Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wave anatomy and its importance to the seascape painter in the determination of form in light and the ramifications thereof, plus additional material

Above is a breaker, I shot a lot of them to get one this perfect. It is almost the ideal wave. I am going to begin talking about the anatomy of a wave by referring you to your John Carlson book. It IS the text for this blog, I guess. In the book he talks about the law of consequent angles.
For those of you who don't know about that, it is a system for understanding the values before us in a landscape, depending upon the angle the various planes present to the sky, or light source. Something that sticks up from the ground or surface like a wall, presents no planes to the light and is therefore darkest in value . The surface of the earth or water presents all of itself to the light, like a floor and therefore is high in value. Planes that are slanting upwards like ramps from the "floor" receive more light depending upon their consequent angles to the light. If you have Carlsons book reread the chapter on this again, it will help you through the understanding of that which is to follow in the coming posts.

The technique of painting waves and seascape requires understanding how the surface anatomy turns their form toward or away from the light. A seascape painter uses the anatomical knowledge of how waves are shaped to know which way EVERY plane on their surface is facing. This combined with knowledge from observation of the water itself enables the seascape painter to invent the surf. There are many planes, perhaps dozens in a wave. In order to paint them you need to know which way they are all facing. To make this even more complex, most of them are mirrors.

AS an example, look over at the left hand side of that wave, to the left of the break. There are two major value areas there. They are the upright "wave: forms that rise like walls, and the top planes that "ramp' upwards and reflect the sky. All over the body of the wave and the surface of the water similar planes are doing the same thing, many of them are pointed like mountains, in fact the up planes in a wave tend to resemble mountain ranges. Notice the "floor" in front of the wave, it is of a higher key than the rising planes of the front of the wave and below the foam of the wave it's mirror like quality is displayed. These are the sort of things that I will be discussing in the upcoming posts, as I lay out in a hopefully orderly fashion the structure of the parts of an ideal wave.

I received an e-mail today from the Old Lyme Art Association saying that the lower level of their historic building, containing their studios, has been flooded. The building is close to the Lieutenant river which must be very high. Those of you outside New England may be unaware that we have had, and continue to receive record rainfall amounts. Boston is in a state of emergency with the National Guard called out. I am supposed to deliver a painting for a show at the Guild tomorrow, I hope I can get there.
Reproduced below is their e- mail to me;

Dear Members, Students and Friends,

The Lyme Art Association has suffered significant flood damage from this week's rain, and the downstairs studio will be closed through the week. Any classes scheduled this week are CANCELED unless you hear otherwise from us.

Both downstairs computers have been damaged in the flood. They held important Education databases and class rosters. If you have registered for a class this spring, please help us by calling the LAA between 10am and 5pm and giving us your enrollment information again. Please be patient if you get a busy signal - we only have 2 phone lines.

We will not be able to respond to your emails as our wireless server was also destroyed.

Thank you in advance for your patience and support as we recover from this disaster. Our upstairs galleries did not suffer any water damage and will be open all week.

With kindest regards,

Susan Ballek
Executive Director


Unknown said...

Nice title.

If the rain continues, I can study the wave action in my backyard, as we have riverfront property, and the Contoocook is higher than I've ever seen it right now. Some roads around here are under water, but we are most fortunate that generally speaking, we are higher than some surrounding areas.
That is sad news about the Lyme Art Assoc. I hope they have flood insurance. I bet you can call the state police to see if roads down to Boston from your place are passable. My husband is taking the truck to work because his car wouldn't make it through the water on some low lying roads.
I've got my Carlson off the shelf for review.
Also, if Amazon is out of some texts, another good site is abebooks.com - they will often have the books, sometimes cheaper than amazon, sometimes about the same. I got the Robinson book for $4.

Deborah Paris said...

Great intro to the topic of wave "anatomy". Its amazing how all roads lead back to Carlson, isn't it? Stay dry!

mariandioguardi.com said...

Hi Stape,
You can get into Boston, no problem. Stick to te high ways. Just don't come by way of the marshes,Bellerica and the Sudbury River, it's all going to crest this afternoon.

I think it might be time to get my Carlson book out and follow along with your notes in the margin. That book, his manner of writing, just puts me to sleep every time I start it.

sharprm said...

Do you talk about whether edges will be darker anywhere in your blog? (not whether they should be soft or hard). In that picture towards the horizon the ocean gets darker. Are planes parallel to the viewer darker? Thx for your time.

billspaintingmn said...

Art is a science, and science is an art.
It is the creative mind that juggles these to amaze the viewer (or not)
I need to get a handle on this if
I'm to better myself, my art.

willek said...

Nice post, Stape. The mirror part can be stultifying,

Stapleton Kearns said...

I had no problem getting to Boston and back. The rivers are very high here though. I am high and dry though, I hope you remain that way.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is such a great text. So far wwe seem to be dry and I think the water is beginning to recede out there. Rhode island got real wet though.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I hear people say that, but I like the book. It is jammed with information.You are drinking enough coffee right. Stop at Drunkin Donuts and get a coffee regulah.
I got to Boston just fine, I dropped off a painting for a show at the Guild of Boston Artists.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am not sure what you are asking. In seascape the planes that are darkest are those that interpose themselves between us and the light.
Edges can be darker or lighter depending on how the light falls and the form of the object. Pencil drawing is a convention based on dark edges.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't know much about science, but I know what I like!

Sharon Weaver said...

I look forward to getting into the anatomy details of the wave. Hope everyone in the northeast gets through this rain with a dry basement. Surfs up.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. Mirrors are harder for me now also.Stapefying.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Many will not. I seem to have dodged the bullet. There is a river about a hundred yards from my house but its banks are high. Lets hope the Contoocook stays out of Debs basement.

sharprm said...

Thanks for the answer stape I got some further help form concept art .org forum and get it now.