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Ranimi23's avatar

When you paint the sun over the sea, How can you tell if this painting is a sunrise or sunset?

Asked by Ranimi23 (1881 points ) February 16th, 2010

My mother like to paint and she wants to paint the sunset over the sea, with all the great colors the sun paint at the sky. But her problem is how someone will know this is a sunset and not a sunrise?

Any idea? I thought she should draw high waves at sea, but is it enough?

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16 Answers

Val123's avatar

Good question! I think that the only way you could tell my photos are all of a sunset is simply because I wouldn’t be UP at sunrise taking pictures!

I’m thinking that to suggest a sunrise, maybe the colors would be brighter than if you wanted to suggest a sunset…..so, same colors, only slightly darker tones for a sunset…?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Maybe a paler brighter sun for sunrise and a deeper reddish orange for sunset :)

KhiaKarma's avatar

I’m not really sure without doing further research, or just trying it out….but instinctively I would think there would be more blues and purples mixed with orange and reds with a sunset and more reds and yellows and an effect of lightness with a sunrise. I would just play with the colors.

arnbev959's avatar

This is a question from a few months ago that came to mind as soon as I saw this question. There were some pretty good answers there.

CMaz's avatar

By the name of the painting.

“Sunset over Hawaii” or “Sunrise on a snowy day”

gemiwing's avatar

In my art I use color and intensity. The sunrise tends to be more yellow (buttercup with white) in color and less intense. Sunsets are orange/red and the intensity of the color is kicked up a bit.

Val123's avatar

@gemiwing Whoop there it is! Great answer!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If you can, put known coastal landmarks in place, such as lighthouses and other permanent structures or coastal features. Anyone who sees the painting and knows the place will know what is being shown… and when.

In a plain seascape, I don’t know if you can really accomplish this. Seas can be flat or stormy at any time of day. Maybe the best you can do is… title the work to indicate. (As @ChazMaz already indicated.)

Sarcasm's avatar

I’d just draw some downward or upward arrows. Have I ever said I’m not an artist?

Val123's avatar

Write SUNSET in big letters across the picture!

erichw1504's avatar

@Sarcasm Funniest answer I’ve seen in a while.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

The colors of a sunrise vs a sunset are very different.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@tragiclikebowie not that I’ve ever seen. “Prevailing” atmospheric conditions can make them appear to be so, but on days when the sun comes up in one kind of cloud cover / humidity level and sets the same way, the only difference (and especially so when I see it on land) is due to what else is on the horizon.

Never having seen a sunrise / sunset cycle on a single day on the open ocean, I can’t say that that still holds, but I would presume that it must. Atmospheric conditions (and latitude) are going to determine what colors appear.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@CyanoticWasp You’re right; including particulate matter and temperature also as variables. But rarely would that ever be the case except maybe, as you said, over the open ocean.

njnyjobs's avatar

As published in ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2007)

The colors of the sunset result from a phenomenon called scattering, says Steven Ackerman, professor of meteorology at UW-Madison. Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light rays, causing them to scatter.

Scattering affects the color of light coming from the sky, but the details are determined by the wavelength of the light and the size of the particle. The short-wavelength blue and violet are scattered by molecules in the air much more than other colors of the spectrum. This is why blue and violet light reaches our eyes from all directions on a clear day. But because we can’t see violet very well, the sky appears blue.

Scattering also explains the colors of the sunrise and sunset, Ackerman says.

“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. This is why sunsets are often yellow, orange, and red.”

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.

Sunrise colors are typically less brilliant and less intense than sunset colors, since there are generally fewer particles and aerosols in the morning air than in the evening air. Nighttime air is usually cooler and less windy, which allows dust and soot particles to settle out of the atmosphere, reducing the amount of scattering. The reduced scattering correspondingly reduces the amount of red and orange scattered light at sunrise. Sunrise color intensities can however exceed sunset’s intensities when there are nighttime fires, volcanic eruptions or emissions, or dust storms to the east of the viewer.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@gemiwing‘s excellent answer notwithstanding, the latitude and time of year play a great role
in the colour palette of sunrise and sunset.

Knowledge of the location often provides the answer. The sun does not rise over the ocean on the west coast of any place or set on the east coast. Clearly the title is the key where landmarks do not disclose the location.

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