Years ago I taught a course on how to use color in design. I sat in on a lecture taught by an associate. He taught if you copied from nature, you couldn't go wrong. He showed slides after slide of plants and natural scenery. I felt smug and superior as my lectures were more "sophisticated". I talked about hue, color saturation, and the effects of natural and artificial light. Compared to my lecture, I thought his thesis limited and simplistic.
This month with asparagus in season, I prepared some for blanching. Most cookbooks advise you to break off the woody stems and just leave the tender top portions. I followed a Chinese restaurant technique by shaving the tough outer portions of the base and leaving the tender interior. The transition of colors from purple violet to varying shades of green to white is sublime. Sometimes it helps to reduce the variables and examine only a few. I admit, my thoughts about my associate's lecture have changed.