Messing About with Paint

Juba Wildflowers


Juba Wildflowers
Oil on Canvas 60cmx30cm

On my jog I passed a clump of purple wild flowers amongst the green. Stopping to take a photo to use for a painting I spotted a coucal in the bushes!

The painting doesn’t have a focal point, which I may need to fix. Will glare at it for a bit and then see.

Messing About with Paint

Japanese Peonies


Oil on canvas 60cmx50cm

Japanese Peonies, taken from an arrangement given to us by the school kids in Yokohama. I didn’t know where the painting was going and tried not to over think the painting, rather letting it take its own course.

I ended up simplifying the composition as the foliage was distracting. Also ended up adding more negative space on the right hand side of the composition for balance.

The abstract start of the painting was interesting.


Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Jog around my Juba 3 route, my legs feeling the two week holiday. Decided to take the rehab of my Achilles slowly, as that may be brighter than going crazy and damaging it again. Even with the different shoes its tender, to say nothing of my bum that still seems to be feeling the effects of the shower fall. Steve has given me a foam roller to use for stretching.

A night of flurried messages following the decision by the President to dismiss his longtime vice president, along with all the ministers and deputy ministers in his cabinet. He also suspended the Secretary-General of the ruling party and 17 brigadier generals. No one too sure of the impact of the various factions within the military. For now its quiet in Juba Town.

Did sort the mozzie net and the master lock on the escape window of the house. Two security issues that may both be life saving.

With movement restrictions, Steve and I are the only people in the tukal. If you don’t count the staff sitting around nattering at full volume. The birds are enjoying the cool breeze, as am I. Milky cappuccino and slow signs of breakfast getting going.

Street side restaurant structures in wood and tin sheeting have sprung up on the road that enters the Juba 3 compound. Mostly the chapatti and egg roll type things from what I can see, however we were able to get an omelet at the tukal

Nothing simple in South Sudan. We have been requested to purchase vehicles for the Ministry of Finance. Nothing fancy, Land cruiser single cab Pickups. The question being that these vehicles can be turned into military technical units (The trucks you see riding about with anti-aircraft and rockets on the back of them). What then of those vehicles we already have in our fleet? What guidelines do we use in the handover to the Government at the end of a project if they can be turned to Military use which is against all UN rules & Humanitarian principles. Perhaps only closed top vehicles should be allowed, which don’t have a strong enough floor pan to support military equipment?

Morning storm over Juba Town, after my early hours wake up. Getting to the office a chore as the streets around the prison have been blocked off. Side streets an off road lottery negotiating the pools of water of unfathomable depth, and content, between bits of road.

Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures


Vineyard Adventures

A few chores sorted, including the dentist, slotted in between time with friends. Craig and Coreta came up from Knysna for a few days and with FSC also in town and Hesta and Mark looking for mischief, we made a lot of noise ate a bunch of food, and recycled a large number of bottles.

The FSC team did an amazing lunch in their new look home. Fortunately, Terry took, the decision to drive, which meant that I didn’t have to try and regulate the great red wine which seemed to flow in ever increasing amounts. The fillet was cooked to perfection, with layers of flavours a result of George’s three day marinade.

The rain in the vineyard did not stop our braai, but it did mean that we had to find a couple of extra bottles of wine and bubbles to go with Terry’s stunning new avo dill salad, exotic mushrooms and roast veggies. The cauliflower soup “amuse bouche” before supper in front of the fire excellent.

A morning spent amongst the galleries in town, with some closing and others changing floor configuration. The outdoor street art far more pleasurable than that on display inside the galleries. ‘Gallery D’ is a new gallery in one of the historic buildings in Dorp Street. Simple, tasteful and uncluttered. The current collection of works, however, are dark and disturbing. Nothing to inspire.

Reports of pilot whales off Mouille Point had us zooming through the traffic. No whales, but a dreamy sunset with a glass of wine watching the ships in the V&A harbour before heading home for Boeuf Bourguignon dinner, a la Julia and Terry. Sensational.

Dad and Mary came down from Montagu (their third wedding anniversary) so we could catch up on their new adventure, Sundowner, a cruiser on Lake Kariba. The stunning day meant that we were able to sit out and have a braai before taking Polly up through the vineyards for a walk.

In the garden, cutting back for spring has been done. The protea are in bud and with the rain the garden is green and lush. A creeping sort of groundcover is doing its best to turn the garden into a jungle which will need to be sorted. Under the pine trees there are still gaps and some of the clivia’s are looking a tad jaundiced. I may try Mary’s Epsom salt recipe.

Diary of an Adventure, Messing About with Paint

Protest against domestic abuse and violence against women

I have removed all images of my artwork and canceled my account at Saatchi Online in protest against his domestic abuse and violence against women. 

Please send any sales queries directly to me as I establish a new online sales portal.

Messing About with Paint

On the Streets of Kyoto


On the Streets of Kyoto
Oil on Canvas 50cmx40cm

Ladies in kimonos are, as promised in the guide books, seen on the streets of Kyoto. The walk along the street leading to the famous area of Kiyamachi Dori Street, special.

The Ultramarine and Phathlo Blue mixture, with Naples Yellow providing the basis for the painting.

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventure


A Woman in Kyoto
Oil on Canvas

The office committee did a huge job of organizing the Independence anniversary celebrations for the office. A couple of kids groups did a bunch of traditional dances and then we had Juba Rock. High volume, that pushes the lousy quality speakers into overload is a must, and the singer does some sort of karaoke voice over type thing. The moves seem to be the key part, but not actually knowing who the original artist is I have no idea if it’s good or bad. They do actually sing, but the recording is so loud it’s almost impossible to know if the singing is for the timing of the dance routine, or the voice.

Grilled chicken dinner with a green veg thing that reminded me of boiled rocket and wine they bought especially for me. Late Harvest!!! The celebration cake was quite spectacular.

The drive back in Friday evening traffic was a tad stressful. Lots of dark people, shadows flicking through the headlights from every direction. Motorcycles and taxis made me feel like I was in a pinball machine and then there were the trucks full of soldiers driving down the centre of the road celebrating.
As the thunderstorm moved across Juba 3, it left behind a zillion frogs doing the Juba rock version of Paul McCartney’s, Rupert and the frog song.

An unusual bit of craziness, dealing with a Nile crocodile that decided the flooding river was less appealing than our construction camp (About a Km from the river). The workers less than thrilled with the visitor. The issue: are they protected and how does this comply with our environmental plan?

Huge fight with my painting of a young girl from the traditional dancers, celebrating the anniversary of the Independence of South Sudan. Out of sorts, and certainly not the vibrancy and vitality I was searching for. I did manage to finish signing the gazillion pages of contracts while watching the mountain stages of the Tour.
Not my best drive across town, with security points at most of the intersections. There is a decided feeling of edginess at the moment. In Upper Nile there are reports of Rebel Groups moving down from Sudan and in Unity the Governor has been replaced. There are also reports that the two ethnic groups in Jongelei are heading for another major confrontation. The one last year killed hundreds of people, and although it doesn’t pose any risk for my staff, it’s still a concern.

The Anniversary celebrations passed peacefully, with the only drama caused by my slipping on the wet bathroom floor and bruising my bum. Really stupid and I’m lucky I didn’t do any serious damage.

Finished a painting of a woman in her kimono on the streets of Kyoto.

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

A special catch-up with Angela, here from Oxford for a few weeks. Not often that Juba is on anyone’s circuit!

Finally sorted the small painting of Polly that I have been meaning to get done for ages. It’s not a dramatic picture but does show her in a typical, I’m not letting you get away, sort of mood.

Juba 3, overcast and so quiet you don’t want to breathe in case the air you expel disturbs the tranquility. Massive thunderstorm, with lightning crashing into the building next to where we were sitting. The only casualty, my towel as I obviously didn’t wash all the red mud from the bottom of my legs that had accumulated during my jog. Did two circuits to get my long run in.

A bunch of issues to juggle, some routine, and others more problematic. We had a child drown in Maban in an excavation we had enlarged for road building material. Should have done more in anticipation, particularly with the refugees who aren’t familiar with the risks.

‘The Reader’, portrait of an old man on a Sunday afternoon in Tokyo. After listening to a discussion on portrait painting, I used oxide green (rather than blue) for the shadows, which opened new colour choices .Especially appropriate for the pale Japanese complexion.

Driving across town on my way to the office, there was a huge storm on the horizon, with lightning replacing the sunrise. Its arrival in Juba Town drove every mozzie in the world into my office!

The design concepts for the National Archives in Juba Town are in, with a few amazing approaches. The central point of the tree under which the elders meet featured prominently in many of them, as well as its unifying role in the countries identity. Presentations to the Council of Ministers will be the decider and then I hope we can actually build the thing!

During my evening jog, I heard a coucal calling. Probably the black coucal. Special. It certainly must have known something, as its pouring.