About half a mile from here the local gambling shop was robbed on a sunny Sunday morning. The railroad runs behind a curtain of trees not far away as the road, busy with cars and lorries. There is the permanent sough of wheels on asphalt and steel in the air. The cows are hidden from my view, but I see their traces in the branches of trees and bushes pruned as far as the mouth can reach. It been like this for decades now.
This small gouache sketch with a view on local vine yards was done on the 1st of November in sunshine. I taped the paper to get a clear borderline, I had seen this on Nathan Fawkes Land Sketch blog.The autumn foliage is at its peak at the end of October to the first days of November. Only a couple of days before there was snow falling. It was quite dangerous to go into the woods, but I could not resist to take some images of such a phenomenon that occurs only every 40 years as meteorologists said.
This is a view to our local landfill. It is placed on the backside of a beautiful ridge that was covered with forest. On the top the trees die due to the methane gas which blocks the openings on the backside of the leaves from closing. As a result the trees evaporate too much and they wither over the years.
I have started to read “Edgelands – journeys into England’s true wilderness”(link to amazon). Two poets write about performed and neglected landscapes we find more and more. I find it problematic to praise or celebrate disfigured and neglected places. The book is full of ornamental,nostalgic texts in the picturesque tradition. This “lyric” (in fact prose) sounds like a new touristic and travel sales lingo. Also the WWII ruins on the continent were praised as must see highlights. Locals have not discovered this sort of landscape celebration yet, still the old stereotypes of idyllic rural looks are poured over the real landscape. All that what does not fit is blocked out and neglected: we are all witness of a dying landscape.
Recently the fast expanding corn plantations for energy (another great new money source for mid size towns apart from speeding tickets) came on the radar of newspaper readers and promptly the officials denied the rising monoculture look. Hobby farmers gather to protest against tax on their old-time tractors and make it to the news. Their argument: we preserve the landscape without making profit. Unfortunately that is simply not the case. Landscape is nothing but a commodity to be exploited, used and consumed.
“Edgelands” is the landscape consumption gourmet guide, the ideology that helps to keep the idea of landscape alive when there is no landscape left, but the utterly boring,random patchwork of exploitation and neglect.
I found an old paperback on my book shelf an AKAI Jazz and rock discography from the 1980′s and could not resists to use it a sketchbook for quick landscape notes.
The drawing is made with a Pentel ink brush pen, a tool that I can highly commend.
There a a couple of places in the woods that I like to revisit regularly for years now. One of those is a the edge of a beech forest clearing. Big trunks and tree stumps, coarse woody debris, are exposed to the elements, rain and heat throughout the year. I love the ,many delicate greys and browns that occur on old pieces of wood when the bark has come off. This is a small oil pastel study in my sketchbook.