Monday, 14 October 2013

Sunday treats

Living by the sea has so many benefits, like the warmer air thanks to the gulf stream, the beautiful places to walk to and the easy access to seafood fresh from the sea.  The north of Brittany is renowned for it's shellfish from scallops through lobsters and mussels to oysters, all of which are distributed throughout France.  We buy our scallops live in their shells from the fish counter at the port and you have to be very careful opening them as they can give you a sharp nip by shutting suddenly!   The oysters we buy on a Sunday morning at the village shop where the producer sets up her stall and has a continuous queue till all are sold.   We tend to go out for the mussels as they take ages to clean and the local restaurants sell them with excellent chips too!  I'm afraid we can't afford the lobsters but do have a crab now and again, especially the claws which are so easy to cook and eat.
Yesterday Bob went out extra early to make sure of getting some of these flat oysters which we've never tried before.  They are half the size of the normal ones we have and twice the price at 1 euro each. They were delicious but I think I still prefer the others.  We treat ourselves most Sundays now and have a routine of buying some for our friend, Stephanie the baker, who is too busy to get them herself.  It's no trouble as Bob has to stop at her shop for our baguette on the way home any way!
The shells are difficult to draw having very odd shapes with twists and turns and lots of flaky looking layers.  The one at the top of the post was drawn 3 years ago on smooth paper, sitting in the sun using a summery selection of coloured pencils. The other 2 were drawn yesterday on watercolour paper with a grain and my autumnal colours. The day was dull too and I was rather influenced by the light and feel that they are not so attractive as the first one.  Maybe I should have tried to paint them in watercolours instead but I didn't want to get out the paraphernalia, crayons are so mush easier and cleaner!