2003-10-12

Running from the Bulls

Three days ago, I went to Vejer with two canvases of 92cm square. I hiked out to my spot and painted my favorite three trees. In the afternoon after painting and after the sun had gone down but before darkness came, I took a walk down the new 2-lane highway being constructed. I could hear the cowbells jingling but I couldn?t see any cows. As I came past a ridge, I looked for the retaining fence which kept the cows. Instead, I saw a very large bull and he saw me. I thought to myself, they call them cowbells, not bullbells while meanwhile noticing that there was no retaining fence here. The bull didn?t turn and run like before. So I did! I looked back to see if I was being pursued. Ernest Hemingway in his bullfighting documentary, The Dangerous Summer, noted that a skilled matador left alone with a fighting bull, would be killed in less than two minutes without the help of his other toreros. My heart still racing, I arrived back at my campsite ungored and happily closed the gate behind me. A full moon was making its way up in a tangerine sky. All night I heard the cowbells jingling on the other side of the hill and I imagined some campesino moving his bulls to my field for safekeeping for the night. In the morning I ate my peaches and searched out a site to paint my second painting. Several hours later, I quit for the day and returned to my campsite where I used and old abandoned International Harvester tractor as a table for my things. While packing my paintings I noticed some unusual marks in the previous day's painting. A rabbit had come in the night and seemed to like the smell of the Cadmium Yellow paint. The marks had already dried and are permanently part of the painting. Now there is a yellow nosed bunny and a blue footed night hawk roaming about my valley. I made my way back and an Ecuadoran man gave me a ride up the hill back into Vejer. I had a few hours to pass before the next bus, so I stopped in a tapas bar and had a beer and tapas of carne al toro (bull meat) and a seafood dish called salpic?n de mariscos.