A combination of red, yellow and orange in particular hues reoccurs. In Boulder and everywhere! For many reasons, this color combination finds its way into animals, plants, flowers, sunsets, and more. This blog will be picture-centric. The text is secondary, and what I am sharing is just a few of the places where this color combination has revealed itself. Let’s get the text and analysis out of the way at the top here so that we can get to the real “meat” of this blog: the colors! The palette, referred to as a “color way” in some art fields, uses this same combination of hues

The color combination you’re referring to – consisting of orange, yellow-orange, and reddish-orange – is indeed widespread and can be found in numerous aspects of both nature and art. This specific palette is often associated with warm colors, which are known for their vividness and ability to evoke emotions of warmth and comfort. There are several reasons for the ubiquity of this color combination:

1. Sunset and Sunrise: These colors are frequently seen in the sky during sunrise and sunset due to the scattering of sunlight by the Earth’s atmosphere. The colors can be intense and are often sought after for their beauty.

2. Thermography: The colors orange and red are typically associated with heat and energy, which is why they are used in thermal imaging to indicate warmer areas.

3. Seasonal Changes: In temperate regions, the changing of seasons, especially autumn, brings about a change in leaf pigmentation, resulting in these warm tones.

4. Biological Signals: In flora and fauna, these colors can serve as attraction mechanisms. Flowers may have these colors to attract pollinators, and some animals might display such colors for mating purposes or as a warning signal.

pic Debi DodgeCultural Associations

5. Lanatana Flower with a Female Monarch. The Colors Relevant To This Blog Are In The Flowers

6. Different cultures have attached various meanings to these colors. For instance, orange is a sacred and auspicious color in Hinduism and can signify joy and warmth in Western cultures.

7. Visibility: Warm colors tend to stand out and are easily visible, which could be why they are used by animals for warning coloration and by humans for attention-grabbing purposes.

8. Evolutionary Preference: There is also a theory that humans may have an evolutionary predisposition to notice these colors because they indicated ripe fruit or fresh meat, which were important food sources for our ancestors.

9. Artistic Contrast and Harmony: In art, these colors are often used to create a sense of depth, contrast, and visual interest. They can also be harmonious when placed next to each other, which makes them pleasing to the eye.

This color combination reflects certain inherent and culturally developed preferences, as well as practical visibility and signaling functions in nature and human creations.

Western Tanager pic Lensworth

Sunset From Sunset Point, Florida pic Lensworth


Boulder Sunrise pic Lensworth


Lensworth at the Boca Museum, Calder Painting


We can take the colors of nature and apply them to the easel. Van Gogh certainly did!


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