I’d probably be better off not assuming everyone already knows what I’m talking about.

It is now Sunday for me, and yesterday I’d kind of had it with doing either work, homework, or classes all the time.  I still have several things to get done, but the toughest of that (a self-portrait) is out of the way.  There are still more questions and/or insights that I’ve had as to the nature of what I write here…one of which is the query as to whether the portion of my audience attracted to my images is general, or specialized.

For instance:  when I compare the watercolors Naphthol Red (Winsor Red), Cadmium Red Hue, Permanent Rose, and Alizarin Crimson, by name, I know what I’m referencing, because I’ve been recently working with them.  However, I can’t assume that all my readers are painters.

(These are all different variants of red:  and most of my transparent watercolors are also within one or another Winsor & Newton product line [Professional or Cotman {the latter is student-grade — more fillers, lower-quality pigments, less pigment density; the former is professional-grade — denser pigmentation, and more pigments requiring caution in use and handling}].  The names I’ve listed above apply as regards W&N watercolor paints; but not necessarily so if we aren’t talking about W&N colors.)

I’ve also been into the art for long enough to know that when I use these terms, I’m meaning to talk about individual pigments (pigments are solid, particulate colored substances, [in contrast to dyes, of which I don’t know enough to give you a definitive definition] which are used as coloring agents) or mixes of pigments, which each have a different appearance, and different working properties.

(That’s so far as I know.  I do know that some pigments, like Cadmium Orange [PO20], can be soluble in water [they’re metal salts, only the metal involved, in this case, is toxic], and thus able to be absorbed through the skin.  [I think I’ve spoken about why you don’t want cadmium in your body, before…])

Or actually, to be fair:  when I’m talking about these paints, I’m talking about differing names of hues (a hue [small “h”] is a name for a color [or color family] like “red,” “yellow,” “green”).  These names do not consistently refer to the same pigments across different paint brands and product lines.  The more ethical lines will list the pigment using a code like PY40, or:  Pigment Yellow 40, or:  Aureolin, a.k.a. Cobalt Yellow, a.k.a. (according to Wikipedia), potassium cobaltinitrite.  The code PY40 — so far as I know — does specifically indicate the pigment, “potassium cobaltinitrite”.

A “Hue” with a large “H” generally refers to a mix of colors which mimics the specific color of a specific pigment while either being cheaper and/or less proven-to-be-hazardous than said pigment.

There does not seem to be standardization in the common name of a pigment, though.

In addition, the Earth Tones…colors like Burnt Umber or Raw Umber or Raw Sienna or Burnt Sienna, for some reason, are often given the same pigment code (PBr7:  Pigment Brown 7), even though they appear as differing colors in the tube and in application.  I can’t tell why they all seem to get the same code (though I’m finding that online sources detract from my argument — did I remember it wrong? do I need to check the tubes?), except that these are originally impure natural substances, and thus possibly too complex in composition to specify one chemical formula.

Ah:  I’ve found a potentially interesting page to link, from handprint.com, here.

As an example with both the Earth Tone and the unstable naming thing:  I actually have in my possession two different watercolor pencils which are both named “Burnt Sienna,” but only one of them actually looks like what I (and my Figure Drawing prof) know of as “Burnt Sienna” — a rich red-brown.  The other one, a lighter and yellower brown closer to a skin tone like mine, I’ve been told, is probably actually what most of us know as, “Raw Sienna,” and misleadingly named.  One Sienna is heated; the other is not.  The heating changes its color.

These two pencils are also from different manufacturers, hence the inconsistency in naming.

POINT BEING:  I maybe should not assume that the rest of my audience (besides me) actually has the background to already know and understand everything I’m talking about (as though they were me).  After all, this is WordPress, not WetCanvas.  And I just should not assume that everyone has this backlog of experience…I’ve been building on it from before the time I decided to go for the AA in it.  And it is just an AA, but an AA is probably more than most people have, in this field.

If I don’t assume that everyone knows what I’m talking about, that also gives me a lot more to talk about, too.  🙂


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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