Largin’ it.

You would think, from the slightly anodyne and predictable selection of recent sketches here, that nothing especially remarkable had occurred during the month-or-so since my last post. If only.

Even though I’m not a political cartoonist, it shames me that, in the wake of last month’s U.S election result and the potentially horrendous implications it will have for all our futures, I’ve not yet produced a single artistic response to recent events worthy of the name. I take some comfort from the fact that that even seasoned commentators on such matters are struggling to make sense of the new world order, but at least they’re giving it a go. As a genuinely concerned liberal/progressive type, shouldn’t I be manning a barricade somewhere, or at the very least attempting to skewer Donald Trump on the end of a witheringly satirical caricature? I suppose I could, but the idea of impotently adding one more disgruntled drawing to the tsunami of cartoons already overwhelming the internet, fills me with inertia every time it occurs to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge admirer of political cartoons and cartoonists – the best practitioners manage to say more in a single image than most journalists manage to convey over two pages of closely-spaced text, and individual politicians can become forever defined by their caricature doppelgangers. I’ve never been convinced, though, that political cartoons have the power to substantively change anything; my impression is that the subjects themselves, with their rhinoceros hide and bullet-proof egos, are generally more flattered than wounded, by even the most scathing portrayals. It’s not at all uncommon for members of the political class to collect original cartoon artwork that features their wonderful selves. The traditional location for exhibiting these treasures is, I believe, the right-honourable downstairs toilet, but second homes and duck-houses all provide perfectly acceptable alternative hanging-space. A lucrative side-line for the cartoonists themselves, certainly, but also suggestive of an art form better equipped for entertainment than the landing of a fatal blow.

Of course, if things deteriorate during 2017 to the extent that many experts are predicting (although who listens to experts these days, eh – what do THEY know?), I might change my tune completely and petulantly start drawing unflattering cartoons of Trump, Farage, LePen, Wilders, et al – then they’ll be sorry. Until such a time, allow me to present the following lacklustre offerings…

… a couple of random iPad doodles from those heady, carefree, ‘pre-result’ days of early November:


The nearest I got to a drawn ‘response’ – a bit literal, but this seemed to reflect the mood across the world on November 9th:


And breathe.

Back on more familiar ground, here are a few life-drawings of Kate from three weeks ago. Such a great model:





This image accompanied a Christmas drinks party invitation. A traditional party snack of ours at this time of year is ‘Devils on Horseback’ – dried prunes wrapped in streaky bacon (other dried fruits can be used) and grilled until the bacon crisps up and the prunes attain the temperature of molten lava. A festive joy.


At the last couple of life-drawing sessions, I went large. Larger than normal anyway – A1 and A2 sheets, standing at an easel rather than sitting at a desk, and getting my lily-white hands good ‘n’ grubby in the process, with chalks, pastels and charcoal. Mixed results, but excellent fun. The storage and transport implications of working at this size (particularly when travelling everywhere by bike) probably mean that the up-sizing experiment will be short-lived, but it’s been an excellent reminder of the value of stepping out of the comfort-zone occasionally.

Here’s a charcoal drawing of the unmistakable Naomi:


…together with the luminous subject herself:





Finally, a couple of large, 10-minute oil pastel sketches of Jenny, with some hurried splashes of big-brush watercolour. The disproportionate length of the thigh in the image on the right can be gauged, to amusing effect, by observing the point where the left foot emerges, relative to the associated leg.


Note: Drawstring Recipes is unlikely to become a regular feature.


6 thoughts on “Largin’ it.

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