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A Colour A Day: Week 40

Ruth Siddall27 December 2020

A Colour A Day: Week 40. 21st-27th December

Jo Volley writes…

This weeks colours are accompanied by Marge Piercy’s poem Colors passing through us.

Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
the purple of ripe grapes
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Every day I will give you a color,
like a new flower in a bud vase
on your desk. Every day
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from petals.

Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running lithe through the high grass.

Yellow as a goat’s wise and wicked eyes,
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and egg yolks,
yellow as a school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour.

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

Green as mint jelly, green
as a frog on a lily pad twanging,
the green of cos lettuce upright
about to bolt into opulent towers,
green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear
glass, green as wine bottles.

Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums,
bachelors’ buttons. Blue as Roquefort,
blue as Saga. Blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring
azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.

Cobalt as the midnight sky
when day has gone without a trace
and we lie in each other’s arms
eyes shut and fingers open
and all the colors of the world
pass through our bodies like strings of fire.

Colours are from the Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic range on W&N watercolour paper and read from left to right:

Bright Aqua Green
Vivid Orange
Scarlet
Naphthol Crimson
Yellow Orange Azo
Permanent Light Green
Permanent Dark Green

A Colour A Day: Week 35

Ruth Siddall22 November 2020

A Colour A Day: Week 35. 16th – 22nd November

Jo Volley writes …

‘We had a remarkable sunset one day last November. I was walking in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before setting, after a cold gray day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon, and the softest, brightest morning sunlight fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon and on the leaves of the shrub oaks on the hillside, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow east-ward, as if we were the only motes in its beam. It was such a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of that meadow. When we reflected that this was not a solitary phenomenon, never to happen again, but that it would happen forever and ever, an infinite number of evenings, and cheer and reassure the latest child that walked there, it was more glorious still.’

Extract from ‘Walking’ by Henry David Thoreau, 1862
(for J.S)

Pigments manufactured by Ruth Siddall, bound in gum Arabic on W&N watercolour paper, and read from left to right:

Weld & Calcium Carbonate Lake
Annatto Lake
Safflower Carthamidin Lake
Eosin Lake #1 & Annatto Lake 50:50 mix
Eosin Chalk Lake
Geranium Lake
Eosin Lake #1

A Colour A Day: Week 31

Ruth Siddall25 October 2020

A Colour A Day: Week 31. 19th -25th October

Jo Volley writes…

This week’s colours are manufactured by Ruth Siddall who says of them. ‘Procion MX Dyes – The difference between a dye and a pigment is that a dye is soluble in water and a pigment is insoluble. I am experimenting at the moment to try and find as many ways of making the colourful, organic compounds in dyes into insoluble pigments. These are a series of pigments I made by dyeing a starch with modern Procion MX dyes. I used potato starch as a substrate. I have seen modern dyes such as rhodamine being used in this way, so I thought I’d give it a go. If I’m honest, I’m disappointed with the pale colours produced – quite the opposite of the dyes which were intensely coloured! Chemically, Procion MX dyes are dichlorotriazines, which means they contain a ring-shaped molecule with three nitrogen ions so the formula is C3H3N3 (most ring molecules just have six carbons). In addition there are two chlorine ions attached to this ring and it is these that bond to -OH groups in fibres to produce strong dyes on cloth. Starch has -OH groups, so I had hoped it would work the same way here. There is some colour but it’s not as intense as I had hoped for.’

Each pigment is bound in gum Arabic on W&N watercolour paper. They were like no other pigment I have used before – it was rather like trying to paint with clouds – amorphous – the colour just slipping away. According to the American Meteorological Society, amorphous clouds ‘are without any apparent structure at all, as may occur in a whiteout in a thick cloud or fog over a snow surface when one loses any sense of direction – up, down and sideways’

Procion red MX-G
Procion yellow MX-4G
Procion blue MX-2R
Procion yellow MX-3K
Procion turquoise MX-G
Procion composite grey
Procion red – MX-5B

 

 

 

A Colour A Day: Week 26

Ruth Siddall20 September 2020

A Colour A Day: Week 26. 14th-20th September

Jo Volley writes…

This weeks colours are 7 lake pigments manufactured by Ruth Siddall.

 

ON THE CHARACTER OF A RED CALLED LAC
CHAPTER XLIII

A colour known as lac is red, and it is an artificial colour. And I have various receipts for it; but I advise you, for the sake of your works, to get the colour ready made for your money. But take care to recognise the good kind, because there are several types of it. Some lake is made from the shearings of cloth and it is very attractive to the eye. Beware of this type, for it always retains some fatness in it, because of the alum, and does not last at all, either with temperas or without temperas, and quickly loses its colour. Take care to avoid this; but get the lac which is made from gum, and it is dry, lean, granular, and looks almost black, and contains a sanguine colour. This kind cannot be other than good and perfect. Take this, and work it upon your slab; grind it with clear water. And it is good on panel; and it is also used on the wall with a tempera; but the air is its undoing. There are those who grind it with urine; but it becomes unpleasant, for it promptly goes bad.

Cennino Cennini, Il Libro dell’Arte

 

All pigments are bound in gum Arabic on W&N watercolour paper and read from left to right:

Iris green lake – ‘Lily green’
Logwood lake
Logwood ‘chalk’ lake
Cutch #1
Cutch #2
Butterfly Pea Flower lake
Lac lake – Kerria lacca

A Colour A Day: Week 17

Ruth Siddall19 July 2020

A Colour A Day.  Week 17: 13-19 July

Jo Volley writes…

Over the last week I have had the privilege to work with 7 colours produced and sent to me by Ruth Siddall.  To receive these little packets of pigments through the post and work them into paint has been a pure delight.    

Ruth says of them. “These colours are all based on lake pigments made from American plants and an insect, the cochineal beetle. Three are wood dyes (logwood, brazilwood and osage orange), Aztec marigold was made from dried flowers, the avocado lake was made from a dye extracted from the stones of the fruit. Annatto (or achiote, achiotl) is a spice made from seeds. The latter was used as a ink in historical Mexican painting, and also as food colouring and a cosmetic.”    

All are bound in gum arabic on W&N watercolour paper and read from left to right.

Osage Orange, Maclura pomifera
Annatto, Bixa orellana
Cochineal, Dactylopius coccus
Logwood, Haematoxylum campechianum
Brazilwood, Caesalpina echinata
Aztec Marigold, Tagetes erecta
Avocado, Persea americana

A Colour A Day: Week 10

Ruth Siddall31 May 2020

A Colour A Day Week 10; 25th-31st May
Jo Volley writes …
This week’s colours are produced by Ruth Siddall and dedicated to the Land Art pioneer Agnes Denes on her  89th birthday on Sunday 31st May. 
 
These colours represent my first experiments in lake pigments; dyes made insoluble by the addition of a mordant, in this case alum with the further addition of either potassium or sodium carbonate in solution. The initial dye baths were made from raw materials from my kitchen (waste onion skins and dried hibiscus and marigold flowers used in tisanes), plant material collected from local areas of parkland (nettles, dandelion and bark from birch logs) and finally some madder roots which were sent to me as a present by Stephanie Nebbia, courtesy of the Winsor & Newton laboratories. All were made in my kitchen, with adapted equipment and materials during the initial few weeks of lockdown in March and April 2020.’ Ruth Siddall   
 
 
1. Birch Bark (alkaline)
2. Dandelion Lake
3. Nettle Green(copper modifier)
4. Rose Madder
5. Hibiscus Lake
6. Marigold Lake
7. Onion Skin Lake