Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Pretty in Pink?

I have been "in the pink" all week, often covered in several different shades of pink.

No, I haven't been painting the house, just a painting, but sometimes I just can't help myself!

Quinacridone red, permanent alizarin crimson, rose madder and quinacridone magenta are beautiful transparent (pink to purple) watercolours on paper but also make a statement when smudged on hands, chin and forearms!

So here is the "Pretty in Pink" hot off the easel:

It is a painting of Bougainvillea against a wall, basking in the Italian sunshine. I took this picture a few years ago and have finally painted it! I think the pink parts are actually leaves not flowers, that surround the small white flowers.
(14" X 20" on Arches CP watercolour paper)

So am I "in the pink"? Yes, I think so, but
that has me wondering where the expression comes from and even what it means.

"The general usage of this phrase has altered somewhat since it first entered the language. We now usually see it with the specific meaning of 'the pink of condition', that is, in the best possible health. It is tempting but, as it turns out, misguided, to assume an association between 'the pink of condition' and the healthily glowing pink cheeks of new-born babies or energetic sportsmen/sportswomen and the like.
The earliest citations of 'in the pink' are from the 16th century and, at that time, the meaning was 'the very pinnacle of something', but not necessarily limited to health. The earliest example that I can find of pink being used with that meaning is from 1597 Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, 1597:
Mercurio: Why, I am the very pinke of curtesie.
The earliest citation I've found for 'in the pink' is from Leigh's Kensington Gardens, 1720:
"'Tis the Pink of the Mode, to marry at first Sight: - And some, indeed, marry without any Sight at all."
Why pink has been chosen to epitomise the pinnacle of quality is more likely to do with the Dianthus flower, many varieties of which are called Pinks. It is known that society in the reign of Elizabeth I admired the flowers, hence the first uses of pink with the 'excellent' meaning in that period.
What is interesting to speculate on is why the flowers were called Pinks. You may think that a silly question, as Dianthuses are almost always pink. There are two quite believable theories. One suggests, that it is the flowers that gave their name to the colour, rather than vice-versa, and that the name derives from the Dutch 'pinck-ooghen' - 'little eye' (literally - to blink). The second theory is based on the earlier verb form of pink, which means to cut or to pierce - in a style that would now be done using pinking shears. Dianthuses are said to be called Pinks because their edges are pinked. Take your choice." (

It is almost spring time and there is pink popping up all around, here is a sampling:

Tulips (above) and Camillia (below)

Pair of House Finches (above) and a bit of pink in the forest path (below)

 Positively perplexing pink reflections:

.... and my favorite the pale pink of a back lit rabbits ear

the early cherry blossoms are out, hooray!

That is it for "pink" today but I have some more art news for you. A couple of weeks ago I posted this painting, which I had named "A Rest in the Shade", a not very exciting name I admit. There was a suggestion that I get rust in the title so it in now named "Rusting in the Shade", thankyou L, much better title.

Here is another new painting. I am calling it "Out for Lunch" but I am open to suggestions.

This is also 14" X 20" watercolour on Arches CP paper. It is a deux chevaux that I photographed in France last fall.
"The Citroën 2CV (French: "deux chevaux" i.e. "deux chevaux-vapeur" (lit. "two steam horses", "two tax horsepower") is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive, air-cooled economy car introduced at the 1948 Paris Mondial de l'Automobile and manufactured by Citroën for model years 1948–1990."

Do you have any pictures of old vehicles that deserve to be painted? If so contact me at
I now have an all art Facebook page, if you would like updates on what I am up to in the studio you can friend me at:


Here is a wonderful video someone shared with me this week, I am passing it on to you.

Amazing video of Khalil Daweish Abu Adam:

That's all for this week, thanks for dropping by, and thank you for your comments,
happy Wednesday, with Whimsy,