Messing About with Paint


Charcoal on 265 gram paper 23cmx32cm

In the cottage garden, fuchsias have their last late summer burst of flowers. 

Pink lanterns in the afternoon sunlight
Messing About with Paint


Acrylic on Canvas Board 12cmx10cm

The first painting I did after arriving in Afghanistan in 2003. 
The city grey in the depths of winter. 
The oppression of women symbolized in the men on Buskashi horses, painted in the black associated with the Taliban, towering over a women. 
Imprisoned in her blue burqa, but not cowered, with the splash of red under the burqa.

Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventure

A breath seems loud on a still morning in the vineyards. Warm tranquil days painting vineyard leaves a gazillion shades of autumn, squeezed between impatient winds, stripping trees.

Shoulder a bother. Physio working hard to ease traumatized muscles.
Packing paintings into the blue studio cupboards for the move to Knysna. Stories from a dozen years, full of energy and emotion. Brown cardboard pyramids in empty rooms. Gaps appearing as we get rid of that one extra bed, fridge, pillow, chair, rug. Still too much stuff cluttering our lives.
It means interesting food, and people combinations, as we use the left over bits from the freezer before it spoils. A buffet of left over Braai bits, brought alive by Terry’s amazing jus. Avo and crispy bacon soup, using three day chicken stock. Therrine and cucumber slices. Chicken and leak, with just a touch of pecorino. 
Architect appointed to start the drawings for the apartment and studio alterations.
An evening at Mont Marie, where its whizz kid chef, Pieter Vlok is creating food that is as exceptional as the views out to the Heldeberg. The artwork displayed on the walls compliments the stunning food presentation. There were a group of us, and it being too chilly to sit out on the terrace, we sat near one of the windows that still gave great views. It is however noisy, making conversation difficult. The service was friendly, if disappointing. Warm bubbles, unacceptable. My serving of Springbok was a tad on the small side and I would have been better going for the chefs recommendation of pork belly or fillet. It did come with an amazing beetroot and foie gras mousse. The lemon poppy soufflĂ© scrumptious. 
Another of the small 20cmx20cm paintings sold. Will need to do more of them as soon as we get sorted in Knysna.
Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

Braai time in the vineyards. Gentle sunset. Faint stirring of the trees. Seductive.

Mum sounded much better, after hurting her back in the shower, to go with her fractured pelvis and torn hip ligaments. Going to be awhile before she is moving about freely.
The River Nile in South Sudan is the most neglected development issue. Particularly given the useless road system and high cost of building roads through swamps. I pushed hard to get projects funded to upgrade the river infrastructure, one of which (to support the displaced population) has been approved for funding by the Government of Japan. Of even greater significance, the $4.5 Million project will be managed by a female, Japanese, Project Manager who was part of our development program in Juba.
Six monthly melanoma check a tad unnerving. Nothing to be concerned about, other than the ego bruising body scan. 
Perfectly angled to maneuver paintings from their storage in the roof. Between rafters, conduit pipes and the sharp edge of the ladder. For a moment. Balance. Legs of the ladder buckling under that ‘one step too high’. My shoulder bearing the brunt of the tumble. Half roll taking my knee through the painting. For now, a halt to the packing.
Sold another couple of small paintings. Nothing that will impress the bank account, but enough for a few cases of wine. Also donated the paintings of cart horses to the Cart Horse Protection Association for their art auction.

Warm in the vineyards. The idea of autumn shunted into a siding for now. A few chores sorted, and little enthusiasm for packing, we took a drive into Cape Town to shop for new glasses (the wine type) and look at kitchen options for the apartment.
Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

A breezy, autumish sort of day in the vineyards. The patio covered in leaves from the grapevine. The wind unsettled, in that ‘Chocolat’ vein, driving changes. With our summer visitors over, packing has started in the cottage. A spot or too of blood not unexpected.

Something special about wrapping paintings and sending them off to their new homes. Edith agreeing to act as courier for those heading to Switzerland.

Mum’s fractured pelvis after a fall not great news. Fortunately it isn’t as severe as it could have been and she is out of hospital, but needing care for a few weeks. Does mean that I’m in Jozie for a couple of days.

Vineyards shrouded in smoke, an ash storm irritating eyes and lungs. Another surging fire, this time in the Jonkershoek valley. 

With smoke still heavy in the air. We went up to Hidden Valley, where the mountains were covered in flames. No danger where we were, the fires, a mesmerising backdrop to our dinner. The demonstration meal from the Overture head chef, Bertus Basson, was focused at autumn and winter ‘comfort’ sort of foods. 

Clean simple flavours, of which the squid wasn’t my favourite. Interestingly, to remove the salt from the duck (the salted duck is left in the fridge for 12 hours) he recommended soaking it for 25minutes. To ensure you have removed the salt, licking the duck will tell you if it’s still too salty! He also noted that when doing a confit, you should not remove the lid of the pot when it comes out of the oven, but leave it to first cool, as 10% is lost through steam by opening while it’s hot.

With my painting ‘Baobab Dual’ completed its time to pack away my oil paints for a month as nothing will dry sufficiently to be moved and stored. Charcoal smearing lies ahead.

Balboa Balcony Bar in Stellies for a Blues and Jazz evening. Open, looking down through the trees to the street, for a relaxed evening listening to seriously strange music that didn’t really fit into my idea of Jazz or Blues. An off-beat, with lots of electronic assistance that had the artist doing a crane sort of act as he fiddled with the dashboard at his feet. It did change coloured running lights with each of his dips, bobs and sways. The overuse of the reverb unit may have trashed what vocals there were, but it couldn’t hide his mastery of the harmonica. Great pizza, a decent wine list and stunning service made for an entertaining, if not my sort of music evening.

Sensationally, Craig has organized for the tenant in the apartment at the studio to end his lease early giving us access in June to start the renovations. Now all we need is to sort the plans and go through the Thesen approval hoops.