The topic of color names came up on one of my mailing list recently and this was the outcome....Pat graciously allowed me to share it with all of you.
Hmmmmmm..... it's starting to sound like a Jurassic safari out
there!!!! Who knew watercolor was such an adventure? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
The earliest ones I saw were the Pthaloflies (think dragon flies with
brighter wings) with their stupid grins but brilliant blues and
greens. Cadmiums I noticed later, furry caterpillars, tending to
yellows and oranges. Unlike actual caterpillars, however, they are
fast, scuttling into dead runs at the drop of a wet paintbrush. True
to their name, I believe they are of low character, hence "cad
colours". Both are fairly rare creatures, found only in studios and
seen only by artists. I believe they eat earth colours or old brush
hair, although I've not seen that documented.
A variety of chemical accidents created Quinacridones, Idanthrones and
Anthraquinoids, an obvious attempt at bringing the basic artist, if
not the paint salesman, to his knees. If Pthaloglocic colours were
hard to spell, these are both hard to get on a label and pronounce.
This time, there will be no shortening to things like Thalo; after
all, who would be wanting to try Quin Gold or Ida Blue, not to mention
Ant Red? The creatures themselves are like the Thaloflies and Cads,
in that they are unlikely to be found outside a studio or tube. Once
infestation is made, it's pretty permanent, although transparent. My
particular favourite is Quinacridone Gold (Latin: Quinacridonus Oro,
genus Daniel Smithicus).
Quinacridones look like piglets, only with more legs and prettier
eyes, and they love swimming. Idanthrones, duller but stronger, only
wade. My experience with Anthraquinoids is that they are ungraceful
and cause opaque stains, but otherwise are good-natured, perhaps more
even-tempered than the other two. Their remarkable resemblance to
flatfooted anteaters makes them rather fun to have around, even if
they don't paint much.
pat chapin www.ThreeMermaids.com