Around this time last year my husband and I went to our local Melbourne Cup race meeting at the Archer Racecourse. It was a great chance to dress up and watch Australia’s most prestigious horse race (albeit on the big screen!). Even though we are a long way from Melbourne there were plenty of stylish ladies strutting their stuff. I have always had a desire to draw fashionable street-style people but am never game enough to approach them to take their photo! Hence my illustrated street style plans have never come to fruition.
At this particular meet there was an absolutely gorgeous woman who appeared to be the head judge for the fashions on the field. I remember she was wearing the most stunning fascinator and just oozed elegance. This is somewhat of a rarity where I live. Classic race day dress standards are little more … lets say “relaxed” in this part of the country!. I eventually plucked up the courage to introduce myself (after much cajoling from my husband) and asked if I could take her photo. She very graciously obliged.
The following week I finished my racing-street-style illustration (admittedly it wasn’t very good). On posting my illustration to Instagram I thought I’d better tag the lovely lady in question. To my surprise I discovered that she was Brooke Strahan a talented artist – illustrating fashion to boot! Not only that, but Brooke is a fashions on the field guru AND author (talk about over achiever!). Check out Brooke’s fabulous blog here. From there we struck up a bit of a “Insta-friendship”.
From little things big things grow!
Brooke got in contact with me earlier this year and asked if I would provide a prize, and be a judge, for the Shoalhaven Turf Club’s – Nowra Cup – ‘Girls Day Out’ Fashions on the Field event. Of course I jumped at the chance! Who wouldn’t want to judge fashions on the field!
Initially I just wanted to draw a horse and a woman in a fabulous head-piece. I chose this Phillip Treacy piece as Treacy is the king of British millinery and you can’t go past roses on race day!. It turned out to be a really “organic” piece, starting off with the horse and the woman but grew to include the Shoalhaven Archer raceway in the background and some roses in the foreground. I hadn’t draw a horse since I was probably 11 years old and surprised myself how well it turned out. I remember a time when horses were all I drew! I actually think the horse is much better than the girl in this one. Maybe I need to go back to drawing horses.
The event was wonderful. The Shoalhaven Turf Club put on a fabulous day and my husband and I were treated to some fantastic hospitality. It was such fun to judge the beautiful fashions on the field and I was so impressed at the effort the ladies (and gents) put in to their outfits. Lucky me also got to wear a beautiful head-piece courtesy of fellow fashions on the field judge Pink Millinery.
.. and grow
Brooke got in contact with me a few months ago to once again illustrate something for the winner of Shoalhaven Turf Club’s Melbourne Cup Fashions on the Field and once again be part of the judging panel. Yes. Yes. Yes.
I jumped straight in and started on another Philip Treacy fascinator. Alas sometimes things don’t turn out quite as planned. The image in my head for this gouache and pencil piece was sooo much better than the reality. I liked it at the time but now I feel a little bit underwhelmed by it, which is kind of annoying because that netting took me forever! I’ve decided to attempt something a little more ambitious (or at least ambitious for me). Now I fear I have bitten off more than I can chew and its only 3 weeks to race day!