A Fair Swap

A number of years ago my dentist recommended I have a gold tooth fitted in the back of my mouth. After enquiring about the considerable cost difference between National Health and Private Patients gold teeth it seemed the quality of gold was the main influence in price. So I suggested I supply a gold sovereign (costing about £50 then), which, being 22 carat gold, is better even than Private gold. Robin, my dentist, had never had this sort of request before. Nevertheless I ended up with a superior tooth and paid just National Health price for the dental work involved. ( I was even given change in the form of a small nugget – which unfortunately I’ve lost). Time went on and a couple of years ago I had the gold tooth removed and returned to me. Here it is

But now the time has come to turn it back into a sovereign. Each year I give a prize at the Royal Miniature Painters exhibition in London for the Best Portrait . It's called The Mundy Sovereign Award and is in the form of a gold sovereign mounted on to a framed and calligraphed certificate. However the price of gold has escalated so rapidly in the past year (cost today is £285) that I hope my tooth will go a long way towards buying a sovereign in a swap.

Two very good American friends of mine – Wes and Rachelle Siegrist – are wonderful miniature artists. We meet up each time I go to America to attend the Miniature Artists of Florida Annual Exhibition. (Rachelle also writes a great blog, which includes photographs of their latest work). We last met up in January this year. The other day I decided to paint a miniature of Rachelle – she has such a serene disposition and compelling eyes. Here is the result. I’m hoping it will be accepted for exhibition in the MASF Exhibition in January.

I did a silly thing on Sunday afternoon. Visiting friends who’s garden backs on to the Hennerton Backwater and wanting to row the short distance across to the island at the bottom of their property, I was assured by Tony that his little work dinghy was quite stable. I’m used to jumping in and out of my dinghy – which is not that stable ( and why Trevor, the boatman, fell out of it earlier this year’ sinking the dinghy on the way!) so stepped on to the stern of his boat. My big mistake was to choose the very squashy cushion to step on as it immediately wrapped itself around my legs and caused me to fall headlong into the dinghy! I avoided capsizing it by a couple of inches but landed on my face, crushing my glasses in the process. Tony said my fall looked to be in slow motion, but I was shaken, and a bit stirred. All ended OK with a slightly bruised face and hand, and of course a pair of strangely distorted specs. Nevertheless I still managed to take a few nice photographs of their beautiful garden – after a refreshing and recuperative glass of wine.

Talking of beautiful gardens, on Saturday evening I was invited to Brian and Jane’s house for a small dinner party to celebrate a significant milestone in Brian’s journey through life. Here’s a little glimpse of a corner of their garden

And here are the other guests, with the birthday boy hogging the limelight. You can just see their dog, Ollie, sprawled out at his feet. Lovely evening. We dined in their conservatory and Brian cooked the lamb on his new barbecue.

Last Wednesday I drove into London to see my old friend Katie Boyle and her sister Margherita who was visiting from Geneva. Although Katie is confined to her home now she is looking really good and has a very caring group of people there to look after her.
Rolf has a new wooden clinker built dinghy. At the moment it’s submerged in the river as it’s been out of the water for a long time and a good dousing for a week or so will let the timbers swell. I don’t want him falling in the river – he’s working on so many paintings right now and when I called in on Saturday morning he had three big oil paintings drying on the AGA.
A client picked up the two drawings I’d made of his grandchildren the other day. I always try to paint or draw children as soon as I can because they change appearance so quickly. Normally within the month if they are drawings, or a bit longer if they are paintings.
It will soon be time to send off my entries to the USA for the upcoming MASF show. I am allowed to enter four miniatures. In the past I’ve always sent four portraits but this year have decided to submit just two (including the one of Rachelle) plus a miniature of flamingos ,and this small 3-inch by 2-inch painting of a snow scene by the river in Henley.