Shape, Value, and Color

Cape Cod Life  /  April/May 2022 /

Writer: Chris White

Painter Deborah Quinn-Munson describes her childhood self as “one of those kids who was always drawing.“ Deborah Quinn-Munson Photo by Polly Castor By age fifteen, she had sold her first painting and launched her decades-long career as an artist. “My parents saw something in me,” she recalls, “and it was great that they promoted this.” They provided art lessons to feed Deb’s early interest, and when Quinn-Munson enrolled in courses at the prestigious DeCordova Museum School in Lincoln, MA, at age 14, she was already so advanced that she took classes with adults rather than other kids. At the same time, she was a student in Wayland, but says that “DeCordova enhanced my high school program.” While it may be relatively common for parents to support the passions of their children, perhaps the most essential gift that Quinn-Munson’s father and mother bestowed upon their daughter was Cape Cod, which would begin to influence Deborah almost as soon as the family purchased a summer home in Harwich Port when she was about ten years old. “Part of who I am is defined by my time on the Cape,” she says. Ever since those first days at the beach, she’s been “always exploring.” As a little girl, Deborah Quinn-Munson had yet to define or refine her ideas about making art or about painting, but she would later come to think of her creative process as one that incorporates or layers three crucial elements: shape, value, and color. A child artist’s eye, sensibilities, and emotions likely take in all these pieces organically or even unconsciously. But the marshes and waters of the Cape, and later Flints Pond, upon the banks of which DeCordova stands, provided a wealth of shapes from boats to beach features and the waves of the Nantucket Sound, an array of…

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Chris White

Chris White is a frequent writer for Cape Cod Life Publications and has written on topics ranging from the history of Smith’s Tavern on Wellfleet Island to the sinking of the SS Andrea Doria off Nantucket. Chris also teaches English at Tabor Academy in Marion.