Illuminating and Ultimate Gray

Every year I look forward to the announcement of Pantone’s “Color of the Year”. This year — which has been exceptional in so many ways — offered quite a surprise. Pantone chose not one, but two colors. They are “Illuminating” — a lovely light yellow — and “Ultimate Gray”.

“No one color could get across the meaning of the moment,” said Laurie Pressman, the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

This is only the second time in the 22 years that Pantone has been choosing a color of the year that two colors have been selected. It is also the first time that a gray has earned the honor, and only the second time for a yellow.

The two colors, according to the Institute, are “meant to stand on their own, as complementary colors”.

Hmmm… I’m not at all sure what that means, really. Are they stand-alone colors? Or a set of complentaries? And of course, according to the color wheel yellow and gray are not complementary at all, and is gray really a color?

I’ll leave you to debate those questions if you wish, and whatever answers you come up with are fine with me.

I’m personally pleased to see “Illuminating” — the yellow — chosen. In the past I’ve used very little yellow in my landscape paintings. Earlier this summer, however,I fell in love with lemon yellowand deemed it my new favorite.

As a way of celebrating the Pantone selection — and an opportunity to play with acrylic pouring — I grabbed Daffodil Yellow and Pavement from my craft paints. I put down a layer of white gesso, then experimented with the bottom of a plastic water bottle. I cut the bottom off, then poured my paints onto the canvas with it.

While I made a huge mess in my studio, I also had a huge amount of fun, and I think I like this acrylic pour:

RSIlluminating and Ultimate Gray (3)

I’m finding it impossible to get get photographs of the acrylic pourings I’ve been doing. The actual colors are much brighter. The picture truly doesn’t do it justice. Oh, well.

I’m having fun playing with different pouring methods as I did with this painting. I have a few other things I want to try, such as pouring paint through an old colander. I’m learning more with each pour, am beginning to figure out how much paint to use, and I’ve realized that I like putting down a solid white acrylic gesso before I pour. As I figure out more tips and tricks, I’m sure I’ll come up with fluid art projects that I can be proud to share.

So, this is my personal little tribute to Pantone’s dual colors of the year. I think in some ways, they can be symbolic — sunlight and shadow. We need both in the world, and each one helps us appreciate the other all the more.


    1. Yes! It fits nicely with all I’ve been studying, and I think it’s an interesting representation for what’s been a very interesting year. I was surprised when Pantone chose 2 colors, but they really do fit together quite nicely. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I like the colors together, so now I’ll need to get some info about varnishing the piece after it’s completely dry. I think that might bring back a bit of the brightness. Any suggestions?


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