Friday, April 2, 2010

The beginnings of a breaking wave

As a wave nears the shore its bottom begins to be effected by that in several ways. The first is that the orb of energy I described last night is lifted up so that more of it becomes exposed above the surface of the water. The wave "grows" in size because more of it is revealed by the lower level of the water about it's feet.

The second effect from the shallow water is s slowing of the bottom of the moving orb. This causes that orb to lean forward at a greater angle. As the whole system grows unstable the water from the back of the wave beginning to rush over the front. Below is a wave doing that. .

The cascade of water over the top has begun, when it hits the face of the wave it explodes into foam. Here's what that looks like close up.

The back of the wave is visible in this picture, below that the water becomes more aerated and then turns to foam. Below is a diagram of the surface of the water. As I explained last night, most of this water is a skin over the forces below, being stretched more than moved by the force of the rolling orb hidden beneath it. Oh, do do da day!

12 comments:

willek said...

I am with you so far, Stape. These pictures prove what the camera cannot do for seascapes. Look at all that burnt out foam.

Deborah Paris said...

Great analysis. And for a bonus we can see the mirror effect in front on the breaking wave compared to the darker trough to each side.

Gregory Becker said...

This is gold knowledge. There are so many different value juxtapositions. Whenever I observe moving water my eyes want to follow it's movement and I lose my ability to analyze what I am seeing. I dont live near the shore but I do have some waterfalls nearby and recognizing the value patterns are difficult. Any advice on fixing your gaze to get better results with rendering?

willek said...

Gregory. This may sound wierd, but sometimes if you look at the spot you want to understand and blink rapidly, you can simulate a strobe effect and it can be helpful to see what is going on. It helps at the shore where things repeat. I have not done this on streams. Stape, are you a heavy blinker?

Prairie painter said...

I really appreciate this set of blogs about waves. Although I don't live near the ocean, I did grow up there, and hope to return some day. I love wave paintings, and now I will be able to look at waves more analytically when I do get out to the coast again this summer. Thanks!

Deb said...

interesting tip, Willek. Thanks.
Stape, got the Smart book and Robinson book already - haven't had time to really study them, but so far, your illustrations and description are clearer.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Willek:
A seascape makes it so obvious what the difference is between a painting and photography. Photos take you less far in the construction of a seascape than any other form of painting other than expressionism, because seascape is the closest thing to expressionism that is still traditional painting.
............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Deborah:
Thank you. I think there are some interesting comparisons to be made between the tonalist aesthetic and seascape painting.
.......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Willek:
I have never tried that. I would like to take digital movies out there and study them frame by frame, run them forwards and backwards.
I am more of a heavy breather, Willek.
.................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

prairie;
I paint seascape because they are so challenging and I liker all of the technology. I don't think of my self as expert at it, but I have done a lot of them.
.......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Deb:
Thank you. I believe that illustration of the rollers may be the ugliest thing I have done in years.It may have explained the concept, but it was wicked homely.
......Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gregory:
This is OLD knowledge.The same things happen over and over again if you watch for them. Try putting butter in your shoes and holding a spent bottle rocket between your teeth, while standing on one foot.
..............Stape