Jen Craun

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On Color, and Timing.

I find myself often mixing a certain color of ink, and then nearly immediately identifying it’s exact match in my local life or surroundings. I labored pretty intensely over the color selections for the edition of pressure prints that I created for ArtCares. I knew I wanted a richly saturated dark and warm navy blue for the symbols, and a nearly-green brightly glowing and hopeful yellow underneath. It’s a color pairing I don’t often make in my work, and I was crossing my fingers that the layers wouldn’t mash up into some kind murky green field.

Because I was working on the letterpress, with super stiff-to-mix rubber inks, I whipped out the Pantone swatch book to have a parts-to-whole ratio to work with for each of my my colors. I finally made my two selections, mixed them up, and tested them out together in the small study print pictured below.

Exactly the colors I envisioned, the glowing yellow still visibly heard under the haze of blue. I snapped a few pictures for my process records, and after editing them, I saved them onto my desktop. It was then that I noticed.

This February, we sponsored a friend’s mission trip to Jamaica to build a house for a family there. I looked again at the photographs that she had sent me via her phone, I had kept them also on my cluttered desktop. I remembered the day and moment exactly when I received them in a text message, all the way from Jamaica instantly. I remember the delightful surprise of seeing color. Such an unexpected beauty in the otherwise functional project. I remember thinking how heavenly the yellow interior walls poured out a fiercely glowing light from the windows and [at the time of the photograph] roofless blue house.

I saw on this second looking, with my photographs now side-by-side, a palette that had worked it’s way into my heart first, my thoughts second, and thirdly into these prints. It’s an absolute wonder sometimes, at our connections to color. The way the mind stores up beauty, and the innate desire we have to recreate.

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