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Bittersweet_429948_i0

Some of my favorite colors are orange-pinks.  These lovely hues have a glowing warmth which evokes summer (and human skin).  They seem particularly bright in the magic hour of summer sunset as golden light gilds the world.

frederic_leighton_1_flaming_june

However orange pink colors are somewhat lacking when it comes to beautiful names.  My pencil box is filled with evocatively named green pencils, but the orange ones tend to be named “orange”. One of my favorite colors in my paintbox goes by the unlovely name “Italian brown-pink.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

However, I just found out about the color “bittersweet” a beautiful mid-to-bright orange-pink.  The name has a long pedigree—going back to the nineteenth century (a shocking number of familiar colors have names from the late twentieth century).  Bittersweet suggests an ending which is satisfying…barely, and I though the name of the color was some sort of thoughtful moral reflection about the nineteenth century overall, however it turns out that the color is named for the bittersweet vine, a flowering vine which strangles trees and which causes vomiting if eaten. Hmm…why is the beauty of the world always so muddled up with ambiguous and alarming things?  The effect is positively…bittersweet

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