The Radiant Magic of Rainbows


Certain natural phenomena leave onlookers globally gobsmacked for millennia. Unquestionably, the rainbow is one such naturally occurring masterpiece.


Rainbows are magical, because they do not actually exist. Rainbows are an optical illusion that depend on how light and water interact with perspective to allow you to view a cornucopia of color.


Rainbows are Light

Rainbows shine when and where darkness is kept at bay. Without a source of light to hit water droplets at specific angles, there can be no rainbow.


White light is vastly different from white paint, because white light is actually made up of many colors our human eyes cannot see independently without help. Water offers that help.


Fun fact: How humans and animals perceive colors depends on the retina of our eyes. For example, more men than women are colorblind, humans see more color than dogs, and birds see more color than humans!


Rainbows are Water

When white light (like how the sun appears to us) passes through water, the light gets broken up into various color wavelengths. This playful bending and bouncing of light (referred to scientifically as “refracting” and “reflecting”) creates a spectrum of colors you may fondly remember by the popular mnemonic device “Roy G Biv”, which stands for the following colors comprising a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.


Fun fact: Some people, including scientists, merge indigo into blue’s category rather than treat it as a separate color. It’s okay indigo, we love you.


Rainbows are Perspective

Whether and where rainbows appear depends on the onlooker’s position in relation to where a light source (usually the sun) in shining. As explained by National Geographic, “the center of a primary rainbow is the antisolar point, the imaginary point exactly opposite the sun.” Beautifully, this means that our ability to see the wonder of a rainbow literally depends on us having a relationship with nothing less than the sun.


Fun fact: Because each person has a different antisolar point, you will see a different rainbow than a loved one standing right next to you!






Rainbows are the Beautiful Promise of a Better Tomorrow


Rainbows carry substantial personal significance for me and countless others. While I plan on diving deeper into this in future content, I offer this initial insight into my transformation from Biglaw attorney to art professional and advocate:


The first painting commission I booked occurred at my first "show" at a small craft sale in rural Pennsylvania. A lovely woman ordered a small pointillism rainbow, and I will never forget that feeling. The commission was based on a large rainbow piece I was exhibiting entitled “Big Bow.” I choose the name “Big Bow,” as I viewed the artwork as an embodiment of a big present of color wrapped up with a (rain)bow. Since then, I annually create at least one new mini series of “Bitty Bows” (or “small presents of color wrapped up with a (rain)bow”) each year for emerging and returning art collectors.


While I do not know if I will be able to do this each year as my business continues to grow, the rainbow will forever represent to me the beautiful promise of a better tomorrow.



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Coconut Grove Arts Festival

Booth #413

February 15 - 17

Miami, Florida

© 2017 SARA O'CONNOR FINE ART