Color Evolution: Crusade 52

 When Michelle Ward asked if our color palette changed from winter to summer, it was a hard question to answer. When you live on the Sonoran desert floor, the tendency is to quiet down in the summer. When people in other parts of the country are running around outdoors, we desert dwellers are looking for every scrap of shade we can find. It was 111 degrees F today, and it will be 113 tomorrow. That’s just not running around weather. Talk to me again in last September and October when our temperatures are in the 80s and I’ll be perkier.

Back to Michelle’s question–do the colors you use in your  artwork change? I wanted to check on something slightly different–color evolution. I’ve spent most of my adult life on the East Coast. The light is different, the culture is different, surely the colors I used in my art journal pages were different.

What I had forgotten is exactly how much those colors had changed. Let’s take a look. This is a drawing I did after my first visit–nothing wrong with pen and ink, but it is a bit spare.

In my East Coast days, I limited my drawing to a small area, and my hand lettering yearned for the traditional.

This drawing was made when I was already in Phoenix. It spreads across the page, but it’s still kind of restrictive.

The color doesn’t surprise me as much as the space use and technique. I sprayed ink randomly on the pages, then created a map. Much less control, much more randomness. Notice the title, “The world turned upside down,” is actually upside down.

Again, full spread in uncontrolled colors. Also cut paper, stitching, and writing in different directions. There is a line of words up the left third of the page that says “If you aren’t failing some of the time, you aren’t trying hard enough.” It’s written in silver sparkle ink–a color unknown to me on the East Coast.

I’ve always loved found poetry, and always used it. But I rarely spread it out across a page and used red so heavily. On the East Coast, I didn’t own red. It was a color I didn’t like. Here, well, it adds heat. The poem reads:

Your Choice

He does not know that he is in love with her.
His mind slammed tightly closed, a violent “no!”
His life suddenly seems unaccountably sabotaged.
“Never mind. It doesn’t matter.”
A woman in the kitchen, her eyes so blue.
She wanted to be out of the
quiet swiftness. That meant nothing.
Then, suddenly, like a hand passed over his face, his smile would come, transforming it.”

I knew I’d changed my color choices, but I didn’t know how much. It’s good to watch your own growth.

What’s changed in your life? Check out Michelle Ward’s Street Team Crusades and join the fun!

–Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling, almost ready to ship!

28 thoughts on “Color Evolution: Crusade 52

  1. What an amazing difference! Interesting how place has such an effect on us. I like both your styles, but there’s no denying that your desert work is more free spirited.

  2. It’s 12 degrees here today (53.6 your language) so a little desert heat would be nice – but only just enough to warm me up. I prefer the cool basically. Anyway… it’s interesting to see how what you do has evolved. There’s so much more freedom now. And how cool that you have work you can look back on and compare with.

    • Wow, Cath, that’s cold for June! Where are you? It’s the beginning of two months of intense heat her, but then again, we never have to shovel it. Isn’t it interesting to see art evolve?

  3. This is one of your postings that I followed to Michelle Ward’s page and then started looking at some of the participant blogs. I found one that I especially love and the woman lives in Holland. I think it’s Exploring Art, I love the simplicity of the art journal spreads she does and like your postings, I’m motivated to start art journaling. I’ve bought magazines and books and I think your new book will be the LAST ONE. I don’t need to buy any more books – I need to DO and BE the artist that I already am. I met you in person 2 years ago at Art Unraveled but was unable to take your class. Now that the book is published, I’m hoping you’ll be at AU in 2012. Keep up the great work.

    • On the link you provided, she is offering labels to use on your own journal. Michelle has done that too, so it’s possible to get TWO sets of free labels for your journal! I’m glad you are buying my book–very glad! But never say never. There are so many delicious books still to come. . .maybe even my next one! What’s important is that you enjoy discovering the details of your own journey. Doing art and being who you are and showing up in the world that way is most important, you are right. I am not sure yet about AU 2012, but I’ll announce it on my site if I go!

  4. What a fascinating journey through your eyes and some beautiful pages and techniques. I’ve not come across the expression ‘found poety’ before so maybe I just need to go look up your book!

  5. Wow, I love your artwork!! And your thoughts on how geography has affected your art.
    Do you journal every day??
    The found poetry is something I’ve never tried, but now I’m going to!! Thanks for sharing all this.

    • Joan, I do write every day, but it may not be art journaling. I have a To-do journal in which I keep to-do lists, client notes, etc. Then I have the art journal, and there are pages that are just writing. So I work in a journal every day, but it may not be a presentable page. And, uhhhhh, about found poetry? Page 22 of my book. You know, just sayin. . .

  6. Beautiful! It must be wonderful to have journals that you can allow you to look back upon changes in your art. Most of my early journals are writing and not visual, but I am starting to change that. Thank you for mapping your migrations.

  7. it was great to see the progression of how your art changed! Guess the subconscious is very aware of the closeness or openness of our surroundings! May the big sky of the dessert always fine its way to your art 🙂

  8. Quinn – I cracked up at your comment on the team blog, that you are currently set at “broil”. I also loved reading what you said about observing your East Coast art as being emotionally claustrophobic. Love that you interpreted the challenge as an East/West color evolution. The whole point was to pay attention to our color choices and what causes shifts – so you helped us to see how global placement can influence a change in our approach to art. Thanks for the verbal and visual tour of your color selections and style growth!

    • Thanks, Michelle. I went to grad school in Los Angeles, then moved East. The tall trees, the highways cut in the granite rock faces, the often-cloudy sky gave me terrible claustrophobia. It took me years to get used to it. It was fascinating to think it made a difference in my art. This was a fascinating challenge–thanks for coming up with it!

  9. Thanks for you lovely note on my crusade page! I had to pop over and now I am subscribed to your blog . I find the idea of East Coast cool interesting. I too am a native New Englander (who has been sorely homesick recently for some reason). I have been living in the Pacific Northwest for 20 years now though and you’re totally right I think my work has become more expansive. Honestly, I still prefer the tang of the Atlantic to the mildness of the scent of the Pacific – but I guess this is home now. Love your page too !

  10. I love the total change in feel, color, texture, media seen in the first pen and ink drawing – so controlled – and the last few filled with color and emotion and more spontaneity. There sure has been a change.

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