Christmas time

The last couple of weeks have been busy with buying, wrapping and sorting out Christmas presents. I decorated the tree last week, and just for a day or two I hung about thirty miniature portraits on it.

It's called 'A miniature painter's Christmas tree'.
However, increasingly over the past few months, the osteoarthritis in my knee has become painfully unbearable. So finally I had a consultation with Mr Sean O'Leary - a top knee surgeon at the Circle Hospital in Reading. After seeing the x-ray of my very swollen leg he said there was no other option than to perform a total knee replacement. And as I'm now in constant pain - especially at night - he's scheduled the operation for January 17th. My young friend even bought me a sort of cage for the night which helps keep the bedclothes from touching the knee as even the lightest touch hurts. And hopefully I'll be able to do away with my constant and sturdy companion in a couple of months time.

The only time the pain subsides is when I am sitting at my desk painting. And I've just finished a very detailed miniature portrait for a top London Jeweller. Hopefully this is the first of several for the same client.
Now is the time to commence entering the various art competitions for 2017. These will include the annual BP Award for the Portrait of the Year at the National Portrait Gallery in London, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition at the Mall Galleries, The Society of Marine Artists, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and the Derwent Art Prize for pencil drawing. I'm also intending to enter a pair of self portraits in the Ruth Borehard Self-Portrait Prize in April. They are a reflection in a silver cup of me painting. One was done in 1977 when I was living in Singapore - the other painted recently.

We went to a party on Saturday evening at Fawley Hill. It's got to be the most lavishly decorated Christmas party venue I've ever been to. As we arrived we were greeted by this Christmas tree.

The floor was covered in every sort of glitter, and well over ten lavishly decorated rooms welcomed us. The floor of this room, which normally is an indoor swimming pool, was covered with a big map of Berkshire for the occasion. And in the corner was Elvis Presley. (So that's where he got to!)

In this room, apart from the many jars of sweets, ornaments, and another Christmas tree, a model train runs around the table.

When we left, as myf collected the car, I waited just inside the house talking to a friend but hadn't realised that I was standing just under a lighted candle as part of the decorations on the staircase above. When we got home we wondered what the many white waxy splodges were all over my suit. Then we realised the candle must have been dripping wax! A quick question to Mr Google gave us the remedy - paper and a cloth laid on to the suit, then a hot iron applied to it. It did the trick and the suit was saved.

Our local cinema regularly shows live broadcasts from such venues as the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and the Bolshoi Ballet. With the Regal's really comfortable seats it was so nice to see The Nutcracker with Felicity last week. Seeing the ballet this way means that close up views of the orchestra and expressions on the dancers faces all give an extra dimension to the performance.

Now just as I was finishing printing my little calendar last Friday a horrible noise came from my printer and it stopped, trapping the paper in the machine. Instead of doing the sensible thing and turning it off I tried pulling the paper out the reverse of the way it went in. Which of course ripped it apart. And then to make matters worse I opened the machine and tried to fix it from the inside. More torn paper and a real mess with the rollers. I rang Computer Cavern in Marlow who supply my ink and paper to ask if there was anything they could do. They said I could take it over to them but no chance of it being fixed before Christmas - if at all. What I did was exactly the opposite of what I should have done. So imagine my delight the following morning when they rang to say it was mended. I picked it up straight away. What it is to have such an obliging local company.

Last Sunday we drove over to see my friend Katie in London. She's still not well. So sad to see her like that. But nice to see Gianni and Margherita, Katie's sister.
It was my six-monthly CT scan at Dunedin hospital the other day. I get the results on the 4th of January. So cross fingers again.

Yesterday was Christmas Day and I spent a happy time with my niece Louisa and her family at her home in a Marlow. I picked up Val first. We had a really sumptuous meal. Max was delighted with his first car. My present from Louisa and Guy was a splendid blue cool box. All ready for the launch of my new boat at the end of March. Val has a new dog.

Kate looked warm in her new wrap.

Thank you Louisa - I really enjoyed the day.

I've completely redesigned my website to reflect more comprehensively all the types of painting and drawing I do - not just miniature portraits as before. This is the home page, but to see all 8 pages go to: