Forbes Pigment Collection

The Forbes Pigment Collection, located in Cambridge Massachusetts, at the Straus Center for Conservation, is home to a vast collection of brilliant pigments collected from all over the world. The collection is housed at one of four research centers under the umbrella of the Harvard Art Museum.

The collection is impressive by any standard.

the forbes pigment collection







the forbes pigment collection






The collection was started in the early 1900’s by Edward Forbes and it continues to grow. Currently it houses about 2500 samples. If you add historical binding media and equipment there is over 3600 samples! In addition to all the ancient pigments, the museum has begun to collect contemporary synthetic pigments of the last seventy years.

The impressive collection are some of the tools the dedicated labs at the center use to analyze the structure and identity of works of art. In 2007 the collection was used by researchers to determine the authenticity of several paintings thought to have been painted by Jackson Pollock. The Forbes Pigment Collection helped prove that several of the pigments on these paintings were first manufactured in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Pollock died in 1956.

This panorama of color, displayed in glass jars and tubes of various sizes and sorts, has pigments ranging from the benign and ordinary to the exotic and rather toxic like King’s Yellow (contains arsenic) or Mercadmium Orange (contains mercury, cadmium).







Many of these pigments have interesting stories associated with them. Mummy Brown. Also known as Egyptian brown, was made from White Pitch, Myrrh and  ground up ancient Egyptians (Mummies). Indian Yellow. Made from the dried urine of cows.

More detailed information on the Forbes Pigment Collection can be found here.

Hot Colors for 2016

Hot Stuff


Many of the paint companies put forth their “hot” color for the year.  This year (2016) there are some interesting choices.

Kelly-Moore Paint: Horizon Grey



horizon grey color


Kelly-More states: “Gray continues to take center stage for neutrals and this atmospheric mid-toned gray provides comfort and versatility. An understated calm neutral and go to color for a wide variety of items and spaces. It is a natural fit for the bedroom, and living room but certainly not limited to these areas”.


Benjamin Moore: Simply White


simply white color


Benjamin Moore: “The color white is transcendent, powerful, and polarizing”.


Glidden: Cappuccino White

Olympic: Blue Cloud

Pittsburg: Paradise found

All three are part of the PPG family

hot colors


Cappuccino White


cappuccino white color


Glidden:  “A delicate, creamy neutral that creates a peaceful calm in any space. Here, it complements a light neutral in a bright, airy kitchen. Cappuccino White creates a sense of delicacy and graceful design that promotes wellness, purity, mindfulness, balance, privacy and peace. It is the color of seashells and ocean-smooth rocks. The elegant white pairs well with delicate pastels and light neutrals”.


Blue Cloud


blue cloud color


Olympic: “Sparkling and deep undertone that resembles the ocean on a clear day. An unapologetic blue that is easily noticed, it is impactful, self-expressive, social and glamorous. The tone is sparkling and deep”.


Paradise Found


paradise found color


Pittsburg:  “A calm tone getting a lot of love this year. The quiet shade fits in perfectly with natural environments. It is a serious green that is nurturing as well as sturdy and protective. While Paradise Found appears quiet and muffled, it provides a sense of strength and organic energy that is reminiscent of the military and natural environments”.


Fine Paints of Europe: Piano Key


piano key color


Fine Paints of Europe: “A rich luminous black. “From high-fashion gowns to high-gloss paint, black is at once classic and rebellious, prestigious and edgy”.


Farrow & Ball: Salon Drab


Salon-Drab color


Farrow & Ball : They actually have 9 new colors this year in. You can see the other 8 here.  They have unique colors. I really like what they offer.




Benjamin Moore:


Fine Paints Of Europe:

Farrow & Ball:


Make any Room more Interesting

An accent wall can add excitement to any room. Accent walls are generally painted in a deeper, bolder color than a room’s walls and ceiling. This design technique can bring some definition to an otherwise featureless room, or it can enhance a focal point already present in a room, such as a fireplace or bay window.

Uniquely Yours

Although going with a darker color is the “norm”. This is an opportunity for you to express your own taste and personality. It is quite common for us to adjust a particular color on the job site making the color uniquely yours.

Feeling and personality

Accent walls suggest a particular feeling and personality. A vibrant bright wall might energize a room, while a softer shade might create a sense of tranquility. If you want to define a separate space within a room – a reading area, for example, or a sunny area – an accent wall can do the trick.

Basic color theory

color wheel

Warm colors—orange, yellow, and red—tend to pull the wall towards the eye, which makes a space appear smaller.

If you decide to use a warm color on your accent wall, consider using a wall that can handle being foreshortened. A good place to use a warm accent wall is in a long, narrow room — by painting an end wall it will create a more balanced space.

Cool colors—green, blue, and purple—tend to pull the wall away from the eye, which makes a small room appear larger.

By using a cool color on an end wall or side wall in a room, you can make a small room appear larger, or make a skinny room appear wider.

An accent wall can make a large room feel cozier, or a small room more expansive. There are many reasons to create an accent wall, but the process isn’t quite as simple as it seems. Choosing the right wall is Important, as is selecting the right color. Painting an accent wall is the kind of project that provides a lot of return for little investment – as long as you do your homework.

Find a wall that stands out

Many people believe that the first wall you see when you enter a room is the best one to accent. The best accent wall is the wall that stands out in the room. It’s the wall you are drawn to when you enter the room. If you are unable to determine which wall stands out in your room, ask a friend or family member to walk into the room and let you know which wall seems to draw their attention.

Accent walls are often without doors or windows but I have found that the right color can also make a unique wall even more attractive. For example a wall with a fireplace in the middle of it can be perfectly framed with a bold color that reflects upon your decor. Accent walls are an area of decorating that blend perfectly with experimentation. There really are no hard rules in my opinion just general guidelines. Be bold and express yourself.

It is best to choose a wall that may already be a focal point, if one exists, like a fireplace wall. Accenting a wall in a room that already has a focal point can create confusion and weaken the aesthetics of the room. You don’t want two walls in a single room competing for the eye’s attention.


An accent wall’s color is meant to stand out from the remaining walls. There’s no reason, however, that the two colors can’t be related. A common practice is to paint the accent wall the same color as the primary walls, but two or three shades darker. A room’s existing furnishings may provide inspiration; throw pillows or drapes often suggest an accent color.