San Bruno and Pacifica share the same sky. The clouds and the colors extend over the coastal range, forming and reforming in the upper atmosphere, as the sun and moon alternately move slowly through them.
At dawn, San Bruno lights up first, then as the sun lifts higher in the sky the hills across the Bay and to the west glow with the color of the day. From the vantage point at , the sunlight brightens the ocean first, then highlights the crest of waves rolling ashore. Minutes later the shadow of Pacifica dims as the sun stretches its light across the beaches and into the valleys of neighborhoods.
The skies at sunrise and sunset last week were spectacular. Words or pictures only tell part of the beautiful story.
The experience of the ever-changing sky, colors and balls of light inspired me to create this sky painting. It is actually my composite of the sunset on Monday, Dec. 19 and the sunrise of the solstice, Dec. 22. It is painted with my emotions through the colorful brushstrokes.
I chose a large canvas, 24-inch-by-24-inch, so I could use big brushes and bold strokes to express joy into the sky.
As I was painting, I felt thankful that the sun is so reliable—bringing me out of darkness day after day, always in a new way.
Adding the colors, my thoughts traveled to flavors: yummy lemon zest in the yellows; the sweet-tart tangerine in the orange; the rich taste of biting into a deep purple plum; pink, red and white in peppermint candy canes; and all shades of blue mixed with blueberries in my yogurt.
The winter solstice is another reliable event, yearly. It represents the shortest daylight and longest night of the year. The best part is that every day after the winter solstice, we are gradually coming out of the dark and into the light as we daily experience one more minute of light.
For me, this is an occasion for celebration. But I am not alone. For centuries, all cultures around the world have celebrated. From the fourth century, Christians have set aside time to acknowledge the birth of Jesus of Nazareth on Dec. 25, which marked the solstice in the Julian calendar system.
As some extra eye candy, my gift to you all is this short video of Pacifica sunset paintings I have done over the last three years. Often I am overwhelmed by the beauty in a sunset, so I rush over the hill to Pacifica to extend my watch as the sun glows into the clouds, reflecting into the ocean and coloring the rocks and wet sand along the beaches.
Janet Arline Barker is a San Bruno artist who specializes in plein-art painting. Her website is janetarlinebarker.com. Her column appears biweekly on Sundays.