For our prompt of “Eyes” today, this could have been hundreds of things up to and including a potato. I really wasn’t quite sure at all what I would end up sketching and coloring at first. But, then I had a sudden urge to sketch a frog, so those are the eyes I arrived with today. The eyes of a frog actually come in a stunning array of various colors, and the position of the eyes gives frogs a 180 degree field of vision. But, what I find coolest is that they can see color in the dark, well past the point where we humans are able to discern color. This is helpful when getting around at night, and also comes in handy when searching for food in the dark. Yet, even with their superhero color vision, they don’t use it for all things in life. For example, when it comes to finding a mate, frogs are endearingly color blind. Seeing color is something I feel like I’m always practicing in life. Painting certainly helps me pay closer attention to the colors I see in the world. And though I haven’t developed any actual frog-like abilities, I have learned a lot about color along the way.
When I was a kid and just learning the names of colors, it was rather straightforward. Anything that was closest to orange was simply called orange. These days, from crayons, to fine art, to house paints, there are hundreds of various names for colors. For example, my office at work is currently painted in a color called “Edgy Gold.” I guess calling something “edgy” means it’s kind of cool and right at the front of a trend. But, in reality, it’s simply a green wall. A sort of a yellower version of the color that was called “Avocado” when I was a kid. Elsewhere in the office there are two additional colors. There’s one called “Chrysanthemum” which doesn’t reveal anything at all by name since these flowers come in a myriad of colors. But it’s actually just a muted orange. And lastly, there’s a color called “Torchlight” which is a name I’ve seen used a lot to describe anything bright from yellow to pale orange. In this case, it’s just eerily similar to another childhood color called “Harvest Gold.” I love the combo of these colors, and at first I wasn’t quite sure why. Then I realized that it felt like being a kid again, as I get to spend each day in my 70’s kitchen.
But for me, knowing the fanciful name of a color doesn’t help me at all when I go to paint with it. I still use the good old-fashioned color wheel I learned as a kid and yep, orange is still just orange, and it’s made from combining yellow and red. Though I’ve nothing at all against color names. I think it’s really fun and have always thought it would be a cool job to have. Thinking about it now, I rather doubt it’s only one person’s job, so that wouldn’t be quite as much fun. It’s definitely more of a committee sort of thing, I would assume, which is why some of the color names often seem to described something else entirely. In my house there’s a sort of a tan color that’s actually named “Camelback.” I guess that one gets pretty close, depending on one’s familiarity with camels. But, thinking back to those color proficient amphibians, I rather doubt they’ve bothered to name or categorize colors at all. So, I just stick with the colors I knew when learning to speak while following my own intuition, and painting with the eyes of a frog.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!