Sunday, November 9, 2008
The past few days I've been hanging out some with Bobby, one of the duo of cattlemen leasing the barns and pastures. We're a bit alike in being obsessed. I think of almost nothing but art; he thinks of almost nothing but cattle. "Cattle are my life." It makes for really interesting conversation, and since he's working all the while, I try to be helpful (this morning we built a gate.) and let him do most of the talking. As a relief from the sprawling research for You'll Always Come Back, it's refreshing to listen and learn about something so focused. He speaks the old farm way (saying ye for you, etc) even more than Cebah does, and there's something very pleasant and settling about that to my ears.
The interest in cattle was catching, and when I started watching them with the sort of attention Bobby gives, (well not quite that level of devotion...) I started wanting to draw them. I've drawn cows before a few times, but I've never tried a herd.
Cattle are very curious creatures. This drawing was informed by a photo that I took just as the herd ran across the field, halting suddenly right in front of me to see what I was up to. I suppose someone who hadn't been around cattle very much would have found this last second stampede stop alarming. As a herd movement it never hurts to scare something in your territory, just in case.
Bobby confirmed a thought that came to mind, after soaking up some of the peaceful placid feeling that a herd of cattle can generate - bucolic - cow-easy, as it were, and a paradox too; the reason cattle have such a deep sense of calm is that they stay very alert.