Choose Your Word, Give it a Color: Challenge 54

Michelle Ward's Crusade Challenge

Some people are addicted to Sudoku, I cannot keep my virtual fingers away from Michelle Ward’s Crusade challenges. We’ve done some neat color challenges–from color evolution to naming your own colors,  which brought Michelle (and her street team) to this color challenge: Think of a phrase or a word, then pick a color for it.

For someone who loves words and plays with colors, I reacted to this challenge like the dog who loves bacon.

My first choice was a verb: To blend. The color above reminds me of smooth, easy colors. So I chose this mix of cream and Naples yellow.

Could be a map, but it's a color called Passport

My second word was Passport. I thought of the first time I got on an airplane as a child and was horrified that I couldn’t see the state outlines like they had on maps. Passports remind me of borders and change. So this change of color seemed right.

A good color for a hard emotion.

Next was Retribution. I thought of it when I used the quote “Retribution is like stabbing yourself in the heart 1,000 times to hurt the other person.” This seemed just about right. It’s an experiment using clear tar gel and Quin Orange acrylic with glass beads for texture. It seemed the right color for pain and anger. And those glass beads could stand in for salt to rub in the wound.

Works even upside down.

The last two are just goofy. I had a series of yellow paint samples. On a brown background, the staircase could go either way. So this is called Staircase.

And finally, in honor of the summer that would not quit in Phoenix, I have Landscape. It’s a piece of handmade paper with grass inclusions. There are also paper inclusions that look like money. Which, of course, I would pay to make it cooler. Too obvious, maybe, but I couldn’t help myself.

Want to play with words and colors, but don’t have a studio full of paint and paper scraps? Here’s The Color Of: a website that will help you create colors. You type in a word, and it accesses images on Flickr that contain your word in the title or tags, then layers the main colors until it creates a blend. It’s fun.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist who is thinking about her next book. Her first, Raw Art Journaling, has just been released on Kindle, after making it to the top of three categories at

23 thoughts on “Choose Your Word, Give it a Color: Challenge 54

  1. I have tar gel and have used it once and that was to encase a dead moth on a page. You’ve inspired me to play with it, thanks! I love “to blend” it’s dreamy looking!

  2. Great names, and the explanations really bring them home. I especially like the Passport! It really evoked memories and current events for me. Great photos. I’m going to try passport and retribution. Too yummy not to experiment!

  3. How about named colors that have no referent? Fuligin (the color darker than black) and octarine (the eighth color of the spectrum, the color of magic).

    • Use the link at the end of the blog post and see what color it comes up with. I haven’t heard of either of those colors, Pete, am am so glad you told us about them. I kinda like octarine, which reminds me of a musical nectarine.

  4. I am in the ART workshop for RAW (just so you know.. lol)
    I love your writing – so you not only make wonderful art, you can explain it very well! LOL … retribution is my favorite. Only thing I don’t have it the glass bead medium. Hmmm … one of my kid’s stuffed toys just sprung a leak with those tiny beads … wonder if I could get that to work????

    • You know me, I’d give it a try. They aren’t glass, but it would be fun to see what happens. The joy of gel medium is that it is an experimenter’s dream. Thanks for being in the class. I’m having a lot of fun, too.

  5. Quinn, these are all wonderful! ‘Retribution’ is so cool, and I love the quote, too. Guess what I just put on my wish list? clear tar gel! I’m going now to check out the website. Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Quinn, these are great. That red – retribution – with the imbedded glass – wow, what a work of color art. I would love to start a mixed media piece on a similar background. Inspiration strikes!

    I also love the word passport — it’s the kind of word that builds in permission to travel, after all you have your identification in order, you know WHO you are. You are prepared. You are ready to explore — love the word passport…

    Mmmm, such deep inspiration early in the morning, thank you soooo much!

  7. Quinn – love that first color blend. If I had to name it after, I would call it Meringue or Marmalade. Love the color for Passport – great word to define, and you put it so well. I have never seen shredded money embedded in paper before – very cool! Thanks for sharing your color interpretations with the team!

    • What made this challenge so interesting is that you get totally different results for colors when you choose a name first. Like you, had I started with the color, I would have named it “butterscotch dessert,” but starting out with the idea first make the approach completely different! Thanks for the great challenge.

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