This was used as an image for Neighsayer's 'At Least 1000 Years' on youtube, so for me It's Celestia the day after banishing Nightmare Moon. ---
It's the start of a new day and Celestia is, with great pain in her heart, for the first time ever in her life setting the moon and raising the sun, and for the first time ever also truly alone. She realizes she's now on her own not only to rule the Equestria, but also alone to live her immortal life. To live it in this beautiful world, while Luna, turned monster, but nonetheless her sister, is damned to existence on a vast cold barren of the moon. She is contemplating about what she did just a few hours ago. If she did the right thing, if she even had right to do it, if she could have done anything else to stop Nightmare Moon, whether there was any other way... And it dawns to her, as the new day is slowly waking, that her, despite staying in world filled with life, is in the exact same situation as Luna.
For who knows how long will it be untill they'll see each other again? It seems like eternity to her. The sun will rise and set thousand times, the world will change hundreds of times, generations will come and go, but loneliness inside her will never cease until she will see her sister again one day.
But watching sun rays brighten the sky and coat the very earth in their magnificent gold hue, deep in her heart Celestia finds resolve, finds hope.
For to her, although she is immortal, time has a meaning.
Beacuse time is not only her or Luna. Time is the whole world. Time is the lives of those ponies who live here, time is the lives of their descendants and descendats of those. Every single one unique in all of creation. How she could let this slip away? She will be here for them, she must. It's bigger than her. And one day, after aeon which would seem to her as just a blink of an eye, one day which will come sooner than she would ever expect, of that she is now sure, she will see her sister again.
.......... (now I imagine her taking off and flying off in some unspecified direction) Ok, I got a little carried away there with those long sentences and whatnot (and then there's that thing that English isn't my first language), so I hope it's readable.
Please, take it as my tribute to your work, Saros.
One of the best pony pictures I've come across. The entire illumination, from the sun cast land to the wondrous faint glow of Celestia's hair; its absolutely beautiful. I cut out the border for my own taste, but its still a great piece. Guess who has a new desktop wallpaper... this guy!
Hasbro's reason: She was originally supposed to be Queen Celestia, the oldest of the two sisters, without any parents, so she should be Queen. But Hasbro wanted her to be a princess. I assume its because its more comfortable for small children, for her to be referred to as that.
My reason that I like to run with is that Celestia and Luna were always co-ruling Equestria, thus she never changed her name regardless of outranking her sister by age to be the new queen.
She's a princess, because Queens in animated movies (mostly Disney) and some cartoons were always imaged as evil. Queen Chrysalis for example. So, for giving her a image of good and kindness, she's a princess. Simple as that.
I think it's Lauren Faust who explained it that way.
Quick critique because I'm short on time these days:
Light effects look fantastic. Especially on the hills. Value range is very solid, good job.
Colors don't feel like the time of day. [link] Too much yellows/greens. Punch up the reds/oranges. Could probably accomplish this with a gradient layer set to "overlay" or "softlight"--but make sure you distribute them [reds/oranges] across the the image, in the form of highlights/edgelighting. Could probably use some purples and magentas in the sky too. Darken the foreground of the landscape just a little more -do this with filters/adjustment options... not a brush. You have some nice lighting effects you wouldn't want to mess up. Try a pale red or orange gradient, set to "multiply" or "overlay"
Shadows aren't black. Are they? Look outside during sunset/sunrise. As a general rule for twilight light: Reds in the back, blues in the front. (During the day, this is reversed: Blues in the back for atmospheric haze, and reds in the foreground) To test/change shadow color, create a new layer. Apply a dark blue (more on the green side, lower in saturation) gradient and set the layer mode to "lighten". Adjust its brightness and layer opacity until it looks right.
Stars are too large and too numerous. Looks like weird snow. Less stars, and smaller ones. They should not be fuzzy or have blurry edges (instead: pinpricks and dots of light).
Your clouds look great. Add a few more wispy ones towards the top of the image, specifically behind Celestia (overlapping enhances depth), touching the edge of the picture. This will bring your foreground and background together, while expanding the distance between both.
A touch of atmospheric haze along the horizon.
Consider Celestia's mane: It's flowy and sparkly... So, would it reflect/absorb light in the same way as a regular mane? You have some glow effect... but the blackness of your shadows kills it.
Keep up the good work! You are improving with each new painting.