Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Painting a Light Chop

This week I featured a print of my seascape painting of the shipwreck of the ocean going steam tug "Gypsum King".  This shipwreck occurred on St. Mary Ledge, the outer most of the dreaded Murr Ledges, off Grand Manan.  The ledge juts up abruptly out of the open sea, so waves around it are as they would be in the open water.  So "behind the art" today, we will look at painting a light chop, which is common when there is not a lot of wind, perhaps a light breeze.

If we look at the water in this painting, we can see that I purposely did not paint a heavy sea, but the sort of sea that would be common there any day.  Even though the waves are not large, they are quite different from the calm ripples of a river.  They are sharper and more irregular and multi-faceted.  If we look at the stern of the tug, which is sunk and resting on bottom, we see the water pouring over the stern as waves come and go.  There is also a lot of foam around the ship as the little waves hit the hull.

Looking at the bow, on the rocks, we can note that the waves form into little breakers on the rocky shore, creating surf where they come ashore.  These certainly look different from the chop just a short distance from the shore.  Because the bottom drops off steeply, breakers do not form until right next to shore.

Notice that with these little waves, there is some foam from their breaking, even though they are not large waves.  Certainly they are very sharp, very different from river ripples, featured last week.

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