Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Magic blue tape, and my calf resembling a hedgehog as the Physio does her best to sort my problematic Achilles. 

For my painting of a vase of pink flowers and a sugar bowl, I wanted a loose, abstract feel to the painting. The flowers (NERINE bowdenii) are made up of spikes of starry delicate petals. A medium sized canvas (60x90cm) gave me room, without the painting needing to be viewed from across the lagoon. I used a background of predominantly Ultramarine blue, broken with Cobalt blue and permanent madder.

Splotches of paint, sculptured the vase and sugar bowl, with the delicate flowers etched against the blue background. Not quite the Japanese simplicity I was hoping to achieve.

Clare made us a starter from their trip to New York City of dates with almonds and gorgonzola, wrapped in bacon and grilled until crispy. Amazing. 

Pretty run along the Gouna River road, from the Terblans (named for the Terblanz Beech tree) Grootdraai picnic spot, where we met up with Craig who had started some 12km down the road at the Big Tree. The last hill a fair challenge which my Achilles didn’t enjoy.

Portrait of Donavan ‘Storyteller’ handed to him at Easthead on a beautiful day. Thrilled he was.

Between days of sparkling sunshine, storms tear across the lagoon, battering the studio. Windows turned into salt encrusted misery. Such is life at the sea. Cleaning the windows a series of deductive approaches and techniques. Particularly perched on a 6m ladder!

The start of the winter Artist movies in the studio program was well received and the next scheduled movie is almost full. 

Small painting of a rowing boat. Howling winds across the lagoon, toss rowing boats in wild abandon.

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm



Jardin du Carrousel Paris c1927
Oil on canvas 45cmx53cm

Joseph Kleitsch was considered one of the premier painters in the early California School of Impressionism. Born in Deutsch St. Michael, Banat, Hungary on June 6, 1882, he began painting at the age of seven. After being awarded a scholarship by his village to study art, he continued his training in Budapest, Munich and Paris. Around 1901, he immigrated to Germany and then to Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1905 he moved to Denver. Between 1907 and 1909 he visited and painted in Chicago, Kansas and Mexico City. He was honored in 1912 for his portraits of Mexico’s President Francisco Madero and his family.

Around 1914 Kleitsch moved to Chicago where besides painting portraits of many prominent citizens, he taught at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1914 to 1919. While there he joined the Palette and Chisel Club and participated in exhibitions where his new style of painting interior scenes with figures was shown. In 1914 he was awarded the Gold Medal by the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1920 Joseph and his wife, Edna, moved to Laguna Beach and started the Kleitsch Academy. Although he was at the height of his art career in Chicago, he found the rustic local street scenes in his new home to be extremely inspiring and his painting flourished. He was soon exhibiting his work at Stendahl and Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles while also making trips to San Francisco, Carmel and Europe in search of the next painting subject. Arthur Millier of the Los Angeles Times was quoted saying of Kleitsch, “He was a born colorist; he seemed to play on canvas with the abandon of a gypsy violinist.”

Kleitsch became an avid plein air painter and helped to cofound the Painters’ and Sculptors’ Club in 1923. It was a men’s only group patterned after the Salmagundi Club of New York. They worked with studio models and also had a sketching camp for landscape painting. He was awarded their Silver Medal.

From 1926 to 1929 Joseph returned to Europe, painting in Giverny to experience first hand the inspiration for Monet’s works and then traveling on to Hungary and to Spain before returning to Laguna Beach where he had a successful showing at the Stendahl. A few years later Kleitsch died suddenly at the age of 49 from a heart attack.

Diary of an Adventure

Narine Vase

Oil on canvas 60cmx90cm

Painting of a vase of pink flowers and a sugar bowl, I wanted a loose, abstract feel to the painting. The Nerine bowline flowers are made up of spikes of starry delicate petals.

A medium sized canvas (60x90cm) gave me room, without the painting needing to be viewed from across the lagoon. I used a background of predominantly Ultramarine blue, broken with Cobalt blue and permanent madder.

Splotches of paint, sculptured the vase and sugar bowl, with the delicate flowers etched against the blue background. Not quite the Japanese simplicity I was hoping to achieve.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Muddy colours. Flat. Lifeless. None of the mystery and wonder of the forest. Shadows full of hidden secrets. I used small amounts of Indian yellow to lift the cheek and forehead areas of the painting. Cobalt blue with titanium white was used with the pale grey and a light mixture of Raw Sienna for the highlights around the face. I wasn’t brave enough to add the green and orange elements of the forest across his face as I had contemplated. ‘Oupa’, oil on canvas.

It’s been interesting to hear the response of people to my portraits of the homeless. ‘That is such a good portrait of ‘Peter O’Tool’ (Sinni), or as in the latest portrait of ‘Oupa’, Charles Bronson. 

Hobbling about the place like a GOF, with my Achilles screaming. The blue magic kinesio tape, based on cutting-edge UTube advice, doing its best to ease the pain (unfortunately the cold weather means shorts aren’t an option, so no bragging rights). The first half-marathon I have run in thirty years probably not the wisest decision. Especially along hilly forest roads. Spectacular it was. 

Harbour Town buzzing with cyclists for the annual GR200 MTB. Howling winds giving way to sunshine perfection.

A tad too much wine, easy company and great food. The walk back to the apartment in the chilly evening, necessary. The fire welcome.

A couple of small paintings of sugarbush protea flowers. 

Winter program for Painters/Artists Movies in the studio
21st June

Frida (2002)

A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work (123 mins)
5th July

Herb and Dorothy (2008)

The extraordinary tale of Herb and Dorothy Vogel (he was a postal worker, she was a librarian), a seemingly ordinary couple who filled their humble one-bedroom New York apartment with more than 4,000 works of art over a 45-year period. Filmmaker Megumi Sasaki turns her lens on the Vogels during a critical period of transition for the couple and their cherished collection (91 mins)
19th July

Pollock (2000)

A film about the life and career of American painter Jackson Pollock (122 mins)
2nd August

American Splendor (2003) 

Part biopic and part documentary (the real-life players appear nearly as often as the actors), Paul Giamatti is perfect in his incarnation of angry everyman, and Crumb collaborator Harvey Pekar, whose ranting life observations are the spark for the gritty autobiographical comic book series from which this movie takes its name (101mins)
16th August

Séraphine (2008)

Based on the life of French painter Séraphine de Senlis (125 mins)
6th Sep

Basquiat (1996)

Basquiat tells the story of the meteoric rise of youthful artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Starting out as a street artist… (108 mins)
20th Sep

Surviving Picasso (1996)

The passionate Merchant-Ivory drama tells the story of Francoise Gilot, the only lover of Pablo Picasso who was strong enough to withstand his ferocious cruelty and move on with her life (125 mins)
Free screening – donations welcomed for KAWS


Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures


Keel boats out at play in the sunshine. Fish Eagles calling from blue skies.
My calves screaming after the never ending climb up the Pezula hill. Fantabulous burger at Easthead suitable compensation.
Forest run.jpgThe studio cold in the mornings before the sun visits. A couple of small paintings finished, and others packed and sent off to their new homes. An emotional handing over of a copy of the portrait of the ‘The Pirate’ to Anton. My objective in painting this portrait series to show that homeless people still have dignity, achieved in this instance.
Decadent, is how Fromager d’Affinois pronounced: [fromage dafinwa], is described. A French double-cream soft cheese made from cow’s milk, invented in heaven. That is, the small town of Pélussin in the Rhône-Alpes region, and sent to us by Jennie.
‘Oupa’, a portrait of a builder working at the Heads. Hard as Stinkwood, with skin the colour of tannin filled waters, it feels as though he is one with the Forest.
Monday Blues.jpg
I used the Fabonacci sequence to fix the composition within the spiral. The eye falling at the golden ratio focal point, by adjusting the angle of the face. Raw Seinna my point of departure for the face, with Permanent Madder and Ultramarine for the dark patches. A grey mixture of Venetian Red and Cobalt Blue and one of the crazy paints from my mystery box, called Indigo. I added Quadr Rose to soften areas that were looking a tad harsh.

A couple of brave souls for the dry-run  studio movies that are planned for winter. As it was a British movie, Terry made fish pie (Jamie Oliver), of which I was a tad sceptical. It was amazing and I was glad that there were leftovers! A few niggles with remote control changes from the video that runs on the screen showing my finger-painting style and the dvd player. The chairs comfortable, and the blankets unnecessary on an unnaturally warm evening.

Forest run. My legs, still stiff from the earlier hills, struggeling over the uneven surface. Coordination shot.

Promised storm has arrived. Fire warming the apartment.

Disconnected bark ….

Grown old within the forest, 

Tree stands alone

His branches touching others, reaching out

No other woody-limbs responding

Left to wither, scorned by spruces

When really, maturity brings

Strength, wisdom, stature

Dignity to withstand the loss of youthful sap.

His deeply weathered, protective canopy

Grown thin

Tree’s autumn leaves

Announce life’s natural rhythm 

Always there, seldom seen

He is alone, within a forest grown 

Silent, statuesque 

Tree’s pride awaits his fall

Terry Ellen 

June 2016

Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
1 hour
Serves: 8
for the mashed potato topping
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 400g frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
for the fish pie filling
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g frozen hake fillets
  • 200g frozen smoked haddock fillets
  • 200g frozen shelled prawns
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
  • 40g (1/2 cup) mature cheddar, grated
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water or in a steamer and cook until soft.
  2. Pour boiling water over the peas to de-frost them then blend in a food processor.
  3. Mash the potatoes then mix in peas, butter and lemon zest. Season to taste.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  5. To make the fish pie, poach the fish in the milk with the bay leaf. When the fish is cooked, remove the fish and flake into large chunks. Reserve the milk.
  6. In a large, oven-proof frying pan fry the onion and carrot in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
  7. Add the flour and stir then add the milk the fish was poached to create a creamy sauce.
  8. Add the English mustard and fish and stir well then add the cheese and lemon juice and stir.
  9. Season to taste.
  10. Top the fish filling with the mashed potato and create indents with a spoon which will become nice and crispy in the oven.
  11. Place the pie in the oven and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then serve.
Diary of an Adventure

Cape Town Adventures


Portrait of Donavan, ’Story Teller’, safely delivered to its new home.

Stunning walk along the valley of the Berg River dam in the shadow of the towering Drakenstein mountains. Necessary after an evening of marvelous food and great wines. The final evening at Ruben’s before they move to a new location in Franschhoek.


Tim and Sarah’s apartment our base for a few days in Cape Town. The city a new playground. Particularly as its situated in the heart of the rapidly developing creative hub. Easy and uncomplicated.
Dinner at the Chef’s Warehouse, situated in a heritage building on the foody Bree Street. Be warned that bashing your head on low doorways is a risk and the small stools at the long tables can be a challenge.
Chef Liam Tomlin has been a favorite since his time at the Culinary Studio in Franschhoek where he taught me to use a knife without leaving chunks of my fingers on the slab. The Tapas menu, an opportunity to sample not only a range of food and flavour combinations, but it’s a visual delight that shows his craftsmanship and mastery.

Truth, is still a delight. However, be warned that wanting to add sugar to your coffee is greeted with horror. Almost as much as asking for hot chocolate!

Back in the studio, the admin list is almost at an end and it’s time to mess about with paint.

The rain has arrived, settling in for what feels like a damp few days. Did manage to get a jog in. Necessary after the indulgent few days in the vineyards and Cape Town.

I have been a tad distressed at the unpleasant ‘foot odor’ emanating from my shoes after a year or so in havaianas. I tried changing socks a couple of times a day, with little improvement. This until I realised that my running shoes smell disgusting after a year of jogging! Hopefully the washing machine will sort it.