Facebook icon Forward icon

The Light of Sunrise

"Because the sun is low on the horizon, sunlight passes through more air at sunset and sunrise than during the day, when the sun is higher in the sky. More atmosphere means more molecules to scatter the violet and blue light away from your eyes.

If the path is long enough, all of the blue and violet light scatters out of your line of sight. The other colors continue on their way to your eyes. And because red has the longest wavelength of any visible light, the sun is red when it’s on the horizon, where its extremely long path through the atmosphere blocks all other colors."                                               Stephen Akerman, Science Daily

I decided to start my Year of Color and Light with exploring sunrises. If I get up early enough, I can walk to the other side of Mount Tabor Park and see the sun rise over Mount Hood fifty miles to the east of Portland. Some days both the mountain and the sun are trapped behind the clouds. Other days they put on a glorious show. This is a recent photo of Mount Hood on a foggy morning by Jubilation Photography. Isn't it gorgeous!


Rain or Shine

"You can frequently tell a sunrise from a sunset by the fact that the latter appears more chaotic, and the former, tidier."                                                                              Natalie Wolchover Live Science

As much as I would like to say I climb Mount Tabor every day, I actually see most of my sunrises at Rain or Shine coffee shop at the edge of Mount Tabor Park. 

The shop sits on a corner with large windows facing east and south. The other day I was struck by the combination of the colors of the sunrise and the way the red and blue of the neon "open" sign transformed the window casing into magenta. Lovely.

Impression, Sunrise

When you are taking a year to study the art and science of light you must, of course, look at the Impressionists. Claude Monet's 1863 painting "Impression, Sunrise" inspired the name of the Impressionist Movement. I googled the painting to include an image and found so many variations that it's difficult to know which is most true to the original. One thing is certain - the brightness of the red sun amidst everything else gives the painting its luminousity. 

Check out the website Color, Vision and Art for the accurate colors (or at least as accurate as you can get on a computer!) and play with two fun interactive sliders that show how Monet made the sun shine so brightly. 

Alive with Color

Way back in the early 1980's I studied to be color consultant. I was still in the Army, assigned to the Pentagon, and I needed more color in my life!

I trained with Carol Jackson's "Color Me Beautiful" seasonal system but discovered I liked Leatrice Eiseman's "Aiive with Color" Color Clock system better. (This was before Eiseman became the spokesperson for all things Pantone.) She divided everyone into just three color ways - Sunrises with blue tints, Middays with a mixture of blue and orange or Sunsets with orange tints. 

All the personal color analysis systems are based on dressing in colors that coordinate with your natural coloring. I learned so much about color during that time - not because of the training but because I became hyper observant.  I believe that color training of any kind opens your eyes to the wonder of color in our world - and that alone is worth taking a class or two, or three, or four.

Color Class on Saturday

Which is the perfect segue into the announcement of a fun Smashing Color Workshop coming up this Saturday afternoon, February 7th, at VIA Artistica in Portland.

I'm designing new handouts that will help bridge the gap between digital and analog color. One of the prettiest is the Compass Rose color wheel. Don't be fooled by the stained glass appearance - it is a workhorse of a handout showing how color flows in both the additve and subtractive systems.

If you are used to working with color on the computer but want to understand more about colors in pigments OR if you are someone who is used to mixing colors in a hands-on medium but have no clue how color works on the computer - then this is the class for you. 

Registration Info is on the VIA Artistica website.

Color and Creativity Retreat

I know I said I was not going to travel to teach until this fall but I will be heading north at the end of July to teach a weekend workshop in Bellevue, Washington. I get to kick-off a Creativity Retreat with artists Robert Dancik and Ronna Sarvas Weltman. (That's one of her stunning necklaces in the photo above.) 

The retreat is scheduled to coincide with the Bellevue Arts Fair - one of the premier arts and crafts fairs in the country. I'm excited to be join Ronna and Robert for what should be a fabulous adventure.

All the information about the Creativity Retreat is on Facebook. 


If you want to join me in watching the light of day breaking, you need to know what time the sun is rising in your area. I love the graphics and design of this easy to use website. 

Sunrise in Melbourne

In anticipation of my teaching trip to Australia in the fall, I will end with this photo taken by my friend Mark Carswell in Melbourne about ten days ago. Thanks Mark! 

Big Hugs to Everyone!


PS If you are not on my newsletter list, you can sign up on my website at maggiemaggio.com.