oil on canvas; signed lower left
Charles H. Woodbury entered MIT in 1882 as a student in Course 2, Mechanical Engineering. While carrying the heavy academic load that MIT required (eight courses in his first semester alone), Woodbury continued his lifelong engagement with painting and drawing. He exhibited his work and took on his first painting student while still an undergraduate. After graduation, Woodbury continued his professional career as an artist and teacher, calling upon in both his work and teaching the keen skills of observation required by his engineering studies at MIT. Woodbury's scientific understanding of wave motion can clearly be seen in The Blue Wave. In this painting he creates movement and energy in the swelling wave and swirling sky, exemplifying his direction to students to "paint in verbs not in nouns." In appreciation for his education, Woodbury gave numerous paintings to MIT that can be found across campus and serve as a reminder that the Institute's relationship with the arts dates back to its founding.