Diary of an Adventure

Cape Town Adventure

Waking to the ringing of church bells, after the evening call to prayer ended the day. Soulful comfort carried on the wind lowing out of clear skies.

Our Airbnb accommodation in Fishhoek, spotless and comfortable. Within easy walking distance of the beach and a short commute to Lesa and Alan’s new home in Kommetjie. Special times, particularly with the changes ahead.

Kalkbay. Unexpected installation art of butterflies against the wall at the Olympia Cafe. Flights of fantasy. The art galleries less exciting.
Good food at Live Bait, the sea at our feet with a spectacular sunset. The service beyond terrible.
Hole in my hand trying to catch a wine glass that I somehow managed to knock over. One of those, double bounces that ended up in spraying glass shards across the floor. At least there wasn’t wine in the glass, and the blood didn’t add to the mess.
Newstead Wine Estate on a day of storms. Blazing fire that touch of magic. The meticulous vineyards evident in the delightful Sauvignon Blanc and the bubbles full of joyful abandon. Fresh bread, cheese and a crispy walnut and pear salad made for a fabulous lunch.
Van Gogh sitting on my shoulder as I fought with the sunflowers in my painting ‘Sunday Commute’ of the old man on his bicycle. Thrilled that it’s Sold and will be heading to its new home in France, together with the painting of the Irises.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Time-lapse video of my ‘Finger Painting’ painting technique.
Pink face. Beach bar look without sunscreen. Turquoise waters sparkling in the sunshine. Idyllic summer days.

Conquering the corrugations. Speed definitely helping to reduce the wrist, and bum, jarring. Especially after that extra bottle of red wine! Soft sand, strategically positioned to ensure heart stopping, out of control, panic, with only empty space beyond the trail edge. Perhaps, a tad melodramatic? Certainly enjoyable. A fabulous morning ride along Highway-West.
A calming, picnic, cruise up the Keurbooms river into the gorge where majestic Outeniqua yellowood trees festooned with Usnea lichen, also known as Old Man’s beard, stand proud. The river, almost black with its tanin infused waters draws you into its quite contemplation, before a welcome swim. Refreshing pockets of cold current.
Sunflowers, agapanthus and the dignified old man on his bicycle outside Delish, the subject of my painting. This in between putting together the time-lapse video of the portrait ‘Life’s a bitch’. I increased the number of shots taken during the painting leaving me with a mountain to edit.
fullsizerender-48Inspiration. Frequently I’m asked where does the inspiration come from for my paintings. While staying in paradise, surrounded by beauty and the ever changing dynamic that is South Africa, there are sources, such as The Writing Map. Devised and written by Shaun Levin with illustrations by Stefania Manzi, the maps are easy to carry and fun.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

LICC 2016 winner.jpg

Thrilled with the Honourable Mention received at the 2016 London International Creative Competition for the ‘Homeless of Knysna’ series of portraits I have been painting.

The focus, imparting, that while they are homeless they still have dignity, with their unique stories captured in each composition.
First light found us zooming to Cape Town airport to get a painting to its new owners for their flight to London, before scooting back to the studio.
We stopped at Hermanus to stretch our legs, with a compulsory glass of wine, and have a delicious meal at Origins Restaurant. The ‘Art Walk’, took us past a bunch of the galleries in Hermanus, taking note of what resonated, what was jarring, and what that meant for the studio. As such, the studio has a simpler, cleaner look to the seating area with less clutter.
The Windsor Hotel our stop for the night. One of the older buildings in Hermanus that started life as a sanatorium, it’s unpretentious, with the waves almost visiting the front door. The room in the annex had no view, however we spent very little time there, leaving before daybreak.
What would a road-trip be with chicken pies? Delish in Heidelberg is definitely worth a stop. You can find that magical spot of sun to warm bones in the cool dawn. The service is friendly, attentive and swift, with a touch of humour. The chicken pies are ‘delish’, and the cappuccino great. This while soothing the soul surrounded by vibrant sunflowers and agapanthus flowers. That extra touch of magic! an old man coming down the road on his bicycle. Nattily dressed in black suite, white shirt and red tie, his white fedora the perfect touch. Perfect!
Finished the painting of ‘Life’s a Bitch’. Changing the background to a dark green (Ultramarine blue and Cadmium yellow deep) and a deepening the colour of his hat to a almost red black (Madderdeep and Ultramarine blue). This emphasised the highlights of his face, adding tension to the painting. I used the same dark green for the lines and shadows of his face with a Yellow Ochre and Quinacridone Rose mixture.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

New Year. The sun coming up above the lagoon for a short cappuccino walk, which I did manage to launch across the table! 

Baked Camembert with slow roasted pork belly and Terry’s fabulous terrine de campagne our New Year lunch.
Good music, a tad too much red wine (?) with the rain bringing relief from scorching summer days. The owl chick, or more correctly an ‘owlet’, which is actually a fledgling as it has left the nest, sitting on the rail of the patio, silhouetted against the wall of the apartment, seemingly oblivious to our presence.
Aviva Maree’s exhibition at the Lofts Boutique Hotel. A small designer spot that has started to host select artists in their atrium. All very chic and certainly not tailor made for me after a day in the studio. Shorts, t-shirt, unshaven. Although I did wear slip-slops, rather than bare feet! But then, they know that I’m that ‘finger painter’ from down the road!
Her work, beautifully executed with masterful tonal control over her colour pallet. Whether influenced by Gregoire Boonzaier (1909 – 2005), or not, to me there is a disconnected romanticism to her work, which has as its focus working, rural women. Nothing in the paintings depicts their harsh lives and the back-breaking toil of manual labour, or the uncertain, subsistence existence of seasonal workers. 
Coiled frustration that made me reflect on the honesty of my paintings.
I used the Mediterraneo colours from Malmeri for they eyes of the portrait ‘Life’s a Bitch’. The turquoise green colours of the estuary in summer. ‘Grittiness’ of the paint adding sparkle to the portrait of a man in the sunset of his life.
Cycling ‘Master Class’ following Craig up Phantom Pass. His efficient use of energy, body still, effortless pedal rhythm, a stark contrast to my ‘wrestling the bicycle’ style up the Pass. His ability to accelerate leaving me frantically searching for gears, breath and energy.