Running Late

On real work, can’t play right now. To keep you busy:

Quick! Name your favorite obscure (i.e., non-primary, non-common secondary) color!

Mine: Vermilion.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

168 replies on “Running Late”

Since Erica’s taken celadon, I have to go with temmoku: glossy black breaking to crystalline iron red at the rim.

Been up since 5 am tending a pottery kiln…

Puce. Mostly because I grew up in Windsor and Puce happens to be a small rural town just east of Windsor (borders on Belle River if you must know).

I moved in my current house in 2004. The basement was painted in a shade of biege. I decided that my first repainting job had to be the basement as the only description that I had for the colour on the wall was a cross between Puce and Human Fecal Matter.

I repainted it my basement in various shades of blue.



A pinkish purplish color also called electric magenta.

I use it regularly in a phrase denoting another persons unrealistic statement.

“Is the color of your sky fuchsia? ’cause it sure as hell ain’t blue!”

Although I typically use another word in place of “hell”.

I don’t know about a favorite, but the color that is the bane of my existence is Microsoft Red (one of their branding colors) – #F87311. Why? Because that color is orange to anyone not working at Microsoft. I left the ad agency that did MS websites 4 years ago and I still remember that blasted hex code.

Chalk up another for Burnt Umber.

Mom taught art, and did (does) acrylics on the side. One of my fondest memories as a child was going into her studio, opening up the tackle box she used to hold all the little tubes of acrylics, and reading the names. They were all so wonderfully evocative of distant lands, and things both beautiful, and far away. Just knowing such words existed made me feel more worldly and wise.

Sort of a Xanadu in a box.

Mind you, I am by trade a working artist, and cannot stand, to the point of wanting to throttle someone, the use of color names in a professional environment. It’s PMS or nothing, baby. Nothing else is accurate on press.

To answer: Teal

To risk the dreaded tangent: I work for a bedding company. The design department is constantly spouting color names that drive me crazy. I have the 10 color crayon set in my head. It’s red, orange, yellow, etc. This plethora of names drives me batty! Some make sense: cognac, sage, etc. Sure. But what color is “sweet”? What color is “fresh”? What about “Reseda”?

To help me adapt to this new culture, my sweetie and I modified our perpetual game of “punch-buggy” (aka ‘slug bug’ to some) whereby one had to announce the name of the bug color using a style name. No more “punch buggy blue” it had to be “punch buggy midnight” or “punch buggy ocean.”

Naples yellow; it’s the most useful pigment for portraiture ever. Mix it with any of the following: vermilion, transparent red oxide, cadmium red light, titanium white, or transparent yellow ochre, and you’ve now got every midtone to highlight in most skin tones.

Weird… my comment didnt show up…

Gem colours are lovely too:

Opal, Aquarmarine, Sapphire, Charoite, Hematite, Citrine, Amber, Malachite, Emerald, Labradorite, Jade, Amethyst, Ruby, Garnet, Onyx, Jasper…

I like the name Chartreuse (I remember a sandwich shop in Lincoln, NE called the Chartreuse Caboose)

but for actual colors, I like Periwinkle a lot – the actual plant is kudzu-like in its takeover of any bed where it’s planted, but the color is very pleasant

Thalo green for me. #56, Maxfield Parish is famous for his use of Colbalt blue (as #63 said), but blue is primary. A secondary color is created by mixing equal parts of primary colors. And here I am, looking at a paint catalog!


Also puce. There’s a large part of discrete math that can be thought of as colouring certain kinds of structures in certain prescribed ways; when I was a grad student one of my profs would always make sure that one of the colours was puce.

I’m amused by the fact that there are already more comments for this post than for the four previous posts combined.

But in order to not break the string of colors with my irreverent comment, I’ll put forth my second choice:

I don’t have a name for it, but that glowing shade of blue the sky turns during the evening magic hour after a summer rain.

love all those shades of blue that blend seamlessly across the sky during a sunset on a crisp, clear winter evening – I’m sure they have interesting names –

9-year-old daughter – “lime green!”

burnt sienna” I used to walk by a Cadillac dealer every day o my way to school and there was a beautiful car for months that I could not ignore. I finally stopped and read the sticker to see what color it was. Start of a lifelong love of brown. But not Cadillacs.

I agree with those who picked chartreuse, although this is largely because of an odd bit of cognitive disobedience – my brain refuses to believe it’s a yellowy-green and insists, quite resolutely, that it is some form of red (presumably confusing it with crimson and carmine although, with my brain, who can be sure?).

Fuschia…as in the lyric to the Elton John song Rocket Man:
“…burning out his fuschia harralon”

Although I admit I’ve never been quite sure what a harralon was. Since they come in fuschia, I’m sure I’d rember seeing one…must be something excruciatly British and a bit fey.

@120 AlanMon

I have a similar confusion with cerise. For years there was a supper club of that name in LaCrosse, WI that was painted in various shades of blue. I just assumed…

Duh. It’s pink, same root word as cherries.

Indigo. Like the bunting.

Also I’d like to mention in passing all the crayon color names Crayola used in the 1950s and 1960s but would not be caught dead using today, such as “flesh” and “Indian red.” This is probably a good thing, but kind of sad.

Puce – I go Pogo, too.
Octarine – because the world NEEDS a color name for the radiant emissions caused by quantum tunneling on the event horizon of a black hole.

In my youth my favorite color in the crayon box was pine green. Or if I was in a scatological mood, one or more of the Umbers and Siennas would work, too.

Oh, and out of respect for my father the former model-railroader: grimy black.

This is the color of a black tanker car (prior to environmental regulations) after a few different chemicals have overflowed the sides at various fill-ups during its useful lifetime.

I don’t have a favourite obscure colour, but I love the colour the sky gets when the sun has dropped below the horizon and pink bleeds upwards into ever-darkening blue through to indigo. I could look at that for hours, especially with the odd tree sillhouetted black against the sky. Pity it only lasts a few minutes.

Bonnie @ 140:
I never knew Amaranth was considered a colour until now. I just thought of it as an ingredient in my favourite organic breakfast cereal, Mesa Sunrise. (Or an old White Wolf gaming reference).

Ardprest @ 125/126:
For some reason that spelling error totally tickled my funnybone and a literally laughed until I cried. I think it was that near-hysteria hilarity reaction from being very tired at work at 4.23 am. That’s anyway. I needed the laugh.

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