Art, process and design blog of an aspiring industrial designer.

The Wave

“At all times love and discipline have led to a beautiful environment and a good life.”
– Charles Eames

Image for the original painting taken from here.

Here is a landscape painting and reproduction I did of The Wave by Gustave Courbet in 1871, which currently sits in the National Gallery of Scotland. I chose do this landscape, because I thought it was so reminiscent of the famous Japanese painting, The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai in the 1830’s. It was reminiscent, but so clearly opposing in style and intent. While painting, the differences between the two paintings was like a constant reminder of what to try to create in my reproduction.

When first seeing it, I found The Wave to be like a kind of a more traditional, older version of the famous The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Of course, despite the color blocking (which to me screams 19th century in my head), the Japanese painting is about 40 years older than the Courbet’s version of the wave. In any case, I find it fascinating that in two different places in the world (Courbet painted his in France), 40 years apart, this fascination with the wildness and chaos of the sea continued. And totally still continues today.

It was very difficult to recreate the sea splash effect on a much smaller scale painting and also get the exact right shades for many differing shades of blue and green and white and grey, but the most interesting and challenging part of this painting was all of the vague shapes within it. Unlike with portraiture or still life, when painting landscape there are no obvious shapes in which to start out your shading. You can create your own general shapes of course, but the whole effect of a traditional landscape is layers and colors and shapes slowly, translucently blending together to make a whole. A blocked out landscape is really never the same as a landscape where the paints slip in and out of our consciousness and the levels on your cardboard (in my case :) ).

“The Great Wave Off Kanagawa” image taken from here.

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