Even if this place existed ( it is probably constructed from bits and pieces of real places that Waugh combined in his imagination) you couldn't set up this low on the waterline without the waves rearranging your equipment every twenty seconds or so. There are some very important advantages to this level's view though. Some of them are.
- Like receding "flats" in a theater set, the objects sit one in front of another, and step back at an oblique angle into the picture plane. This groups the forms and gives great potential for showing how those forms recede.
- It eliminates the great desert of water above the surf and below the horizon that has little going on in it of interest and is always a problem to paint.
- It allows the artist to show the front side, the business end of the wave. When looking down on waves, their backs appear, the backs of waves are not very useful in portraying the oncoming waves, although glimpses of them do reveal the forms of the wave..
- This view is the most dramatic, it makes us think that wave is coming right at us. This gives more drama than having the waves flopping harmlessly about in a giant washtub at our feet. There is excitement because that wave is COMING RIGHT AT US!
- The low vantage point drops the horizon, so that the water and rocks can break and conceal that straight line. That's a big help from a design standpoint. That long unbroken horizon is a big problem in seascape. Notice above, how Waugh ran those rocks up to such a height that they tower over our heads, their jagged vertical forms countering the horizontal thrust of the oncoming sea.
I painted the water today in Rockport, Massachusetts at Halibut Point. There was real good surf and I made a sketch that is very promising. After I work on it a little, if I don't ruin it, I will post it on the blog as an example of something or other.