The Golden Hour, Opuntia Engelmannii, Superstition Mountains, AZ
50×40 Oil on Canvas
There is a reason why photographers love the moment just before the sun sinks into the western horizon. The aesthetics are ideal; warm light bounces around and through vegetation and the landscape, which only hours ago lacked definition in the bright sun, begins to yield to more subtle, dreamy hues like blues and purples.
This is my favorite time of day to visit the Superstition Mountains in the springtime. The late-day light aids in the location of cactus blooms, like spotlights focused on actors on a darkening stage.
I love this time of day not only for the light and shadows, but also for the way it makes me feel. It is happy hour after all. The day is spent, whether good or bad, and it’s time to relax and take note of the setting sun, and raise a toast the day’s end.
This native Arizona plant, the Opuntia Engelmannii, is prolific out here. Its shades of yellow can vary from plant to plant, ranging from bright yellow to butterscotch. On this late April day, I observed some beautiful blush and apricot hues dancing in the petals and I knew it would make a beautiful painting. The blooms were hanging low on the branch so I crouched down, first checking for rattlesnakes that could be underfoot. It was all clear, and all was as it should be. The classic end to the perfect Arizona day. Cheers Arizona, stay golden.