Self Changing Colors

Self Changing Colors

Ongoing Generative Art Project 2017-2018

Self Changing Colors is an ongoing art project with real world effects–effects that are helping me recover my health.

One painting is generated each month by a simple rule:  every day I will do things that are good for me and record how I feel before and after–in the form of a color.

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Sharing each new painting along with the ups and downs of it's creation in a monthly email. Separate from my general email list.

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Help me build new connections to replace the ones I lost during the years I was too sick to make art.

Support this project by tagging #SelfChangingColors on social media and sharing this link or any of the images on this page.


About Self Changing Colors

Heather Watts

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
–Bertold Brecht

I don’t often talk about the details of my health problems outside close friends and family, but I actually have food sensitivities which are so severe that I’ve been drinking most of my nutrition in the form of an unflavored tube-feeding formula for the past three and a half years.  I currently eat about a half cup of food per day.

I get symptoms in multiple systems of the body (gut, brain, nervous system, muscles, joints…) and can have severe mood swings when I react to foods.  I’ve gone undiagnosed and been misdiagnosed repeatedly since seeking help six years ago.  It’s been a long road and by late last year I could feel my hope starting to dwindle.

So I came up with an art project to help me get better, re-ignite that flickering spark of hope and allow me to make art even on the worst of days.

Now I’m finally on what looks to be the right path towards diagnosis and treatment with my doctor.  Things are looking up and in part I have this project to thank!

Here’s how it works:  Every day I do a series of things that contribute to my current or future well being.  Each positive activity is represented as a diagonally-bisected square for “before” and “after” colors.  As the day progresses the activities stack up and I literally “stack” the colors from bottom to top in a vertical column on the page.

I offset the columns depending on what time I start my activities each day.  Every day I begin a new column beside the previous one and start again at the bottom, over and over until a month of days/columns is finished.  Then I start the whole process over again the next month on a new piece of paper.

As time passes the accumulated positive actions should gradually improve my life, changing how I feel and thus causing the colors themselves to change.  If all goes as planned over the course of 2017 and 2018, this project will generate a series of 24 works (one per month) that look dramatically different at the end of the project than at the beginning.