Monday, February 4, 2013

Antholzer Wald

Antholzer Wald  Watercolor  12x16

Most of the Antholz valley (Antholzertal) is filled with open farmland and beautiful solidly-built alpine-style barns and houses with ornate woodwork.  But all along the edges of the valley, where the land is too steep to graze on, are tall straight fir trees.  These steep hillsides show signs of logging--lots of scattered small streaks of cleared timber that must have been hard work to log.  I definitely wonder a bit at how they avoid erosion on those super-steep faces--though the clearcuts are small and spread out and almost look like natural slides or something, they still must get some erosion problems.  At the base of the valley are large lumber-yards with stacks upon stacks of extremely well-organized lumber.  So apparently all those little hillside mini-clearcuts must yield a lot of timber.  Looking at those stacks of lumber, I remembered that Holz means wood (or lumber) in German.  So Antholz was actually named after its timber.  If they'd wanted to refer to the "woods" they would have said "wald" instead of "holz."  The Italian name for the valley--Anterselva--also shows this meaning as well.  Imagine that if it were allowed to return to its natural state, the entire valley would be a beautiful but significantly less sunny sylvan landscape.  I painted this from a photo I took as I skied the pass at the end of the valley, called Staller Pass.