Friday, February 4, 2022

Color Experiments on Wedgwood’s Trash Day


2/1/22 Wedgwood neighborhood

With all my recent experimentations with primary triads and CMYK palettes, I did a lot of pencil shuffling. Somewhere along the way, my favorite unnatural green – the one that is ideal for Seattle street signs and compost bins and which is also hard to mix – got taken out. Driving through Wedgwood a few days ago, I realized with delight that it was their trash day, but not a recycling week, which meant that the only bins out were either green or black. I knew that nothing I had with me would mix to achieve that perfectly unnatural shade of green. I had to resign myself to making all the green bins recycling blue instead.

Yes, yes – my artistic license is up to date, and I also enjoy the challenge of using “unrealistic” hues. But colors are often meaningful and symbolic, and it mildly bothered me that the trash day story wasn’t “right” (I had a similar experience sketching a Spin bike a few years ago). But I’ll survive (as I seem to survive all first-world urban sketching problems).

My primary triad experiment was to use Raw Sienna (Caran d’Ache 036) as the yellow to mix with cyan (Cd’A Phthalocyanine Blue 162) and magenta (Cd’A Purplish Red 350). Although I love the vibrant primary mixes I get when I use Lemon Yellow, that triad screams summer. I hoped the Raw Sienna would dial down the palette’s intensity.

At the same time, I attempted some optical mixing in both the trees and brick houses by keeping the pencil pigments mostly dry and unblended. For a change, I’m happy with the results of both experiments.

Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelle primary triad used above --
a good one for winter.


  1. LOL If you hadn't mentioned that the trash bins are normally green I wouldn't have noticed. We don't have a specific color here.

    1. You must know by now that trash is important to me! ;-)


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