The Curious Garden

The Peter Brown Studio

A while back, I tweeted this:

It’s true.  This book immediately jumped off the shelf at me because of the colors on the cover.  I LOVE the desaturated tones and vintage feel of the art.  But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about that story that buttonhooked me.

Little Liam lives in a dingy and dreary city that is made up of not much but cement and walls.  On a walk one day, he sees some old, abandoned train tracks leading to a tiny struggling garden.  Liam decides to give it some love and care, and ultimately the garden blooms.


Now.  Color is complicated.  A bunch of disciplines have perspectives on it to explain what is most relevant to them.  The physiology of color tells us how light is shot into the eyeball, processed, and interpreted.  Cones and rods and the optic nerve!  There’s the science of color which refers to how color is quantified and coded and spaced on a color wheel.  The psychology of color is always fun…who decided red means love and green means envy?  Or that a yellow room makes you anxious?

Let’s not bother with that yet.  Let’s definitely not bother with ROY G. BIV or complementary colors or tertiary colors or triads or additive mixing or Sir Isaac Newton…

Let’s just talk about the pretty colors.  Liam’s story drives the palette throughout, and it slightly changes from desaturated tones to more vibrant ones as the city becomes greener.  How beautiful is that?  I’m crazy about the blues in the sky.  Even though Liam’s city is a gloomy place, the world itself is not!  It’s a bright and calming blue, and such a lovely backdrop for the fresh greens sprouting.  And how adorable is Liam’s mop of red hair…the reds and oranges complement the blues and punch Liam out of the page as the leader to watch.  This is not an accident!  Peter Brown masterfully used his color palette to tell Liam’s story.



You can buy prints of Peter Brown’s art here.  {The bear screaming among the flamingos just kills me.  If your work can make me laugh and break my heart at the same time, I think I love you.}