray 
 Encaustic  9 x 12"
The title is Tillow, meaning to put forth new shoots. I gave it that title after I made it as my thoughts were that the color pink means a positive new start for me.

oil on canvas, 40 x 30"

I love using a pink shade in paint, 
although I sometimes end up painting it out.

Tremain Smith
Universal Harmony
2010  Acrylic, collage, watercolor & pencil on paper  30" x 22"

My mother once told me to paint pink for health - 

what could be healthier than Universal Harmony? pink....

36 x 48"   oil and alkyd on canvas   2010

This is too corporeal for my delicate sensibilities.
In fact, it may become incorporeal, 
with only a digital record remaining....

f i n i

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 resolutions/2010 resolutions review

Happy January 1 of 2011!

NB: This digital photo-based image has nothing to do with the post. I just like it.

So...I thought I'd make the first post of 2011 a little look back and a little look forward. Last year, I posted ya-say-ya-wanna-resolution and included my list of resolutions or intentions. The latter might be the better word.

These are the art-practice intentions from last year. Let's see how I did.

  • be kinder to my brushes  
    • A+  for improvement, not perfection. I've had a few relapses, but I have been cleaning the brushes and CONDITIONING them.
  • listen to my own voice    
    • B+  for the effort, but still sometimes a struggle. Got to get rid of the extraneous voices in my head.
  • spend more time looking, just looking 
    • B   2010 started out with lots of that but sometimes I just forget to look.
  • trust the process  
    • A   but it's a qualified A. I think I have stopped trying to make things happen. Mostly.
  • get better at knowing when to put the brush down and say it's done 
    • B-  Arrgh. 'nough said?
  • take more chances
    • A+ One of my little victories for the year. In the studio.
  • let the damned paint dry  
    • A-  Getting better all the time.
  • keep my studio a little neater  
    • deferred
  • be unafraid  
    • A++!!! Big leap in 2010!!!!

And now, intentions for 2011. Keep doing what I'm doing that's working. These are the areas for improvement.

  • listen to my own voice
  • spend more time looking. just looking.
  • get better at putting the brush down
  • that cleaning the studio thing

New for 2011:
  • get out of the studio more and be among the living
  • update my inventory of paintings
  • update my mailing list
  • update my website
  • update portfolio
  • get the work out there
We'll see how this goes...

So, as I did with the 2010 post, I now invite you to share your intentions, resolutions, promises to self, etc. for your art practice in 2011...