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colors of Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.” — John Ruskin

Such solemn earnestness was a hallmark of the Victorian age and much lampooned, but you won’t find me arguing with those sentiments.


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Lots of good reading on the Metro yesterday from the April issue of The New York Review of Books, including Garry Wills’ piece on a new exhibit in Ottawa of the paintings and drawings of the eminent Victorian, John Ruskin, “Ruskin: The Great Artist Emerges.” Mr. Wills describes Ruskin’s preoccupation with color, quoting from the Elements of Drawing: ‘He said there is no such thing in nature as a solid color, but colors are ‘continually passing one into the other.’”

And the slate/blue/purple/grey/pink Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’ obligingly illustrated Ruskin’s observations on color just before sunset last night.


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Ruskin’s Study of a Kingfisher

There is a website devoted to Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing, for anyone itching to get their pencils and sketchbook out today. I’ve got a fishing tackle box filled with mine around here somewhere.

2 comments to colors of Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’

  • David Feix

    Your photo of the A. baileyana is an apt example for Ruskin’s color thesis, and seemingly changes with temperature and time of year as well. Love those purple/blue intergrades in nature, Cerinthe is another great example.

  • Denise

    David, Randy Baldwin of San Marcos Growers asked the crowd at a recent So Cal Hort mtg if anybody’s acacias were in bloom. No hands were raised. He said that seems to be a feature of this mild winter, poor acacia bloom. My young baileyana is too small to be a part of the sample, but my young Acacia podalyrifolia bloomed well. Just a FYI.