This image seemed to say everything that would have drawn Maggi Hambling to it. Not that this would have been advisable as it represents the largest wave ever recorded. Somewhere in the north Atlantic between Iceland and the UK in 2016, this monster reached six storeys. The video describes these waves and their origins although not the one in question, and brings home the reality of our planet which is that, with no consciousness, it demands respect. We are of it but we don’t own it. I think Hambling’s sweeping, energetic, gestural style absolutely describes the alienness of this monumental element.
Putting this image in my sketchbook, I immediately felt that a cut down version would suit Hambling’s style better than this landscape. Her waves tower above the viewer; this certainly should but doesn’t. Again, soft pastels but this time applied in sweeps and horizontal bars. Like Hambling, I’ve ‘imagined’ more colours than appear in the photograph (which is actually a still from a video) and aimed for a mountainous wave that sweeps upwards and forms cliffs with itself, drawing its colours from its inherent energy. Dynamic, kinetic, terrifying, and spectacular; although you’d need a dot of a beach ball on there to really get a sense of the size!
Source image via the video above.