The Melbourne Cup is one of those strange local holidays that, despite it only being a public holiday in metropolitan Melbourne, is so celebrated and part of the local culture that I tend to forget that not everybody in the country – or even the state – is having the day off. This year we went to a friend’s BBQ lunch. The hostess lives in the country, though not much more than an hour’s drive from the city, on a large block. She’s always been keen to have people out there to paint and sketch for the day.
When I took my sketchbook out and started looking around for things to draw, friends who have noted my new habit openly suggested I draw the dogs, both who are poodles and were sitting on people’s laps. One of them was sitting on the hostesses lap, so I made a start drawing that.
Now here’s the funny thing. The hostess put the dog down, got up and went inside.
Maybe she felt uncomfortable about being sketched, but it was openly discussed, I said I was going to draw her and changed position to get a good view. She’s not the sort to hold back from saying ‘don’t draw me’.
Maybe she realised she was uncomfortable only after I started. Now, of course, I’m all uncomfortable about having drawn her and wondering if I caused offence.
Anyway, I did get enough line work done to roughly capture the dog, and I simply drew the hostess’ hat from memory so I didn’t have a headless figure – in fact I’d intended to have the hat mostly cover the face anyway.