To my small Kentucky high school came an honest-to-goodness art teacher, Mademoiselle Joanna, from Paris, France. It was love at first sight. She was young, petite and beautiful with a classic French accent, yet, softer and sexier. But best of all, she could draw and paint horses.
As a Kentucky artist born in the horse country of the Bluegrass, I have always been ashamed that I can’t draw a horse. Joanna tried without success to teach me the basics of horse anatomy. Despite my love of horses, to this day I’ve never been able to draw one properly.
In other aspects of French I excelled: I learned the difference between Manet and Monet; I read Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, cover to cover in the original French; and, I dined on escargot for the first time—surprisingly tasty.
Excerpt from Stephen Hall’s biography.