>> Friday, May 28, 2010
Today my illustration class went out to draw cows. Since the pasture was right next to a beach, I decided to walk down to it. It was very different from the beaches I'm accustomed to. As I eased my way down the steep path, flowers and shrubbery surrounded me on both sides and made the air smell like honey. The greenery was beautiful there. Bright red poppies just like in the Monet painting popped up here and there. Tons of tiny wild flowers, mustard flowers, and tiny white and pink honeysuckles crowded the ground. The landscape was beautiful. In one area there were rolling pastures and planted fields, and in other areas there were dark but bright green magnificent trees that piled themselves to the edge of the rocky cliffs that looked over the ocean.
It was exciting for me as it was my first time seeing the Atlantic ocean. It was cloudy weather and the ocean was grey, as I somehow pictured it would be. But then for about 20 minutes, the sun came out and revealed a refreshingly blue sea with aquamarine turf--not at all what I was expecting.
The tide pools were different as well. Below the pools themselves were mostly just sandy bottoms. The rocks were jagged and oddly shaped. Hundreds of thousands of minuscule mussels covered the rocks. There were also large barnacles and weird bulbous things that clung to the rocks. I thought they were a type of keyhole limpet that I had once seen at Little Corona del Mar, but when I touched it, it felt like a slimy water balloon. Then on the wet sand I saw the bell of a jellyfish. It was dead but perfectly intact--about the size of my palm. The sound of the waves was never ceasing but a continuous drone. I took a nice nap on the beach.
It was interesting, or at least different, drawing cows. After crawling under the electric fence and dodging hundreds of meadow muffins, we got up close and personal to about 15-20 cows. Some were Jerseys but others were the black and white mottled Angus cows. When they weren't standing and eating grass, they were sitting and chewing cud. I drew a couple cows that turned out fairly well, but overall it was an okay experience. I think I enjoyed the fact more that I was in a French cow pasture by the Atlantic ocean than just drawing cows.
I came home afterward and had dinner with my host family. We had a menagerie of items: hard boiled eggs, salami, potatoes (pomme de terre), steak (boef) and salad. It was all pretty good despite the hastiness of it. The beef was cooked in a cream sauce which actually tasted good. In fact, the beef was the neighbor's cow. I've never had a neighbor's cow before. At the table we talked about the difference between American food and French food. John was saying how bad American food was because it was full of hormones and antibiotics, but I said that we were so much bigger than the French are, and pointed out the heavy smoking allowed in Europe as opposed to the States. Ah well.
In the evening I sat with Christine and drew her portrait which she was very pleased to have me do. We tried conversing and made progress overall, though we did hit a dead end here and there. All in all it was pretty amusing.