Snow and Sunshine

On Tuesday evening I was invited to a reception at Henley’s River and Rowing Museum to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Everybody who was anybody was there, and I had a really nice time talking to people I hadn’t seen for a long time. The inspiration for the museum in the first place was the discovery of a flint artefact by Sally Arbib. To house this little piece of history, Sir Martyn Arbib, Sally’s husband, decided to build a museum, and became the chief benefactor of the splendid building that borders the river today.

The frosty view from my studio window

Yesterday dawned cold and snowy prior to a trip to the Cotswolds with my sister-in-law, Val. Yet during the hour it took to drive there the snow turned to rain, and finally to a beautiful sunny day. What a contrast to the scorching hot weather I was basking in a couple of weeks ago. Joanne, a friend from my Singapore days in the 70’s had invited us to lunch - scrumptious as always. Joanne has only recently entered the world of computers, so I spent part of the afternoon joining her to Skype. Borrowing Paul’s idea, we registered her name as thejoannedalston, and after giving her daughter Nicola a call in Washington, joined her as well with the same prefix. So much to their delight we chatted for nearly half an hour totally free of charge.

On the painting front I’ve had quite a productive week. Last Wednesday I finished a portrait in a circular format. The client wanted a similar style, colour and shape to the portraits of the 16th century artist Hans Holbein. Now I await a leather and silk case to arrive from my frame-maker to encase it in.
On Friday a very nice man arrived with his daughter for a commission. She posed beautifully, and having taken a dozen or so photographs I’ve now started her portrait. People don’t realise that the surface of the vellum I use to paint miniatures on varies considerably. But luckily I’ve found a really good piece of vellum for this particular portrait.

Each year I make six calendars for the family – usually based on photographs of my great nieces and nephews I’ve taken over the preceding twelve months. However this time I decided to use 12 of the portraits I’ve painted of them since I embarked on my project of painting miniatures of each first born on their birthday every year. The calendar was Saturday’s task, so now I’m getting nicely ahead of myself in readiness for Christmas.

Have you been watching “I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Here!” which started on ITV last week? I happened to tune in the other day, just in time to see Timmy Mallet, a friend of mine, being caught up in a net in the middle of a forest, and ending up dangling upside down. I know it’s a bit sad, but I find the programme compelling viewing, but Timmy’s personality seems to have taken a peculiar turn. As he watched Kilroy Silk enduring the most unspeakable tribulations, he was convulsed in laughter. Maybe Timmy was nervous, but if I’d been Kilroy I’d have whacked him one

I like the Christmas stamps this year. It’s a pantomime theme, and although they are small, the designs are really good.

If Pootle (one of my ‘followers’) is reading this blog, please tell me how I can leave a comment? It takes ages as I keep getting rejected with words such as ‘You have made an illegal entry!’ What do they mean?
Sometimes the comments get through, but there must be a key word I can use. Having tried my gmail address and my blog name, nothing seems to work now.