In birdwatchers’ mythology (yes, there is such a thing) the sender (or “sendari” in Finnish’ birders’ jargon) is the spirit that sends rare birds to birdwatchers to twitch. I would like to think it’s a joke, but I’m not always so sure about that. On a small remote island (legendary for its many rarities) in the Alandian archipelago, there actually is a place, an old dead tree stump like the one in my painting, where dedicated “believers” bring gifts to the spirit in order to make it send the most exceptional birds to them, a country first, or other megaticks.

It may be a joke, but it’s also an echo from the (not necessarily so distant) past. For our ancestors it certainly was crucial that the “sender” was generous, and sent animals to to the hunting tribes to feed them. Experienced hunters new the routes of the reindeers, horses, and other big game animals, new when to expect the fish to swim up the rivers and creeks, and the migrating birds to return. But they could never be quite sure. If something went wrong – weather patterns shifted, and the animals didn’t arrive in time – the clans dependent on hunting, could face severe starvation. So, while their skills and knowledge were not always enough to secure their food supplies and future prosperity, they turned to the unknown, and appealed to the mysterious forces that seemed to rule all life and decide the fate of people.

A digital painting using ArtRage. Normally, I paint in a very traditional way, without using any “tricks”, and even the blurred effects are achieved with basic tools, thin layers and light touch. But lately I have tried the special ArtRage features, like in this painting, to get a feeling of depth, by using the palette knife (“instant blur”) or blurring a whole layer. Quite fun really, so much so that I must be careful not to use it too often.