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1. Soft Colours in the Western Sky Before Sunrise

Soft Colours in the Western Sky Before Sunrise
84 cm (w) x 61 cm (h), oil paints on linen canvas.
Date produced: 1985

This was painted directly from on-site observation, from West Beach, just before ‘sunrise’. I remember needing to get up very early to get dressed and take all of my needed equipment out to the beach to set up ready for the colours seen before dawn. I was interested in the subtle bands of soft colours in the sky that are seen in the western sky above the sea, just before sunrise during clear mornings (without clouds). These subtle colour bands are amazing spectacles that feel to me to be both emotionally calming and inspiring at the same time. I know from many observations, that these soft bands of colour do change their size and intensity quite quickly, so I needed to be well organised and record quickly, around a certain time just before dawn. The actual time did change as the weeks passed. I needed many sessions (mornings) of similar clear sky conditions to record the spectacle I was after.

Recording these soft colours from direct observation is important because the light and colour at these times is extremely subtle, and photography can't easily capture the full colour and nuance of tone that is observed.

A similar sequence of soft colour bands can be seen in the eastern sky of clear days just after sunset.

I suspect that these patterns of soft colours are the result of refraction of sunlight through our planet’s atmosphere at these special times.

West Beach was a fantastic place to experience these spectacles, in combination with the gentle 'white' sounds of small waves crashing in over the shallow beach, the lovely smell of sea sand, and the quality of the fresh air coming in off the water.

I was very pleased with the subtlety of tone and colour achieved in the painting, using oil paints (as opposed to using pastels).




Detail 1:

Soft Colours in the Western Sky Before Sunrise - Detail 1





Detail 2:

Soft Colours in the Western Sky Before Sunrise - Detail 2

Very subtle changes in colour.


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