I know that some artists have and do paint sunsets. In fact, I’m pretty sure that all or at least most artists have attempted to paint a sunset at some time [usually early on; me included] in their career. And I don’t mean Monet’s atmospheric sunsets. I mean, standing on the beach, looking out over the water, nothing-but-sky, sunsets.
I have seen many paintings with many subjects that have been inspiring in themselves; paintings that have taken my breath away. But I have never seen a painting of an actual sunset that has inspired me to want to paint one.
So, why is it that with the mind-blowing colours and breathtaking beauty of sunsets do artists not paint them as they see them? In my opinion it is because, when they do, they look fake, phony and made-up.
But, I love sunsets; really!
This striking photo of a sunset was taken at our cottage in Sauble Beach by my son-in-law. Each evening [weather permitting] cottagers head for the beach to experience the setting sun and stay until the colours disapear from the sky. In fact, Sauble Beach is known to be one of the top places in the world to view sunsets. With that in mind, even though Sauble Beach has its share of fine artists, you will not find many paintings of sunsets at the local art shows.
Take a photo or paint like Monet.
My take on this is, if you want realism like the picture above, photography is the medium best suited for capturing its splendour. However, if you are overcome with inspiration and want to paint a sunset, I suggest you take a lesson from Monet. Create an impression of what you see. Capture what it feels like to be experiencing the wonder of a beautiful sunset.
Photo taken by Dan Lepage