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Posts Tagged ‘color’

Easter bunny Spring 2014

Local bunnies are quickly changing their winter coats for brown ones these days.  Though they may still be streaked with white above their noses and along their backsides, soon the snowshoe hares will be wearing solid brown.  Make that, solid chocolate brown.

snowshoe hare spring coat

Peter Rabbit on the runActually, it’s more like tawny brown.  But let’s not split hares.

Why you ask?  Well, it’s neither because brown is the new white in the Spring fashion world.  Nor is it because Peter Rabbit wore brown in Beatrix Potter’s children’s books.  Though naughty as he was, he did look quite charming.

They’re not wearing brown because the snow has *finally* disappeared from our neck of the woods and with it, all winter season apparel.

No, the reason why the local hares are wearing brown this week is because the daylight hours are getting longer.   Snowshoe hares have the most sensitive of eyes when it comes to differences in light.  Perhaps this is why they respond so readily with a change in fur color in spring and fall.

Easter bunny in woods

And since Easter takes place in late April this year, I’m sure the Easter Bunny will also be wearing a tawny coat.  However, in years when Easter takes place in March, he may very well be wearing white.  It’s all about camouflage with bunnies, whether they’re keeping a hop ahead of predators or sneaking around to hide Easter eggs.

bunny thinking

Wondering where the best places might be to hide eggs in the yard.

Hoppy Easter to all!

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2014

 

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soft morning light on seagrass

Behind the shore, where the dune grass grows, that’s where we’re walking today.  The sun is burning off the rest of the morning’s fog and the grass sparkles where its rays manage to shine through holes in the mist.  The golden grass is dried and brittle in springtime.  I can’t believe it’s been a quarter century since I first felt it beneath my feet.

sand dune haven

We’ve come to this place so many times, you and I, looking for fox paths and ant hills in the sand. We sit in the same spot and together we look out to the ocean.  I dream of African shores with hot sparkling sand across the Atlantic while you ask one more time if it’s still too cold to go in the water.  What three year old doesn’t come to the beach with a plan to enjoy at least one quick splash in the waves?

The golden grass and the color of your hair remind me how much you’ve tamed me these past few years.  All these twenty five years, the dune grass has been of no use to me.  Until now.

hair the color of dried grass

Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold.  Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me!  The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you.  And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .
~ The Fox to The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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Come to the marsh to see how the rising sun paints the morning sky.  Its palette is bolder than Van Gogh’s and softer than Monet’s.

I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Each morning’s painting is a revelation, presenting a selection of hues never seen together before and certainly never to be seen again.  Not even the rocks can say they’ve seen it all before.  Gray surrenders to blushes of coral and pink.  Clouds only serve to enhance the effect.

Look with your eyes but see with your soul the uniqueness of dawn’s unveiling.

If the sun dawned in the marsh and there was nobody there to see it, would it not still be beautiful?  Perhaps the herons would like to answer that question.

Surely the word ‘awesome’ should be reserved for such reflections of light on water.  Perhaps those who overuse that word these days have never witnessed such a wonder.

No matter how many times  I see the sun painting the morning sky and marsh water, my excitement doesn’t wane.  Somehow, the sun never disappoints, and despite my expectations of spectacular color combinations, I am always marvelously surprised.

These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession.
~ Claude Monet

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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Living in the woods means I have to walk towards the horizon in order to get a clear view of the dawn.  Layers of clouds made this morning’s walk especially worthwhile.  Clear skies seldom give sunrises as spectacular as this one.  Who knew there could be so many varieties of pink?

Though many find it difficult to wake before dawn, I’ve always found it easy.  Even as a child I felt that sleeping past sunrise meant I was missing out on something.  Perhaps it’s because that quiet time of day allowed me to spend some time alone with my grandfather or my dad, a precious commodity when you’re one of five children.  Years later, I realized they probably woke up early in the hope of spending some quiet moments by themselves.

Besides silence and solitude, every dawn offers endless possibilities for the day ahead.  What will happen today?  A new challenge or the completion of an old one?  Even a change of heart is possible.  Nothing seems too difficult now before the hours begin to wear us down.

Returning home, the glow from the rising sun is barely visible behind the trees.  I wonder at all I would have missed had I not ventured out.

Did you catch the rosy glow of the rising sun this morning?  No worries if you missed it.  Nature has a back-up plan for all who needed that extra bit of rest and stayed in bed past dawn.

Some of the flowers captured the dawn’s pink light at sunrise and promise to hold it for you until sunset.

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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New red maple leaves slowly open on a small tree.  Although these red maples are a symbol of Canada, in nature, we usually associate them with the fall season, not the summer.   On a warm morning in July, they stand out in bright contrast to the cool green foliage surrounding them in the forest.

Similarly, red elderberries are easy to see against the backdrop of green.  There are lots of them this year for the birds to enjoy.  It’s unusual to see such a deep red in the woods in the summertime.  Even more unusual to see it in the salt marsh…

In the dawn’s early light, this bright red poppy stands waiting to greet the sun.  Why are poppies growing on this section of the trail between the Bald Eagle and Canada Goose Bridges?  Could this be a clue?

Captain Jefferson Clifford Francis memorial bench

It’s easy to forget what’s important as we go about our busy lives.  Regardless of the season, Nature remembers, even if we don’t.

For more on our connection with poppies see The Earth Remembers.

Captain Jefferson Francis’ memorial page at Military Mom at Home.

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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A sunflowers blooms in a bed of dried eelgrass in the salt marsh.

September’s flowers reveal varying hues of yellow in the marsh, along the roadside and in the garden.  Some, like the Sunflowers, are bright and bold, while others like the Sea Radish are pale and barely there.

Traditionally it is women who are considered best at discerning subtle differences between colors.  Often attributed to women’s historic role as fruit and nut gatherers, it’s no surprise that the ability to select safe and ripe foods is so closely tied to the skill of correctly choosing and remembering colors. 

Yet, it was two males, the colorist Josef Albers and the painter Vincent Van Gogh, who made the greatest strides in harnessing the wonders of yellow in art.

I was for years in the yellow period, you know.
~ Josef Albers

Above, a sampling of yellows  found in just six species of wildflowers reveals a marvelous variety.  September’s warm light gives them a cheerful disposition despite the approaching cold. 

The names of some flowers are inspired by their colors as in the Butter and Eggs shown above.

Like human beings, colors are influenced by others in their immediate surrounding.  They possess the magical ability to transform one another into even more wondrous versions of themselves.  How striking the Black-eyed Susan appears above against a backdrop of white spruce! 

There is no blue without yellow and without orange.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Despite advances in digital imaging, colors seen by the naked eye in natural light still cannot be replicated truly by technology.  When I was an art student, one of my painting professors told me she could tell that I had used a photograph of a sunset as the subject for a painting because she could see that I had made use of a more limited palette.  Had I made the painting looking at a real sunset, I would likely have chosen a greater variety of yellows and oranges than those  made available at the time by Kodak.

There is no substitute for seeing late summer’s yellow blooms in person.  The time to drink up your fill of them is now, while the warm September light is still able to show them at their best.

I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love.
~ Conor Oberst

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July 2nd 2010.  One dawn.  One fantillion colors.  How could just one sunrise possibly exude such a varied palette of yellows, oranges, pinks, purples and blues?  Just another of nature’s wonders that will likely remain a mystery for the ages.

I’ll tell you how the sun rose a ribbon at a time.
~ Emily Dickenson

All photos were taken at sunrise near and in Rainbow Haven provincial park in Cow Bay, Nova Scotia.  The beach will be filled with people today, each one enjoying the sand and the surf, none of them ever realizing what a spectacle took place here this morning.

There is more day to dawn.
~ Henry David Thoreau

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Spring’s longer days bring about a change in the color of hare fur. A hare gradually loses its winter white guard hairs as daylight hours increase.  While a white hare may be well camouflaged in a snow covered landscape, if it still has that white fur after all the snow has melted, it becomes an easy target for predators.

This year, an earlier spring has been enjoyed across Canada.  The ground is completely bare of snow earlier than usual in the season.

Recently, I’ve noticed two hares in the yard that seem to be at different stages of shedding their winter coats.  One is much whiter than the other.  The whiter hare is barely camouflaged while sitting on light colored grass.  The browner hare seems to blend in well either on the grass or in the woods among browned leaves.

Snowshoe hares play a vital role in the ecosystem of the Northern Boreal forest by providing food for such carnivores as  coyotes, foxes, bobcats, lynx, weasels, fishers and eagles.  There’s concern in the scientific community that fewer days of snow cover due to global warming may pose a negative impact on the hare population.

Both hares have been grazing regularly in my yard together for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve often found nests of baby hares in the wild rosebushes in past years.   Having survived the winter, hopefully these hares will also survive long enough to reproduce a litter of kittens later this spring.

For more information on the effects of climate change on snowshoe hares, see:
White Snowshoe Hares Can’t Hide on Brown Earth at Science Daily

For more information on Nova Scotia’s hares, see:
The Hare Whisperer and The Advantages of Being Harebrained

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Amidst the fog, the day dawns in a blush of soft pinks along the salt marsh trail.

Summer’s pinks may already be a distant memory, but November still has its roses to offer.

Akin to a false sunrise, a blush of pink in the northwest sky is only a reflection of the sun rising in the east.  It may be disorienting to walkers in deep woods who are without a compass and trying to find their bearings.

As they pale with the approaching winter, marsh grasses reveal subtle pinks at the bottom of their stems that were less noticeable during their green phase.

The blush of pinks and oranges at the tips of this weed growing in the gravel are reversed to the centre in its negative image.  Whichever way you look at it, the landscape in November is still glowing, and has yet to lose her charm.

When a girl ceases to blush, she has lost the most powerful charm of her beauty.

~ Gregory I 

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october vines

Overnight winds have pulled many of the leaves off the trees and beaten the vine leaves repeatedly against the bricks.  Many are now on the lawn.  It won’t be long before November’s bareness sets in.  But not yet.  There’s still time for one last look at October’s stunning palette of colours.

vine palette

I’ve taken squares of colour from the photo of vines above to create a palette of hues representational of this time of year.

colour wheelIn art theory, red and green are considered opposite one another on the colour wheel.  These are known as complementary colours.

Some of the vine reds appear purplish and there is also some yellow present.  Purple and yellow is another complementary combination, as is the combination of orange and blue.

blueorangeblueWhether it’s a light or bright blue,  October’s sky contrasts beautifully with orange tinged leaves.  Their warm and fiery hue manages to balance the crisp coolness of the clear blue sky, making autumn seem less chilling.

complementary pairs

When unmuted complementary colours are placed next to each other in a painting, the line between them may appear to vibrate.   Despite the mutedness of some of October’s colours, the juxtaposition of pairs of complementary leaf and sky colours in the landscape still produces a visually vibrant liveliness that exudes warmth and excitement.  No wonder this time of year can inspire so much awe among onlookers.

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vine and sky

You can’t hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life.

maple leaf mandala in blueIsn’t it odd how the colors of leaves turn warm just as the weather cools?  In art, it’s known that warm colors like red, orange and yellow advance, while cool blues, greens and purples recede.

Could the warm colors be nature’s way of bringing leaves to the forefront so that we can examine and appreciate them one more time before they’re gone?

I’ve often wondered what autumn would look like if the leaves turned cool in color instead of warm?  How would the landscape look with leaves of icy blue and turquoise instead of fiery red and orange?  Perhaps the combination of cooler weather with cool colors would be too much of a shock to us after months of warm summer weather.  The warmer colors are nature’s way of easing us into the cold winter ahead.

sky blues

Unlike the leaves, autumn’s skies turn bluer than usual at this time of year.  Above are excerpts of three of the bluest skies I’ve photographed in the past month.  Each one is such a unique hue.  Who would have thought there could be so many versions of ‘sky blue’ to be found at this time of year?  Nature’s true colors never cease to amaze me.

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pink peony

Forget pink cotton candy, bubble gum, Elvis and Mary Kay’s pink cadillacs, pink slips and the Pink Panther.  Forget the color’s association with baby girls and all things feminine…  lipstick, nail polish and party dresses.  Just… think pink.

Pink, often called rose,  is considered one of the calmest colors to look at.  Its delicate blush is attractive, non-threatening and uplifting.  To look at the world through rose colored glasses is to see everything in a positive light.

rose sky at dawn

You may already know that Picasso had a blue period of painting, characterized by sombre arrangements of melancholic, seemingly disconnected individuals.  But did you know that his blue style was superceded by a rose period?  It expressed a changed life of personal happiness for Picasso, marked by closer relationships with others.

pink clematis

In nature, flowers like peonies, clematis and wild roses paint garden and roadside scenes with joyful jots of pink and rose.  The rising and setting sun may also blush the sky and landscape with a rosy glow.  Perhaps a walk at dawn or sunset may be just the remedy for a sad disposition.  If you’re really feeling blue, it might be helpful to gaze into a pink flower for a few minutes and breathe in its color.  It certainly wouldn’t hurt.  Just keep an eye out for the bees!

Frequently the wood are pink –
Frequently are brown.
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see –
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be –
And the Earth — they tell me –
On its Axis turned!
Wonderful Rotation!
By but twelve performed!

~ Emily Dickinson

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