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Road Trip in Color

Road trip color studies by Cathy Durso

Before leaving for my recent two-week road trip through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota, I gave myself an assignment: to do a color study in watercolor each day of the trip. I only ended up doing six studies, two on each of three days of the trip, but continued after we got home, relying on memory and photos to complete the series.

Road trip color studies by Cathy Durso

I would do two pieces each from the same location or moment, using the same or similar colors. Sometimes I would do the first piece and then decide that the colors were a little off, and adjust them for the second piece. Other times, I couldn’t decide which were the correct colors, and the two pieces would show a different view of the same scene. This would happen whether I was working on site, from memory, or from photos.

Road trip color studies by Cathy Durso

Now, looking at each set of two together, the shifts in color, shape, and composition evoke a sense of time passing, light changing, or the feeling of seeing things in a different way every time you look up.

Road trip color studies by Cathy Durso

This is the very definition of what happens during travel: it’s about experiencing things (scenery, in this case) in the present, and then interpreting what you’ve seen from a combination of memory and photographs. Which is the correct version? Is there a correct version?

Road trip color studies by Cathy Durso

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