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Rejoice! There’s a new blue!

Okay, but it’s kind of a big deal. Blue is a rare color in nature, and stable blue pigments even rarer. For a long time, all we had were ground up semi-precious stones like Lapis, which is why they saved it for the Virgin Mary’s robes. You probably knew that.

Even now, many blue pigments – the cobalts, for example – are expensive and a bit toxic. Cerulean is a cobalt color and very expensive and I have to have one tube on hand, because it is exactly the slightly lemony blue of the sky at the horizon. I still have the same tube from art school because I don’t paint landscapes very often.

This new one is called YinMn Blue but it is not, as it sounds, Chinese. It was discovered by two guys at Oregon State University twelve years ago. They were looking for novel electronic components. The name is from the three elements that make it up: Yttrium (Y), Indium (In), and Magnesium (Mn).

In the improbable event you find this at all interesting, there’s a good article on it here.

It looks like a good blue. Strong and opaque, but not overwhelming when mixed with other colors. I was once traumatized by a tragic pthalocyanine raw pigment spill. It stained me and everything I touched a vivid blue.

Sad to inform you that BullDawgGuy has won the pool with Rush Limbaugh. Fare thee well, Rush.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 16, 2021, 7:45 pm

To this day, I won’t have a tube of pthalo blue in my paint box. After one use, it permanently stains paint brushes and won’t wash out. Feh!

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 16, 2021, 8:21 pm

Hard to find?
In the land of blueness itself?


Woad’s the stuff to show men!
Woad to scare your foemen!
Boil it to
a brilliant blue
and rub it on your legs
and your Abdo-men!


Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 16, 2021, 8:25 pm

How do you get the blue from woad?

Comment from dangedyankee
Time: February 16, 2021, 8:50 pm

I hope Someveg is doing okay. You out there Someveg?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 16, 2021, 9:27 pm

Ah, but woad is a dye. As opposed to a pigment. Dyes dissolve in their medium, pigments do not. Dyes are inherently impermanent.

An acceptably permanent use of a dye is something like alizarine crimson, where it is precipitated onto a carrier such as aluminum. But it’s still on the low side of permanence.

I was the nerdiest painter ever.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 16, 2021, 9:58 pm

Sweasy – cool! Never thought of it like that! Dye, vs pigment.
Makes sciency sense.
(I wanted to be a history major, not a scientist!)

An AR’TEEST, I am not. Though I can paint an apartment in one afternoon, two coats! (sneaky movie reference).

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: February 16, 2021, 10:06 pm


When you were discussing “pthalo blue” I immediately thought of “Psaki Jen.”

It was totally a reflex, I swear! Like sneezing or coughing…

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 16, 2021, 10:51 pm

Thanks for checking on me durned Yankee. We are….fine, just fine! Kinda. We have been playing rolling power roulette like everybody – we have been getting two or three hours out of every twelve. Our snug little ranch house in the valley has done remarkably well; the lowest we have seen inside the house is 55 (12.8 C) when the temp outside hit 5 degrees (-15C). I guess all that insulation against the heat helps against the cold too. Still: We have the water dripping furiously from ever faucet and we are doing all the secret incantations against freezing pipes that we can think of. So far so good.

We both got a quick hot splash in the bath for the first time in a couple days last time the power came on and that was great!. It’s been quite the experience. It could be worse though – our friends in Grapevine have been without power for 35 straight hours. They finally abandoned ship when the house hit 44 inside and moved to a friend’s place that at least has intermittent power.

I have learned a few random things that may be of interest:

I got a lesson in practical physics this morning; I decided that I would make urban cowboy coffee by using the side burner on my gas grill. I have half a tank of propane so I’ll heat a pot of water and pour it in my little French Press just like the pioneers did. Except that at 5 degrees the propane is chilled to the point there wasn’t enough gas pressure to light the burner. Okay then. I did bring the tank inside the house and so tomorrow morning I will take it out hook it up to the grill and there WILL be coffee!

Our friends’ $25,000 solar power system is NOT apparently the answer – it seems that they don’t have a battery storage system, and anyhow their panels are covered with ice and snow. So they got nuthin either.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 16, 2021, 11:21 pm

Side bar: Seeing “pthalocyanine” made me think of my late father. Not the word itself, but those first three letters. He would illustrate the utter irrationality of English language pronunciation by asking, “How do you pronounce ‘ghoti’ and ‘phtholognyrrh’?”

For ‘ghoti’, it’s ‘gh’ as in ‘cough’, ‘o’ as in ‘women’, and ‘ti’ as in ‘diction’. Therefore ‘ghoti’ is pronounced FISH.

For ‘phtholognyrrh’, it’s ‘phth’ as in ‘phthalazine’ (U.S. pronunciation), ‘olo’ as in ‘colonel’, ‘gn’ as in ‘gnostic’, and ‘yrrh’ as in ‘myrrh’. Therefore ‘phtholognyrrh’ is pronounced TURNER.

I miss my dad. When I was of an age to be told bedtime stories, he’d make up science fiction tales with math and logic problems in them, off the top of his head, just for me.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 16, 2021, 11:26 pm

And while power is up and there’s nothing to do:

There’s talk on the street; it sounds so familiar.

Great expectations, everybody’s watching Blue.

Artists he meets, they all seem to know him.

Even your old paint treats him like he’s something new.

YinMn Blue come lately, the new pigment in town.

Everybody loves you, so don’t let them down.

You tell her her eyes are YinMn Blue and the music begins to play.
Hopeless romantics, here we go again.

But after a while they’re looking maybe a kind of gray.

You mixed in some Black 3.0 – and it never blends.

YinMn Blue come lately, the new pigment in town.

Will Weasel still love you if you were to fade just a little bit brown?


With apologies to The Eagles

Comment from OldFert
Time: February 16, 2021, 11:37 pm

“I was the nerdiest painter ever.”

Keep dropping those little nuggets, Sweas. I like getting dabs of knowledge.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: February 16, 2021, 11:50 pm

@someveg- my nephew lives in Houston and finally got power after 37 hours without. He put solar panels on his house this last year and clucked at me for spending several thousand more than he did for my natural gas whole house generator. He also did not put in the battery storage system so his solar was/ is currently of no use. He let me know he now fully appreciates my investment in my generator.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 17, 2021, 2:26 am

I’ve been logging it – we’re at about 10 hours of intermittent power over the last 48.

Our lowest temp was just before we got the longest run of 4 hours of sweet electric heroin. 51F inside on the North facing side of the house.
Course being a camper I’ve been running propane heaters off and on every few hours to try and stabilize the temp at 50+.
But I’m kinda about outta small propane bottles.
Got so bad I used the ones I had for soldering rosin lead solder and they don’t work on the new solder anyway.

And worrying about carbon monoxide the entire time….

Someveg – I also discovered what you did when camping last December using those nifty Korean table top butane burners. When the temp is down in the 40’s the butane doesn’t Butte. But they worked well when the temps inside are in the 50’s for making coffee, heating water and scrambled eggs, toast and sausage. Or oatmeal cooked in big old tin cups (Thank you Civil War re-enacting).

Comment from Ben
Time: February 17, 2021, 3:23 am

Ahh, butane
At 41 F Butane in a closed container only generates about 3 psi. This isn’t really enough pressure to do much of anything. And the nozzle get smaller due to the metal being cold.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 17, 2021, 2:12 pm

@Ben, yes, hard discovery, butane is not a good winter survival item.

Wood still burns though, and a good thing too.

Comment from blake
Time: February 17, 2021, 5:38 pm

||I was once traumatized by a tragic pthalocyanine raw pigment spill.

If I had a nickel…

||For ‘phtholognyrrh’, it’s ‘phth’ as in ‘phthalazine’ (U.S. pronunciation), ‘olo’ as in ‘colonel’, ‘gn’ as in ‘gnostic’, and ‘yrrh’ as in ‘myrrh’. Therefore ‘phtholognyrrh’ is pronounced TURNER.

I’ve never seen that one. I love that stuff.

‘course, the notion that words should be “spelled how they sound” presents a whole ‘nother rafter of problems.

“When you say jump, we say ‘How high?'”

In certain areas this becomes:

“Wen ye sai jump, we sai ‘Ha ha?'”

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 17, 2021, 7:01 pm

When “Can’t” rhymes with “paint”.

and it’s spelled Cockburn, it’s pronounced Co-Burn.

Dalziel is pronounced Dee-El.

RaymondLuxuryYacht is pronounced Throatwarblermangrove.
I’ll give it this, the Durned surname uses every letter properly.
Getting people to put the r’s in the right places is another story.

Comment from BJM
Time: February 18, 2021, 1:45 am

If y’all live in the country a wood burner of some sort is a necessity in a cold climate. When we renovated we added a wood stove in the great room…best investment ever.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 18, 2021, 12:10 pm

More orthoepical amusements:

St. John == “SIN gin”
Cholmondeley == “CHUM lee”
Ralph Fiennes == “Rafe Fines”

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