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Celebrate a Color-Yellow Ochre!

Happy New Year! Now that we're done with the recent forty days and nights of rain we can enjoy one of life's treats--Autumn in New York. Julia Glass, in her novel Vigil Harbor said,

"October in New York reminds people to renew their vows to stay forever."

So let's be sure to take some long walks. You may remember the architectural tour I posted in 2019,

Here are two great buildings I left out. If you stumble upon either of these you might think you're not in New York City but somewhere in Europe.

Here's the Old Police Building at 240 Centre Street between Grand and Broome Streets


Pen & Ink of the Old Police Building at Centre Street, Manhattan

And First Baptist Church, at Broadway and 79th Street.


Pen & Ink of First Baptist Church, Broadway and 79th Street, NY

As another way to celebrate Autumn I'm moved to write about my favorite calligraphy ink. It's been my go-to material ever since I branched out from Black and White. People would ask if I ever filled in my black and white drawings with color and no, that really doesn't work; it would be too coloring book-y. With color I need a much more neutral starting point.

Enter Windsor Newton Yellow Ochre! It's perfect for preliminary outlines as it can be very light and it dries swiftly, allowing me to erase the previous pencil guidelines without making a mess. If I apply a little more thickly it's a nice rich brown. Dilute it and it has a beautiful range of golden browns and tans.


Pen & Ink of a yellow house

This piece is making me much happier than the blue one did. Maybe it's true what they say about the blues.

I looked for Ochre in Kassia St. Clair's The Secret Live of Color which my friend, Mara, turned me on to. I'm sad to say ochre gets short shrift here and that irks me--look at the array of tones she mentioned! All these and Ochre gets only passing mention. Humph.


The names for the color yellow

Wikipedia had more to say. Ochre is an earthy pigment containing ferrous oxide, varying from light yellow to brown or red. Yellow and red ochre pigment was used in prehistoric and ancient times by many different civilizations on different continents. Evidence of the processing of ochre in Africa and Europe has been dated by archaeologists to 300,000 years ago; evidence of use in Australia is dated to 50,000 years ago, and new research has uncovered evidence in Asia that is dated to 40,000 years ago.

This yellow ochre horse, found in the cave paintings at Lescaux is estimated to be 17,000 years old.


Cave Paintings at Lescaux

In ancient Egypt, yellow was associated with gold, which was considered to be eternal and indestructible.


Ancient Egyptian wall paintings

The Romans used yellow ochre in their paintings to represent gold and skin tones, and red as a background color. It is found frequently in the murals of Pompeii.


Wall painting from Pompeii

Ocher or ochre? Ocher is the American spelling; it's ochre in the rest of the world and my ink is made in France so for me it's ochre. Thank you also, Daler Rowney Indian Yellow!


Yellow ink jars




October 06, 2022

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