Golden sunsets. A chill to the air. Heralding a hint of summers end. The wind, exhausted by summer. Content to rest early. Red wine and pizza. The fire stirring.
But for now, it has a bird trapped behind the glass. Yelling it’s indigence when the door is opened and it flits to freedom. Perhaps a nest in the chimney, not the best idea?
The climb out of from the river crossing over the Gouna Pass, testing strength and bike handling skills, with the surface loose and the gradient, that touch, beyond steep. Fortunately, the reverse climb from the river up to Simola, through the indigenous forest, was spectacular.
My new DMR flat pedals have been delivered. The anodized blue lugs not quite in keeping with the red of the super-fast hardtail that I ride. Menacing, the large surface area means that if you do let your feet bounce from the pedals, they connect your shin on the next revolution.
Portrait of the ‘GuitarMan’, dark and somber. The lightness of the Sunshine Coast not, at this point, coming through the painting.
I used a ‘scratching’ technique for the beard of the portrait. My fingernails tearing chunks out of the paint layers. An abstract interpretation for the guitar neck so as not to distract from the portrait.
There is a whisper of moon in the evening sky. An early evening after a fabulous rack-of-lamb braai, and a great Shiraz from Graceland. The smooth spicy flavours waving their magic through the smoky lamb.
For the lamb, after the fire in the Weber was ready, I put the lid on and heated the Weber for 15 minutes before putting in the rack. 5 minutes on direct heat with the bones down, before turning them onto their fat edges over the coals for a further ten minutes. Another five to ten minutes on the bones (depending on how pink you want the meat) and they were ready.
My muscles slowly stiffening after a tumble on my jog. Tripped while heading out and not paying attention to where I was putting my feet. Skinned my knee and trashed my phone, which was in my hand. In mitigation, the morning was cool and my ankles were stiff at the start of my jog. Not much of an excuse, I know. Fortunately nothing broken. Other than my phone!
Knysna Seahorse Series
Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm
The combination of an oxygen high at first light dashing through the forest, combined with the smell of freshly cut pine and red wine still pumping through your veins must be close to the ‘Exilir of Life.’
On a perfect evening the ‘Open Studio’ brought a bunch of new people to the studio, with lively discussion on technique, subject matter, material and the dichotomy of creating and selling art. We made a great deal of noise far into the night.
The studio has been a tad hectic, with paintings needing to be wrapped, shippers organised, invoices sorted amongst the seemingly endless flow of wine. With a bunch of the small paintings having been sold, I’m painting a new series of elephants from the Knysna Elephant Park, as well as Knysna sea-horses. In addition, I’m getting my head around the portrait of the Guitar Man. Cool colours of Cobalt Teal, Rose Madder Carmine and Cerulean Blue for the background, with the warmer Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna as a dark brown for the eyes.
A bunch of Chinese in the studio looking for artists for an art exhibition that is being planned for China later in the year. With the increase in Chinese tourists and their culture of bargaining everything to death, they have been difficult to deal with. Hence, anything I can learn about such a different market will be useful.
I’ve also been sloppy about keeping an email list updated and active, which was a problem for the Open Day, as there have been a number of people who have purchased my work who did not know about it.
Somehow the evening of Wine Tasting resulted in a fair bit of blood during the short night, getting to bed a touch before midnight with the rain teaming down. Woke a bit before the alarm and decided I didn’t want to brave the mud up Phantom. It was tempting as I have a pair of flat-pedals and ‘five-ten’ shoes to try. I put the pedals on the bicycle and whizzed about a bit. They look impressive and are a big improvement on the ones I had. Haven’t tried the shoes yet. My jog was enjoyable, with only a few squeaks from my Achilles.
Friday Market. Flavoursome, spicy curry with a fabulous chocolate roulade starter.
Blood. Seemingly a standard at the end of each ride. The bouncing across corrugated roads throwing my feet from the pedals. Sudden stops caused by that unexpected rocky incline and the wrong gear selection. Loosing concentration at the end of a ride while parking the bike. A gazillion reasons that have me searching the ‘flats’ vs ‘clipless’ pedals debate.
First jog after shredding my toe. The storm keeping me cool. The wind, hectic. My bothersome Achilles mostly behaving
The waters of the lagoon, an armada of sails, as the annual regatta gets underway. The wind, playing with the yachts as they fight to stay upright in the squalls. Rescue boats buzzing about catching the drifting boats.
My painting confined to bits of wood to build a picket fence. Storage for the fireplace wood the objective. Carpentry skills not my best.
Studio busy. A new series of small elephant paintings, based on the Elephant Sanctuary. Most of the small elephant paintings have sold as have a couple of bigger paintings. Memories heading to new homes, which is both special and a tad, nostalgic.
A bit of fun with the underpainting of the portrait using both hands to cover the area as quickly as possible. Without creating a mess, the real challenge.
French country pate and red wine for lunch, after spending the morning messing about with paint.
Cosmos flowers, one of those subjects not to touch. Partly as there are a gazillion paintings depicting cosmos, and partly as they are an autumn flower that don’t occur on the Garden Route. However, stopping at Delish in Heidelberg, there was a bank of pink cosmos flowers, full of happiness that screamed to be put onto canvas.
An abstract approach with an underpainting based on Monet’s ‘The path through the Irises’ (My canvas of 50cmx60cm nothing like Monet’s monumental 1,8mx2m work) of different layers of Naples yellow, raw Sienna, gold oxide, and hints of crimson and cadmium yellow. For the wispy leaves of the cosmos plants, an intense green mixed from French lemon yellow and cobalt blue was applied in short dashes. Turquoise and cerulean blue the darker stems.
Managed to cut my thumb on a sharp knife, which isn’t anything spectacular or surprising. A nuisance!
In the studio, my paintings from Tanzania are up for the first time as a collection. The paintings are full of mystery and vibrancy that somehow transcend the emotional strain I was under while there.
Crew training evening at National Sea Rescue, Station 12, to hand over the painting I did for their 50th commemorations. The painting itself is dark and brooding with big skies and seas swamping the small red rescue craft. Fortunately the seas were only marginally lumpy and warm for the training exercise, as we were soaked by the wash of the boats as they did a high speed crew transfer.
from our Kenton Adventure, for my next portrait painting of the guitarist outside the Wharf Street Brew Pub in Port Alfred.
Fires raging, turning the skies into apocalypse ‘Turner’ sort of sunsets.
The first of the photo-books of paintings (Afghanistan) that are still available for sale has been printed. The quality better than expected and certainly something to be completed for the other countries and painting collections.
For now, my life is controlled by the arc of a pendulum encased in the Viennese Regulator that has decided to no longer keep its regular beat. Sometimes it stops after a few minutes. Sometimes it will even chime through a couple of hours. Mostly, it seems to be throwing a tantrum. Nothing has changed in where it hangs above the staircase. Admittedly, being away a fair amount over the past month has meant that it hasn’t been wound regularly.
Didn’t manage to negotiate the soft sand on the contours through the forest. Couldn’t even blame my broken glasses on my ending in a heap after the bicycle decided my bike handling, and riding strength were totally embarrassing. The soft sand ensuring it wasn’t a bone, or skin flaying sort of fall. Ego a tad bruised after trailing in the climbs and then being dumped on the trails through the forest. Which, were beautiful in the early mist.
Summer picnic. Pink nose. The waters of the Knysna river taking the heat out of the day. Friends, chilled wine, alfresco food and laughter, embraced by ancient Yellow Wood trees. The assistance of the lift for all the cooler boxes down to the riverside site that touch of decadence.