First snow came these days and changed the scenery quite a bit. No wild boars today, the battue yesterday with many guns sounding probably chased them away for some time. There were only faint cracks in the twigs and the knocks of the nuthatchs to hear. The fairly quickly changing play light and shadows kept me busy for an hour or so until the cold had wandered through my cloths.
I am curious how the place will look next time. I am prepared to leave some parts of the sketch “in snow” and others without if the snow will go again. The weather forecast speaks about more snow during this week though.
I picked up the big gouache sketchbook today to continue with the forest diary I had not touched since March. There was this total November stillness in the woods that I like so much. Even the jays made no sound and flew away without scolding while walked through the rustling leaves.
I love the first unfinished state of these gouache sketches, they are full of possibilities and inspire the imagination.
The low sun in November puts a special light on the landscape. Shadows are longer, contrasts seem to be stronger too, the blue of the sky is more intense. In the forests there is an almost magic atmosphere. A few steps aside from the walking path I settled down to draw the shadows of trees at a big trench.
Our visual memory is a strong tool, but drawing always from life does not train us to recall what we have seen. On a workshop years ago I heard from the tutor that it is possible to draw almost everything we have seen from memory quite accuratly. It might take some effort to recall visual impressions of the past in a wake state, but why shouldn´t we be able to imagine things as clear as in many of our dreams?
Recently I have been doing many sketches and drawings from memory as for example the little tree landscape in this post.
Compared to Stephen Wiltshire my capabilities are simply embarrassing. I tend to think that Giovanni Piranesi had similar brain capacities to store uncounted details of buildings in his mind as there are hardly any detailed preparatory sketches or drawings by Piranesi.
I wonder whether all the attempts to embrace landscape are not much more than cultivation of a sort of homey nostalgia. The more I get involved with landscape and it´s depiction the less enchanting the whole thing seems to get. Poets must feel the same paradox. Orhan Pamuk has dissected the mechanisms that finally built up to the pretence of a special sense and meaning of place in his impressive book on the city of Istanbul. We are connected to our home like a dog is conditioned to it´s sleeping place. In the end there is nothing out there, except what we want to see and much more what we want to feel.