True Blue


What is the true hue of blue? Is it the infinite blue of a clear September sky? Or the light wave blue of the rainbow? Or the arresting blue of a spike of delphinium blossoms? Artists use the term "local color" to designate the "pure" color or hue of an object seen in daylight and separated from everything else (see my Local Color edition), but one seldom gets to look at any color without other colors to affect it. I love blue flowers, but they're rarely a real deep blue; most of them drift towards lavender. I'm thinking about this as I contemplate the tiny, intensely blue blossom of the Asiatic Dayflower, also known as Mouse Ears (Commelina communis). It's a wildflower—or a weed, depending on your perspective—that has insinuated itself into a sunny patch on the stone wall in back of my garden. Related to spiderwort, its elegant stalks have spread sinuously around the feet of a climbing rose. I keep it contained but wait impatiently for the first blossoms to appear at the end of summer, just so I can experience that startling blue. It reminds me of the blue my husband uses in his huge oil paintings. He calls it cobalt, but I call it true blue.

By the way, color shifts from monitor to monitor (device to device), so I can't guarantee my viewers will get the same blue thrill from my photo. I recommend heading out to a meadow and hunting for the real thing.