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Posts Tagged ‘colour’

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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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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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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red leaf

Five elements are thought to exist in Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of interpreting environments.  These are:  earth, water, fire, metal and wood.  Colors are also believed to represent these elements.  In the image above, a blazing red leaf gives the impression of fire. Its fire quality is emphasized even more by its triangular shape which is reminiscent of the tongue of a flame.

stones

Brown garden stones, shown supporting one another above, represent the earth element, a symbol for wisdom.  Along with browns, yellows and oranges also allude to the nurturing earth.  Square shapes emphasize this element even further.  

green stems

The wood element, which symbolizes growth, is ubiquitous in a forest landscape where it is revealed in a variety of greens.  Yet, even near the ocean or in the city, green growth is not difficult to find.  The branch shape in the green floral stems above, found along a salt marsh, underlines the wood element in this image even further.

grey rainbow haven

White, grey, silver and gold reveal the metal element in nature.  Positively, this element can communicate strength and solidity.  Negatively, it can suggest sadness, as in the image above, of an overcast and rainy day at the beach.

Blue Flag Iris

Water can be represented in a landscape by a pond or stream, but also by the presence of cool, dark blues as shown in the Blue Flag Iris at left.  A bed of black tulips planted in the shape of a meander would be especially representational of the water element.

Like nature, color can be both simple and complex.  It never ceases to amaze or arouse wonder in those who seek to understand it better.

This post is written to provide further insight into the relationship between the elements and color in nature, as first introduced in my earlier post about a Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
~ Georgia O’Keefe

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