I love sunsets. Lots of people love sunsets. We paint them, we photograph them, we sit and watch them. Until recently, I had no idea that there is an actual word associated with this attraction.
Opacarophile. If you break it down into it’s two main parts, here’s what you’ll find: opacare which is Latin meaning dusk or sunset, and phile which is the Greek word for love.
Why the Attraction of Sunsets?
According to Physchology Today, sunsets have a profound mental effect on the brain and this effect often lasts long after the color has faded. That’s one reason the attraction of sunsets is so instilled in humans.
Sunsets affect our mood. Studies have proven it. Sunsets are a wonderful inducer of calm, of taking away stress, of slowing us down. They relax us, they can induce a time of meditation or to not think at all as we just experience the joy of the moment brought on by the view.
“Sunset is a period of rest, renewal and reflection.” — John Suler
An Artist’s View of Sunsets
The time of day when the sun is in it’s last hour in the sky (or it’s first hour at sunrise) is called the “Magic Hour” or “Golden Hour” by artists and photographers. This is the time of day when the light and the colors reflected back to our eyes is at it’s most intense. The sky will be rich with color. “It’s the time of day when ideas and emotions stir inside us.”
It’s these rich colors that compel the artist to grab the paint and capture the beauty either as realistic, abstract, or in my case, as a representation. I once read and agree wholeheartedly with the statement that “sunset is one of my favorite colors”. Of course it’s not a color, but a collection of colors, but you get the idea. You never think of one color when someone mentions a sunset, but you sure know what one looks like just by hearing the word.
“Sunset is the most spiritual moment where the human race meets the extraordinary spirit of the universe. — Mehmet M. Ildan
A sunset is truly one of nature’s most magnificent and inspiring works of art. And… they’re always different! Clouds, dust, all those particles of pollution, the time of year, your position on the globe, all of these things affect what we see in those beautiful skies at sunset.
The Science of Sunsets
Ever notice how the most vivid sunsets appear when there are clouds in the sky? The clouds reflect the red and orange hues of the setting sun back to our eyes. On a clear day, you don’t get as much of this reflection.
The colors of the sunset result from a phenomenon called scattering. Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of the light rays, causing them to… scatter. (sciencedaily.com)
I could go on and on, but I won’t. The science behind sunsets it huge and not why I’m writing today. But feel free to research it.
Here’s your homework for this week and every week. Go outside, find a nice spot, watch the sun as it sets. Enjoy the moment. Reflect on the good in your life. Relax and thank the sun for lighting your day. And if you are so inclined…. paint it!