Diary of an Adventure

Leisure Isle Adventures

Three hour, slow grilled, pork on the Weber. The last two hours were cooked in Arra Voignier, which I had no idea about. Scrumtious. Voignier the magic ingredient?

Sneezing while painting, creates a special brand of mess, as paint flies all over the show. Perhaps, as John suggested, a new art form; Sneeze-ism.

Spring wildflowers emerging from the canvas. A kaleidoscope of colours. I chose an intermediate canvas size (90x60cm) as there seemed too much going on for a small painting, yet the larger canvas would have meant abnormally large pincushion protea. 

Amongst the mush of colour, botanically, the Arum Lily and Pincushion Protea are somewhat identifiable. A tad more imagination is needed for the purple Bloukappie, and yellow Cape Honeysuckle. Red forest berries hidden between pink and white Jasmine.

Senza, at East Head. A magic spot for a drink with the waves breaking at your feet. The reflections, and changing colours on the rocks as the sun sets are magnificent. 

Twisted my knee carrying Polly down the stairs isn’t the cleverest thing I have done.

Storm doing its best to shake the house as thunder rolls down from the mountains. Polly, unimpressed, and we have put her in her mobi-kennel to try and calm her. My ‘storm-tossed’ baby chicken on the weber survived. 

Excited to see the painting heading to Brisbane, in its shipping rate ready for the flight.


Sunshine start to the day, with appointments to finalize issues like paint colours for the apartment. 

There are specific colour schemes one can use to paint the outside of the unit, which have been selected to tone in with the colours of the wet land. Specific care was taken to ensure that how they reflect in the lagoon remains harmonious. Quite amazing to see the sheets of carefully prepared colour combinations. After much deliberation, we are going to go for a white pallet, that isn’t actually white!

The ceilings are in, kitchen walls sorted and they are ready to start the tiling. We have the quote to change the windows in the studio, and I will need to sell a bunch more paintings to cover costs that always seem higher than expected, with structural complications making what seemed simple tricky.

As nothing says “Now we braai ” quite like a T-Bone steak, as a birthday treat, Coreta showed me her technique. Note that this is not for the timid, and it definitely helps if there are beers available for the chef! 

The steaks were outstanding and worth all the effort. Terry did couchette blinis with cream cheese and smoked salmon as a starter. We had thin green beans with the steaks and tiramisu for dessert. A birthday treat.

Coreta’s Weber grilled T-Bone steak 
The starting point, large steaks (600-800grams) individually vacuum packed and kept in the fridge for 3 weeks. I didn’t have that much time, but we did manage to get aged steak. Three hours before cooking, take the steaks out and rub with a small quantity of olive oil and Rosemary. Put the steaks into a plastic ziplock bag to reach room temperature.

Before cooking make a hot, direct, weber fire. Take each steak and cut one third of the way through the meat next to the bone on both sides. Trim any surplus fat from the ends of the steaks and skewer them together with metal skewers, to form a ‘steak-pack’, with the bones are aligned.

Separate the coals into a hot and cooler section and place the steaks over t he cooler section of the fire so the bone side is closest to the fire. Drink beer.

After a few minutes rotate the steak-pack, so the fat side is closet to the fire. Drink beer. Remove the pack from the fire which will flare with the fat from the steaks. Drink beer. When the fire dampens down, put the pack back on the fire on the opposite side. Drink beer.

Repeat the turning process, being cautious of the bone which will be hot. Particularly as your hands are also being roasted on the hot fire. The rotating process is continued for approximately twenty minutes, until the edges are caramalised.

Spread the hot coals, remove the skewers and lie the steaks down. Drink beer. Turn the steaks over after a few minutes and then remove from the fire.

Cut the fillet and sirloin from the bone and put the bones back over the fire while eating, remembering to turn them every five minutes. Remove the bones when ready to eat, or when the edges are crispy.

Messing About with Paint

Spring Wild Flowers

Oil on Canvas 90cmx60cm
Spring wildflowers emerging from the canvas. A kaleidoscope of colours. I chose an intermediate canvas size (90x60cm) as there seemed too much going on for a small painting, yet the larger canvas would have meant abnormally large pincushion protea.
Amongst the mush of colour, botanically, the Arum Lily and Pincushion Protea are somewhat identifiable. A tad more imagination is needed for the purple Bloukappie, and yellow Cape Honeysuckle. Red forest berries hidden between pink and white Jasmine.

Childe Hassam

Lillie (Lillie Langtry)
ca. 1898

watercolor and gouache on paperboard

24 1/4 x 19 3/4 in. (61.7 x 50.2 cm)

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859–1935), a pioneer of American Impressionism and perhaps its most devoted, prolific, and successful practitioner, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts (now part of Boston), into a family descended from settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Equally adept at capturing the excitement of modern cities and the charms of country retreats, Hassam (properly pronounced HASS-am) became the foremost chronicler of New York City at the turn of the century. In our day, he is perhaps best known for his depictions of flag-draped Fifth Avenue during World War I. 

His finest works manifest his brilliant handling of color and light and reflect his credo (stated in 1892) that “the man who will go down to posterity is the man who paints his own time and the scenes of every-day life around him.”

After establishing his reputation in Boston between 1882 and 1886, Hassam studied from 1886 to 1889 in Paris. There he was unusual among his American contemporaries in his attraction to French Impressionism, which was just beginning to find favor with American collectors. Hassam returned to the United States late in 1889 and took up lifelong residence in New York.

Hassam created more than 2,000 oils, watercolors, pastels, and illustrations, and—after 1912—more than 400 etchings and other prints.

A Jersey Lily, Portrait of Lillie Langtry, 1878, oil on canvas, Jersey Museum and Art Gallery, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands

The subject of his painting, Lillie Langtry (1853-1929), a Jersey girl, acclaimed beauty, socialite, and the mistress of the Prince of Wales.

At the time of the painting, Lillie was an actress plus survivor of several scandals, in the midst of one of her numerous tours across the United States. Among her admirers then was Texan Roy Bean, self-proclaimed judge and reputedly the only “Law West of the Pecos;” she would eventually make the long journey to visit Langtry, the frontier town he christened in her honor.


Messing About with Paint

Pincushion Protea and Shasta Daisies

Oil on Canvas 50cmx30cm

Pincushion Protea, amongst the first of the spring flowers open on the Garden Route, the subject of my painting.

Reminded me of a painting I did of the Cottage garden in Stellenbosch, of pincushions and Shasta daisies. We had a fabulous, double headed protea pincushion that created minature Suns in the garden.

Diary of an Adventure

Leisure Isle Adventures

Mum here for the week, forcing us to move beyond the confines of Knysna. Scones at the Plettenberg watching the endless waves, looking for whales.

A bunch of yellow paint getting everywhere. Doesn’t quite explain how my hand managed to get full of blue paint!
‘Dogs Life’ (From a photo by Berend) Oil on Canvas 76cmx101cm. I wanted to catch the movement of the dogs with minimal definition. Sculpting them with blocks of paint. I kept toning down the pallet, to convey the gentleness of the light across the lagoon. Burnt sienna for the dark areas, which I scrapped through to the yellow underpainting to breath light into the silhouettes of the composition.
Dogs Life Detail
A touch of Colmont for sparkle, with the rounded Three Graces Shiraz, contrasted with an usual Karusa red, full of the mystery of the Karoo, and the stunning Lismore Chardonnay, to accompany Terry’s Boeuf Bourguignon that had filled the house with aromas of simmering herbs, woven within red wine. Iceberg lettuce transformed with dill, lemon and avo. A delicate balance to the creamy cauliflower bake. Chocolate mouse made from French Valrhona that touch of decadence.
At the studio apartment, the steel beam is in place, the roofing over the new kitchen is sorted and the additional electrics and plumbing have been installed. The slab over the garage has been cast and we are ready to tile the shower and toilet area.
The painting for Brisbane has started its journey to its new home.
Under the canopy of trees, heavy with moisture from the mist that cocoons us, the first of the spring flowers. Forest dwellers pick the flowers and sell bouquets alongside the main road. Their faces, elfin featured, are animated and bubble with life.
Our first Thesen Harbour Town meeting with other commercial owners to look at the concept for a Master Plan. A whole new raft of terminology, where we are referred to as ‘bulk’ (increasing development on an existing space), with ‘spillover’ (using the walkway and street for business). Parking places are currency, and nodes delineate usage areas. We are becoming the art gallery node!

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923)

The white boat, Javea – Joaquín Sorolla

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923), a post-impressionist artist from Spain, who had two passions in his life – his family and his art.

He began to study painting at the age of fifteen in his native Valencia, Spain. At the age of eighteen, he went to Madrid, where he copied Old Master paintings in the Museo del Prado. Four years later, Sorolla won a grant to study painting in Rome; there he developed a distinct ability for depicting the effects of light. 

When Sorolla returned to Madrid, his paintings were in great demand. Most of his pictures were painted in from four to six mornings, many in one or two.

He painted very, very fast. “I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly,” he once said. “Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.” In the studio Sorolla would sometimes use a palette the size of a grand piano lid and 3 foot long brushes to allow him to stand back from his painting.

In terms of colour, from about 1900 onwards for outdoor work (as opposed to studio portraits) Sorolla’s palette consisted of cobalt violet, rose madder, all the cadmium reds, cadmium orange, all the cadmium yellows, yellow ochre, chrome green, viridian, Prussian blue, cobalt blue, French ultramarine and lead white. 

For studio portraits, he changed his palette entirely to one that included black, burnt umber, raw umber, rose madder, burnt sienna, raw sienna, yellow ochre, Naples yellow, vermilion and cobalt blue. Occasionally Sorolla would add orange, pink or purple, but he usually emphasized strong tonal contrasts over ambitious color effects. [source 1=”Charles” 2=”Sovek” 3=”Light” 4=”&” 5=”Colour” 6=”Sorolla” 7=”Style” 8=”-” 9=”see” 10=”links” language=”:”][/source]

Sorolla’s widow left a large collection of his paintings to the people of Spain. The collection is now a museum, the Museo Sorolla, in the artist’s house in Madrid.

Messing About with Paint


Italian Farmer

Oil on Linen 60cmx35cm

A painting outside Turin, Italy below the fabulous  Malvira Estate in Canale, which specialises in local cultivars that have been grown in the Piemonte.

The canvas, Italian Linen, from an art supply shop in Turin, gives the painting texture.


Diary of an Adventure

Leisure Island Adventures

Terry in Cape Town for a few days of mischief. The road to George airport almost our most used route at the moment. A stop at Herrolds Bay to watch the waves while the plane lands. The sort of airport wait dreamed up in paradise.

Evening storms giving way to patches of sunshine. Polly had a short walk though the park that took us to the Leisure Island coffee shop for a cappuccino and chocolate cake. There was a lady, of indeterminate age, here last week who has a weekly chocolate cake slice ritual. A ritual I think is worth adopting. 

The bare branches of the fig tree etched against a sky of perfect blue, my ponder as to whether a sky is an abstract arrangement of lights and darks first and meteorology second. This, for my messing about with paint. A rowing boat beach amongst the green of the estuary.

Resting Place. Oil on Canvas 50cmx40cm. Rowing boat marooned amongst the plants of the Estuary. Content in its spot of sunshine, with a ‘Don’t Disturb’ sign at the nod of its anchor chain.

Blend, recently reopened after its renovations. Certainly the slightly shabby place that existed between the trees, still sits nestled beneath the trees. However, it’s been transformed into a comfortable, chick forest lodge, with good food and service. The fire a bonus on a chilly evening.

The galvanized support beam for the new deck section has arrived on site, and the pouring of the slab can take place. The electrics for the kitchen area are sorted and the new roofing sheets can be installed. Last bit of outside wall ready to be taken out and the finishing can start on the studio apartment.

We did a trial run of the ‘Champagne Thursday’, from the famous Kirsten Weeks outside the studio, watching the sunset. Oodles of potential!

Beach play for Polly at Brenton, with whales in the bay. We didn’t do much of a walk, as the staircase is still difficult for Polly’s trashed hips.


Paul Conoyer [1864-1923]

After the Rain

Paul Cornoyer was an American Impressionist style painter famous for his paintings of New York and its suburbs. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri and went to Paris to study at the Académie Julian in 1989. The artist was awarded the prestigious Associate American Academician title in 1909 and his New York city and park scenes gained him acclaim and special attention. These are meticulously observed. His color scheme deliberately limited to the context of each painting. 

Many of Cornoyer’s New York City urban and park scenes are readily identifiable with such subjects as Washington Square, Bryant Park, Central Park West, Columbus Circle and Madison Square. Cornoyer was particularly skilled at rendering the reflections of rain and wet streets or the soft calm of snow covered winter parks.

His work is scattered throughout the country in Art Museums in Brooklyn, Dallas, Kansas City, Newark, and St. Louis. Paul Cornoyer was a much beloved teacher. For most of his life, he taught at the Mechanics Institute in New York, and later in 1917 in East Gloucester, Massachusetts. At the time of his death in 1923 he was involved with setting up an exhibition for the local art association.