This time last year, I joined in the ‘Pay It Forward’ initiative on Facebook. If you haven’t seen it, basically, you post the offer a special treat/unexpected kindness/surprise during the following year to the first 5 people who opt in. I still ‘owe’ a couple of my takers (you have not been forgotten, I promise!) but one has proved to be particularly rewarding.

Let’s rewind to set the scene:

Through the wonders of facebook, around 7 years ago, I was reunited with an old friend from school, my mate Simon. We hadn’t seen each other for 26 years, and after a few ‘chats’ through Facebook, we soon clicked back into friendship. It turned out he lived just down the road from my parents, who I visit regularly so on my next trip to Cornwall, we met up. Long story, short: We get on like a house on fire and I always try to catch up when I’m in the area.

Simon opted ‘in’ for my pay it forward. I was at a loss as to what I could do that would be special – he’s a ‘Pie-Hot’ Photographer, so that ruled out anything photographic. What to do??? Then I had my lightbulb moment – I could paint his portrait! …but would he want to be painted??

I already had the vision of my painting in my head before I asked him, so although delighted he said YES, I was a little surprised when he asked if I could paint him as a Pirate!!! For a miillisecond, that threw me, but I soon got my head around that, and said I would do both.

Here are the two resulting paintings: ‘Happy Pirate’ – my last painting of 2014 and ‘Contemplating Grumpiness’ My 2nd painting of 2015.

Happy Pirate, Acrylic, 15" x 11" Mandi Baykaa-Murray

Happy Pirate, Acrylic,
15″ x 11″
Mandi Baykaa-Murray

Contemplating Grumpiness, Acrylic, 16" x 14" Mandi Baykaa-Murray

Contemplating Grumpiness, Acrylic, 16″ x 14″ Mandi Baykaa-Murray


Both portraits are painted in acrylic on board and I used a minimal palette of Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, White and a tiny hint of Black.

If you like the idea of having your portrait painted by Mandi, please email for details: