Thoughtful minds

I was delighted by this colorful balcony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, March 2004.

I was delighted by this colorful balcony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, March 2004.

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
John Ruskin

Well, thanks for the compliment, Mr. Ruskin! I don’t know how true it is, but I know without a doubt that I belong in the group you have described.  I am mad about color, lots of color in all shades, and I find that it can cheer me no matter how low I feel.  I tend to favor the jewel tones, but I enjoy the entire range, from pale pastels to rich browns and black.

Recently when Jeff and I were talking with a landscaper about what sorts of trees, shrubs and plants we wanted, I found myself wondering how long it would take him to catch onto the fact that I was looking only for plants with bright, vivid flowers or foliage.  After exclaiming over the rich pink hues of the flowering plum tree, the gorgeous foliage of the Japanese maple, and the camellias and azaleas with a variety of vibrant tones in leaves and flowers, I wanted to ask him, “Do you see a pattern here?” He must have, because he quit showing me the subtler shrubs that didn’t impress me as much.

I think I have lots of good company in the group of color-loving enthusiasts, so according to Ruskin, there must be quite a few “pure and thoughtful” minds out there.  Manufacturers have discovered how we go for colors, making their gadgets available in an array of lovely hues.  Cars, appliances, and office supplies feature increasingly brilliant tints.  In everything from dishes to dress, we have endless choices to bring mood-boosting beauty into our everyday life.

Fortunately, I don’t have to buy a thing to get my color fix.  I can hardly pass a paint chip display without stopping to admire the choices, even when I have no need to paint anything.  I love looking at eye shadow and nail polish for the same reason.  And I enjoy browsing the children’s picture books at public libraries and bookstores, sometimes feeling a bit of envy for today’s children who have such abundant full-color illustrations their books, which was rare when I was very young.

And when it comes to wonderful worlds of color, don’t get me started talking about Pinterest – surely one of the most addictive labyrinths of visual treats on the internet!

What colors do you love best?  Do you favor monochromatic tones, or do you tend to go for combinations, and sometimes a rainbow of shades, as I do, especially in the garden?

Whatever your favorites, I wish you a palate of perfection to brighten your life every day!

One year ago today:

Not just a noun


  1. HarryS

    Sobriety is bright!

    The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words— en Theos — which mean “in God.” When a person feels that he or she is with God, that person is motivated and inspired. This is how we need to begin every day – with the knowledge that we are with God, as His partner, accomplishing a most important mission. – Rabbi Eckstein.

    It’s a very common occurrence in Alcoholics Anonymous that we hear of so many people waking up with wonderful thoughts as their “ First Thoughts”.

    One of the first suggestions I received was to pray every morning and ask God to help me get through today without taking a drink of liquor.
    In a little while I realized that some mysterious power was definitely helping me.

    Hallelujah! God who had always been present had arrived.

    • Harry, thanks so much for your joyous message, as well as that wonderful quote and a link to a very interesting site. Your thoughts have personal meaning to me this morning as I got up after a tough day yesterday and feel rather blue and pessimistic. I so appreciate Rabbi Eckstein’s outlining of the crucial difference between seeking to have God on OUR side, versus seeking to be on GOD’s side (as another reader recently mentioned via a quote from Abraham Lincoln about the same topic). YES, the God who is always present will not force right actions upon us – it is up to us to recognize and trust that God’s presence is always with us — and “arrives” in our lives when we are open to it. Thanks for your encouraging comment!

  2. singleseatfighterpilot

    Maybe among your male readers will be someone with red-green colorblindness. A comedian recently complained how upon learning of this malady, someone would point to a certain hue, and ask,”what color is this?”
    If he met a totally blind person, he asked: “Would you hold up three fingers and ask,’how many fingers do you see?'”

    • I once made a very thoughtless and totally unintentional mistake when talking to a friend with color blindness; I was trying to remember someone’s name and whispered to him “can you remind me of the name of that lady in the red coat?” and was very embarrassed when he turned around to her, looked back at me and pointed at her, his face questioning “you mean her?” I was annoyed that he was being so obvious until I realized — DUH! — that I was the one who stuck my foot in my mouth!

  3. Julia. good morning. I too like color, and the jewel tones are my favorite!

    • Aren’t we lucky to have so many gorgeous colors available to us in everyday life? Our distant ancestors did not have the brightly colored fabrics, photos, illustrations, appliances and other objects that light up our lives. I think the jewel tones are flattering to almost all types who wear them.

      • What about Joseph, son of Jacob?

        • ESPECIALLY him! He looked so good in his many-colored coat that his brothers were jealous enough to get rid of him. His outfit was LITERALLY “to die for!” 😀

  4. Good morning Julia! I love color!! That is one reason I love your pictures, they are always so colorful. They wake me up in the morning. I always read your blog first to get my burst of sunshine and color. Keep colors alive!

    • Thank you Cherie! Your comment makes me feel happy. I am so glad you enjoy the blog. I do gravitate toward bright colors, although when I first started in photography I did mostly black and white because I did my own darkroom work and it was so much cheaper and easier than color. Digital photography is fabulous because I can take tons of photos for almost nothing (except time of course).

  5. Dorothy

    Love the picture, we traveled through Mexico in 1979 and loved the bright colors everywhere. We are in spring here so our garden is full of color, it makes you feel so lucky and blessed as each day a new flower is discovered. Read “a year ago” and must have missed this as we were in the middle of bush fires. We have quite a few Mexican sage and salvia plants ranging from pinks, reds and blues to purples. They are great plants and do well here which is a very temperate climate even though we live in the Blue Mountains. Our azaleas are all but finished flowering except for a large white and a small beautiful purple one. It seems to me in spring, yellow is the first to appear then the blues and more vibrant reds oranges pinks etc. Our roses are in bud and I picked the first of these the other day. On blue willow, I’ve not seen the book, but my Grandmother had willow china and I’ve always loved it and the story. I inherited some of hers and then many years ago bought a set for us.

    • Dorothy, I too loved the colors of Mexico ever since I first remember going there in the late 1960’s. I was born near the Mexican border, but moved away before I was old enough to remember it. When we went to Mexico City many years later I remember falling in love with all the brightly colored clothing, pottery and toys in the marketplace. You are lucky to have the sage and salvia in so many great colors! Jeff and I recently told the landscaper we wanted some Mexican sage and/or Mexican heather, but I’m not sure he is going to work it into our plans, as he seemed to think other plants would be more suitable for our conditions (we don’t have a lot of sun in the spots we are working with). I did ask for roses around our mailbox and I think he was more in agreement with that since that spot gets a lot of sun. The blue willow china is so lovely; I am always tempted to buy just one plate of it to have and look at, or maybe 2-3 to have a lunch with friends. Just a dream really. I do have a vase I got in Delft, Holland that is similar. Aren’t we lucky to be surrounded by so many pretty things?

  6. Julia, here we go again with our similar personalities! “Easily excitable!” 🙂 Months ago we discussed a box of 64 Crayola crayons as the ultimate. I so love bright, vivid shades, or soft, subtle hues, or anywhere in between. My hairdresser says it best, ” We want it to pop!” and so it goes. I’m wishing you a glorious weekend!

    • Thank you, Sheila. Our weekend is not what I would call glorious so far, but not without some consolation either. I’m picturing a bright spectrum of colors to cheer me up. 😀 Those deluxe 64 boxes even came with a built-in sharpener, too!

  7. bobmielke

    I love all color. When I was in art class in highschool I already knew I wanted to be an artist. I was a fine arts major in college and took plenty of classes that taught me the differences between shades, tints and tones as well as complementary colors. I love pastels the most when it comes to flowers. Blue is my favorite color.

    • Bob, I do love all the colors but I keep coming back to shades of blue as my favorites. Jeff has always liked blue best. I took a quick watercolor course at the Senior Center and my favorite part was the color wheel and learning to mix the colors. I bet it was fun being an art major, but also probably much more difficult than some of us imagine, especially those who took degrees in the sciences.

      • bobmielke

        The hardest part was figure drawing because the nude model’s boyfriend was in the class. I could do a very realistic likeness of his girlfriend and the art professor running the class made us post them in the hallway next to the studio. No one who passed by had any difficulty identifying the model. 🙂

        • I can file that under “things I would never do no matter how much it paid.” Meaning be the model, though I wouldn’t have particularly enjoyed being anybody in that picture. I like to keep my clothes on in public, and I prefer that other people do the same thing. 😀

          • bobmielke

            We did keep our clothes on in high school in basic studio class. It was an all boys school and nobody took their clothes off there, and lived. LOL

            • That’s a relief! 😀

  8. raynard

    Juila I remember being in the sign industry. Our company sold so many colors of vinal. There was colors like” Mustard yellow and ” School bus yellow.. I remember one of our customers named Kevin. I had never know him to drive. When he put a roll of vinal up to his face one day, then he told me he was legally blind.( I cant for some reason get that Cindi Lauper song” True Colors” out of my head.. I digress. I was just talking to my CPT yesterday about a joke between me and someone at work.They told me that somone said their orange shirt make them” look like a traffic cone. I said my kids told me my orange shirt ” makes me look like a pumpkin or sunkist orange lol. Speaking of the annual Flower show I attend in Philadelphia, if it’s a good theme, you see lots of color. That was one reason why I use to grow different color roses. Someone at work told me about blue roses so I goggled it. Maybe next time I give my wife roses , those will be the choice. And yes I finally” colored up my summer wearing colors like, light blue, orange, purple, and yellow. ( not there with pink yet or ” skinny jeans.. Someone might mistake me for a” Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float.. lol be blessed

    • Hey Raynard, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any blue roses. But I googled them too and there they were, WOW. I wondered if they were dyed, though. I laughed to think about a traffic-cone orange shirt. At least you would be able to cross the streets more safely with the high visibility. I read where the PHL Flower Show is planning a movie theme next year…let’s hope it’s in technicolor!

  9. Good morning, Julia! Great story about the landscaper!
    I’ve never had the money to go “all out” interior decorating, which I’m sure I’d love, so instead, I love to mix and match clothing colors. Not only is dressing a form of functional art, but I can re-decorate every day! Wooo hooooo! Can’t do that to the living room! 🙂

    • Not only that, but it’s WAY less stressful!!! Jeff and I are in the middle of a seemingly simple supposedly minor bathroom modification which is turning out to have more plot twists than a murder mystery, and more additional miscellaneous costs than a bill. The bathroom has been “in progress” for weeks now and STILL isn’t finished!! I’m for decorating with clothes! 😀 😀 😀

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