Wendt had a neat way of reducing his forms into squared off shapes which was idiosyncratic and gave a blocky powerful look to his work. Below is the painting again, and I have marked it up a little.
This is pretty obvious but I will quickly describe the thrusting of the forms in bullets. Their purpose is to carry the eye through the painting. This is more commonly thought of as being done with line direction, but the idea is the same.
- 1, thrusts powerfully upward.
- 2, curves in front the right and feeds you into 1.
- 3, feeds you upward toward 1.
- 4, starts you into the painting and up to the greater thrusting forms that make this big pyramid work.
- 5, carries you up and out the upper right hand corner. That is like solving the equation of direction he has established with the rest of his forms..
- Waugh has used the foreground rock at 1, to drive the viewer deep into the scene.
- 2 and 3, also channel us into the middle "punchline" area.
- 4, the wave itself is thrusting inward from the right, entering the scene with great force.
- 5, like 1 stands solidly ready to receive, unmoved, the force of the oncoming surf. Seascape painters routinely set up these two forces, the oncoming power of the wave and the the unyielding resistance of the shore.
I often see contemporary landscape paintings that have static forms, rather than forms used to aid the feeling and power of the painting. Both of these paintings are dynamic and exciting largely as a result of their thrusting forms.