Out of my color comfort zone

Living in New England, I must admit I am spoiled when it comes to the surrounding environmental colors. Lush green trees, sparkling blue waters, pure white snow against crisp blue skies and brilliant yellows, oranges and reds of the Fall foliage. That’s why I was so out of my color comfort zone last week while vacationing in Arizona. I joked on Facebook that I felt like I had landed on another planet, either that or I was in Afghanistan. At first I just didn’t get why everyone told me how beautiful Arizona is. I saw only brown, grey/green and terracotta and to me it looked depressing and barren.

Scottsdale AZ

Scottsdale AZ

After a few days though, my visual color meter adjusted and my color comfort zone expanded. By the time we left I had a new found appreciation of the all the subtle earth tones. I saw so much beauty in the Arizona color palette. As we drove north from Scottsdale to the North rim of the Grand Canyon I couldn’t get enough. Here are some of my favorite color palettes.

Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale Arizona

Terracotta and sage green were the primary colors of our drive north to the Grand Canyon.

View from Najaho Bridge

View from Navajo Bridge

I loved the layers upon layers of soft pinks and browns.

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layer upon layer of soft neutrals

I saw so few bright colors while in AZ that when I did see one it really popped out against the quiet neutrals.

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Bright red stop sign in the desert

Approaching the North Rim of the Canyon was eye opening. There was a huge fire in 2012 and the mountains sides were stripped clean of all vegetation. In the years since, the hills are reforesting and bright yellow Aspen trees are the first to re-establish.

Yellow Aspen trees re-establishing forest growth.

Yellow Aspen trees re-establishing forest growth.

The bright yellow of the trees against the chard black tree trunks was surreal and looked like an abstract painting.

North Rim Grand Canyon

North Rim Grand Canyon

The grand Canyon itself is layer upon layer of browns, reds, grays and greens.

Sedona AZ

Sedona AZ

The red rocks of Sedona are of course world famous. When the sun hits them in the evening they almost glow.

One of the things I loved most about Arizona is something we don’t have here in New England and that is “big sky”. How can you not love a huge expanse of blue sky dotted with white clouds?

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To me, these colors are breathtakingly beautiful; soft neutrals against a clean blue sky. Nature never gets it wrong does she?

What do you think of the Arizona colors?

6 Responses to Out of my color comfort zone
  1. Laurel Anderson Reply

    You are absolutely right about the color change of the deserts. It is so much more subtle than the lush tropical country I live in, Costa Rica, where bright tropical flowers and lush green abounds. I love the desert colors because they are soothing and peaceful. My family lives in Yucca Valley and my favorite time of day is sunset when the pinks and lavenders become highlighted by the sun’s last rays. One has to be at peace to appreciate these subtle colors and I think they would make a lovely interior decor scheme.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      That is so true Laurel. Once I adjusted to the drastic change in what I am used to, the beauty of the desert colors became very evident to me.

  2. kelly Reply

    Looks beautiful Linda. Somewhere I always wanted to go. Glad you had a good time and able to see the different color patterns.

  3. Deborah Main Reply

    What a great post Linda….and I am always so impressed with the quality of your photos. I’m originally from New England and NY but have lived most of my life in Austin. I live for the wide open spaces and huge sky when we go west. Altho I haven’t been to Arizona we love W. TX, NM and Colorado. I also just love the open road and could stare at the barren earth and sky forever. You did a great job pointing out the amazing color palette of the west. It’s so striking! Knowing too the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, it all makes sense. It’s beautiful country!

  4. Tina Gleisner Reply

    Linda, Great story & one I can appreciate as we are packing as we’re becoming snow birds & will spend winters just outside Phoenix, so next trip you’ll have to visit.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Wow, good for you! Very different from NH that’s for sure. Don’t think I could live there but it was fun to visit.

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