Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Painting a Sunset Glow Effect

Arthur Parton, Lake Scene, 1876

Several artists have accomplished this effect of a big gradation around the sun, which influences everything around the source. 

Frederic Church

It's kind of difficult to paint this situation from real life because you can hurt your eyes looking straight into the sun. If it's veiled behind enough clouds, you can do it. Scenes like this are composed from memory and imagination. 

Russian seascape painter Aivazovsky often applied the effect to seascapes. He suppresses contrasts in the far waves, allowing the big gradation to envelop them. 

Franz Richard Unterberger, Venice Under Sunset

Unterberger captures an effect that is more of a perceptual impression than a photographic transcription.


Susan Krzywicki said...

This effect is something I find so appealing. It crosses over between Orientalist paintings and Hudson Valley School paintings.

It always seems hopeful and emotional.

E Snook said...

Particulate matter in the air due to large fires cause glow effect at sunrise and sunset. Colorado has 3 such fires now, giving the sun a reddish color. A person can glimpse the sun directly (when the sun is closest to the horizon) if one looks away immediately. The sunlight, low in the sky, goes thru the maximum amount of atmosphere as particulate level is high. It is sad and lovely at the same time. Poetic.

Alana Dill said...

Looking at the seascape, it's hard to comprehend how accurately Aivazovsky painted his waves. I'm sure he rarely, if ever, had photos to work from, even to grok the wave structures. How in the world he captured the turmoil, the translucent water, the sense of scale, especially in his storm scenes... it's just awe-inspiring. Russian romantic painters feel like a new world to me.

If I were a robot, I wouldn't want to cry right now.

Unknown said...

I have always wondered how Albert Bierstadt would paint his fantastic light-filled paintings.

Knowing how it was done doesn't take away from the beauty, fortunately.