Dusk is my favorite time of day, especially in summer. As if by magic everything is tinged with red and gold. Sunsets have inspired poets, writers and painters for centuries. A soft pink, a gentle orange or a swathe of fiery red can radically change both the sky and the landscape below it. For an artist, this change of light can lend an emotional or symbolic context to the canvas. It takes a highly skilled painter, however, to capture the true essence of the setting sun. Looking at this picture taken some time ago reminds me of one of my most admired English painters, J.M.W. Turner. He is known as “the painter of light” because of the brilliant colors of his landscapes and seascapes. A particular climate effect of the time may have made his sunsets even more impressive. The work of Turner had a profound impact on the group that later became known as the “Impressionists”. The major works by Turner often eclipse the vast number of outdoor studies and “Colour Beginnings” that he produced late in his career; these works were a real eye opener for me. An artist can be considered a visionary if he is ten or twenty years ahead of his contemporaries. Many people would regard Turner as being about 200 years ahead of his time. Here below are two of Turner’s studies which has inspired me to take this photo.
The blue hour comes from the French expression L’heure bleue, which refers to that period of twilight before dawn where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness. The time is considered special because of the quality of light at this time of day. Above all, artists are inspired by changes in light. Following the example of Turner, the French impressionists violated the rules of academic painting. They found that “en plein air”, in close touch with nature, they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight, weather and movement. They were able to transfer a spontaneous effect to their paintings and the result was excellent. Arriving in Paris in 1886, the Dutch painter Van Gogh quickly adapted to Impressionist techniques and color to express his acutely felt emotions. He transformed Impressionism into curving, vibrant lines of color, exaggerated even beyond Impressionist brilliance. Van Gogh’s work formed a basis for several contemporary trends and for early 20th-century modernism. Thinking of the “blue hour” here below you can see two of his most remarkable paintings. Van Gogh remains one of my most beloved artist.