Monday, August 24, 2009

Now is the golden hour of life

August 2009

The “Golden Hour” in photography and painting is defined as “the first and last hour of sunlight during the day, when a specific photographic effect is achieved with the quality of the light.” It isn’t a subjective statement when Artists say “the light is good at that time of the day” because it brings with it a diffuse glow to the world where everything is enveloped in a comforting blanket of soft illumination. Since the Sun is nearer the horizon, the sunlight subsequently has to travel through more of the atmosphere and that reduces its intensity and makes the sky appear more brightly lit. As more blue light is scattered, the light from the Sun turns red and the shadows lengthen. There’s of course a physical explanation for the phenomena, but Artists simply know it to be beautiful…and fleeting. It’s a thing to be enjoyed for the moment and let go so it can later transform itself into the sunset and ultimately into the darkness.

"Oregon Twilight", Catherine L. Gauldin 2009
On a driving trip through Oregon we eagerly waited for this hour because the sky is so expansive there and there is very little to obstruct the lightshow that occurs at the end of the day. That part of the country is primarily farmland and when the Sun goes down, it turns the fields of grain into an amber ocean that stretches far off into the distance. I took the photographs that inspired these two Pastel and Colored Pencil drawings when the sky was so overpowering it made us exclaim “There now, there it is; isn’t it lovely!” Yes, beautiful and reassuring to think that no matter how hard life seems at times, we can also count on the fact that darkness consistently leads to daybreak..more golden days, golden minutes, golden friends.

"Oregon Sunset" Catherine L. Gauldin 2009

A friend said to me last week “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could pick a time in our lives when we were the happiest and just stay there?” It’s a sad conflict to finally understand that to do that would free us from pain but would also isolate us from growth and commitment and the privilege of never knowing what the next moment is going to bring. Even times of great heartache can be gold, so what is the point in trying to stop them? Pain is a part of life and beauty sometimes so sharp it hurts.
I await the next golden hour of the long progression of my life and know that it will come when it is least expected. That is the great lesson and adventure of existence.

Festina Lente
“Make haste slowly”

For an example of the Golden Hour in Art, see Robert Wood’s THE GOLDEN HOUR