I don’t know the sound of one hand clapping, but I do know the sound of a one pencil falling and rolling on the floor. You’d think you could bend down and pick it up, but you’d be wrong. It is gone into the great alternate universe into which many small items disappear. Whether it’s your second sock or that special sheath for an expensive knife. Gone and it will only come back after you have replaced it.

One of two small hassocks containing sets of colors and other tools

When you buy drawing pencils, no matter how outrageously expensive they are (and they can be very expensive indeed), you get one of each. Never do they double up on the “colors most frequently used.” Prismacolor (only) sells boxes of a dozen black or white pencils, but then only the wax-based ones.

Where oh where did all the art stores go? They used to have racks of pencils in every imaginable color.

This was the first drawing I did that made me think I might be able to do this. I also have at least two pencils called “apple green.” Note the lack of greenness

Meanwhile, somewhere in this room there are dozens of pencils that slid into an alternate universe. Maybe they will return. Maybe not. There is — up there in the clouds where the gods and goddesses live and laugh at our stupidity — an Art God. He has a Loki-like sense of humor. He steals our stuff, just for fun. I have considered every possibility and can find no other explanation.

No matter how many sets of pencils you have, finding exactly the color you want is a challenge. It’s not because you don’t know what you are looking for, but because the people who make these sets never put them in any kind of order and no two sets are exactly alike. You will get the number of pencils you specified, but the I swear the people who put the sets together make random choices for color groups. Some sets will have more greens or blues, fewer or more reds. Some will favor pastels and others will lean strongly into primary colors.

You will buy anywhere from two dozen to 150 pencils in a set. Depending on how focused the set is (portrait, Botticelli, Kandinsky, dark portrait, landscape, water, sky. etc.), if they don’t come in a zip-case, you will have to take the set apart and try to get all the yellows, greens, blues, reds, purples, browns, grays, and “what IS that?” colors in some semblance of order. After you complete this daunting task, you notice you’re missing anywhere from one to three pencils — which you will never find because they have gone to “that other place” where misplaced pencils live.

I posted this a while ago, but I was unhappy with its photo. Not only have my drawings improved, but the quality of the photos I take of the drawings has also improved

I want companies to stop basing the names of colors on rocks. Colors like “light Jade” are meaningless because jade isn’t a color. I have white and brown jade as well as green. I think there’s blue jade, but I’ve never owned any. Then there is “medium Turquoise” which assumes that Turquoise is blue-green, sort of a bluer shade of teal. But turquoise can be many colors. In fact it is often many colors in a single stone. Then there’s “Mars Black.” What does that MEAN? Why don’t we also have a “Jesus Sepia” or “Moses Orange”?

And while I’m asking questions no one can answer, what is any color with the word cadmium or chromium before it mean? Is that anything like “Cool Eggplant”? Is it still purple or because it’s cool, maybe it’s magenta or pink? If it’s really totally cool, it could be ANY color.

Why can’t they call all shades of purple — light, medium, or dark — by percentage from 10% to 80% — like Castle does with grays? Castle has grays arranged from 10% to 80% in either warm (hint of pink) or cool (shades of black). I lose it when they get to “Dove Gray” because our doves are beige and sometimes, light warm brown.

Mourning Dove

I have the same trouble with vegetable-named colors. When I buy a sweater, I don’t wear pumpkins, cantaloupes, or kiwis. If they are gonna do veggies, maybe they should base depth of tint by the fruit or vegetable’s degree of ripeness? Surely a ripe cantaloupe doesn’t look the same as a “hard as a rock” cantaloupe. I’m pretty sure a Kiwi is less whatever color it’s supposed to be when it’s unripe versus when it’s ready-to-eat.

I would also like to point out that, in this country, Kiwi is green, but in Israel it was more or less magenta because of the differing amounts of acid or alkali in the soil. So an unripe kiwi would be some version of light green with yellow overtones unless you live in the Middle East where it might be something else.

So really, what color is a very ripe American kiwi?

Categories: #gallery, #Photography, #Sketchbook, Anecdote, Arts, Drawings

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7 replies

  1. Wow! So many colors and so many confusing names.


    • There’s no legitimate reason for the confusing names. That’s because — like clothing designers — they decide to name things after rocks and food. I find it annoying when clothing makers do it and even MORE annoying when art suppliers do it. Especially because rocks and plants are not always the same color even in one location much less world wide. It’s aggravating and frustrating.

      Yesterday I spent a couple of hours trying to buy a pair of pants that was called “red clay” in one place, but “soft jasmine” in another — on the SAME site. What color is it? I really don’t know. Some shade of washed out red. I suppose when I open the package I’ll figure it out — and hope for the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! The colors are never the same as shown on the website. All the best. I hope it turns out well.


        • I have a terrible feeling they are going to be too small. By measurement, they will fit, but somehow, I doubt they will REALLY fit. Those measurements are never really the size of the actual clothing. I’m just hoping the pants don’t turn out to be bright red. They are supposed to be very light. I guess I’ll (eventually) find out.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think they’ll be just right for you.


            • I hope so. It was agonizing trying to decide what would fit. I’ve lost 22 pounds over the past couple of years. I wasn’t dieting. I just wasn’t interested in food. Also, I do all the cooking and you sort of lose your taste being in the kitchen so much. I didn’t lose the weight quickly or intentionally. It just drifted away, one pound at a time. But now, a lot of my clothing is just falling off, in some cases literally having pants fall right down to the ground. I don’t need a lot of clothing, but I need at least a few pairs of pants that aren’t huge. These were on final clearance so they were not expensive, but I also can’t return them. I normally won’t buy pants in ANY color but taupe, navy, or black (because they go with everything), but these faded red ones would look pretty good with any dark tee shirt, so I held my breath and decided to give them a try.

              Liked by 1 person

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