I did a bit of an investment and bought the 48 color neopastel set by Caran d’Ache, after I had tried the smaller one. An altered art book, overpainted with thinned oil color will suit me as support for a series of oil pastel sketches I want to do this year.
Drawing with oil pastels on a colored underground is great fun. The textures the brush strokes with oil colors created help to create interesting sketches. The random patches of color can be a great inspiration to try unusual color combinations. I apply the color with a very soft touch first to avoid that structures and other effects by the underpainting are not lost. I can always get the surface fully covered with oil pastel later by putting more pressure on the color sticks if wanted.
This is the scenery that I used for this sketch, picking some of the many elements seen .
On a recent excursion I had another encounter with a raven, which I had met two summers back not far away from the same place in the woods. I heard that loud remarkable calls and then I could see him flying over the grey sky. I had my phone camera ready and wished the bird would come nearer and so he did. The bird clearly was checking me out taking turns closer and closer to me and finally flew over my head to see what was going on. I remember that the first time I heard the raven call a chill went over my back, this time it was more like a friendly hello. There was no doubt that this bird was “speaking” to me and we had a short interaction.
Later on the same day I found this video on a blog post on “Some landscapes”. Environmental philosopher David Abraham talks about how nature and landscape spoke to humans in the past and how things are today.
There can be some communication between animals and humans, but other than that I have doubts. Humans tend to project their thoughts and feelings on nature. Also we are always ready to make sense of what we see no matter what (see my encounter with the raven). Trees, grass and boulders are not interested in us the least bit, nor do they speak to us. If they speak to us all we hear is our own voice. This is something different from knowledge and experience about phenomena in nature such like changes in weather or growing potatoes. On the other hand the theory that the message of a boulder to a Hopi women must have been similar to what the scribbles in the Financial Times is to modern man is intriguing.