Virtual Art Academy

Critiquing Art: William Wendt, Saddleback Mountain Mission Viejo

Saddleback Mountain Mission Viejo, William Wendt
Saddleback Mountain Mission Viejo, William Wendt

Saddleback Mountain Mission Viejo oil on canvas 30x40in

In this painting you can see how Wendt is a master of shape distinction and design. He carefully designs the trees, bushes and mountains to create an interesting space division in the work. 

His color scheme here is based on a secondary color harmony of orange, violet, and green. But it is a little more complex than that. He breaks each of these secondary colors down into a warm and cool version.

So for example you can see both a red violet and a blue violet, a red orange and a yellow orange, and a cool green and a warm yellow green. It is a little like a double split complementary scheme, but with secondary colors.

This use of a strong color harmony and good shape design probably accounts for much of the success of his work.

An interesting observation that Michal made about this painting by Wendt, and his other work, was his use of zig zag structures in many of his compositions.

William Wendt uses a lot of zig-zag organizational structure.

Michal also pointed out the use of contrast of line. There are many straight lines in the diagonals in the jagged mountains and the strong horizontals in the landscape. He contrasts these with the curved top silhouettes of the trees.

In this other work below, he uses the curved contours of the hills to contrast with straight diagonals. 

So we can see that there is a strong linear design to Wendt’s work.