Sunrise through the mist, chimneys of steam, shadows of a past age. The glint of the high speed Gautrain. A Turner painting, in another age.
Gautrain, a fabulous way to travel and certainly a stress free way of getting to the Vietnam Embassy in Hatfield for our visas. The staff were friendly, helpful and efficient.
A row of derelict shops, festooned with weary ‘To-Let’ signs, slowly sliding into the abyss of decay or, cheap Chinese plastic goods. Or simply, the inevitable cycle of development boom and ruin, as student accommodation demands revitalise retail stress.
Within this, sandwiched between a failed tattoo parlour , and a dodgy computer shop is the trendy +27 CAFe. The tiny entrance, misleading as the seating area is at the rear under a shed type structure. Winner of architectural and interior awards, the coffee was as good as it gets, even if the menu structure is as inflexible as one of the steel struts.
Birdsong and the smell of wet khakibos on my jog. The hills giving my troublesome Achilles a work-over.
The search for Vibrum Five-finger shoes to replace my daily slip-slops (Apparently they aggravate Achilles problems) not as simple as expected here in the big City. No longer fashionable, they aren’t easily available, and I wasn’t thrilled with the alternatives. Fortunately I found a pair on-line. What I did find on my search, was Tony Impy’s cycling shop in the old Bedfordview Village shopping centre.
Early morning in the big city. Cappuccino, the drink of deals. Lives changed between cooling gym sweat and that first sip. Body language. Spoons. Sugar. Negotiation. Car keys thrown like bargaining chips on the table. Cyclists, a Tribe.
‘Take me on a journey’. Barrister championship training. Tamping and polishing. Consistency. Roast profile. Sensory. Cloth. Wiping. Hands. Cleaning.
Small painting of the Knysna Seahorses heading to its new home.
Chocolate Easter egg and red wine in a spot of sunshine, hiding from the wind that carries the cold of snow on the mountains.
My portrait of the ‘Herdsman’ not behaving. Colours that shade of muddy, without the lightness I was looking for. Giving it that overworked, flat look, rather than being fresh and dynamic. Perhaps, also the perspective of working on a large canvas?
A wine evening on Leisure that had Jan Boland Coetzee (Springbok rugby legend and wine master) from Vriesenhof as the speaker. It was fascinating to hear him talk about the French Huguenots who were resettled in the Cape (my Mums ancestors) from Holland as there were too many of them for Holland to absorb and they needed skilled people in the Cape.
Once the settlers knew they were coming, it still took 2 years for the ships to be built before they could leave Holland. During this time, they rooted fig, pomegranate and quince trees which they brought with them. Hence, many of the original Huguenot farms have orchids of fig, quince and pomegranate and they are busy looking at the DNA of old trees in the farms to try and trace where they originated.
The wines were excellent!
Finally sorted the shipment of paintings for China. Going to absorb the cost and at least know they will be delivered by professional art couriers. If there is a repeat order, ill manage that separately.
A tad chilly out of the sun and heading out for a jog was a much better idea than freezing on the bicycle. I can see my rides are going to be moving to the warmer afternoons.
A still evening after a few days of storms, including lightning and thunder as the gods threw a hissy. The rain ensuring that I had puddles to splash through on my jog.
Bouquet garni, with herbs from the small patio garden pots, for the lamb shanks in anticipation of cold, rainy weather. Red onions with Gorgonzola cheese and broccoli. Crôzes-Hermitage from the cellar at J9 scrumptious!
The moon, full and clear over the waters of the estuary, with the owl hooting. The Forest ensnared in mist, amongst which giants lurked. Mud replacing the soft sand, making for fast, breath catching, cycling. Cleaning the bicycle almost as much effort as the cycle.
While I struggle to find an inexpensive way to send a shipment of paintings to China by sea, my new portrait, the Herdsman, on an intimidating large square canvas is taking shape. Probably need to rethink my canvas sizes to make shipping less expensive and cumbersome. I did manage to complete a small painting of Sugarbush and Pincushion Protea that I had originally thought would go onto a larger canvas.
Moulin-a-Vent, a Beaujolais crus was sublime. Particularly in front of a cosy fire on a stormy evening. Despite the strong flavours in the chorizo and bean soup that Hirsh served, the deceptively robust Gamay grape held its own.
Great article (written by Marielle) on my Homeless of Knysna series of paintings. Particularly important as with winter approaching, the feeding scheme that supports the homeless, and where I get many of my subjects needs increased publicity and support.
Pincushion and Sugarbush Protea
Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm
Wild restlessness. A hint of craziness in the portrait of the Guitar Man. Vibrant turquoise colour from Charvin, combining with the gentler raw sienna and rose madder to add life. Parts of the painting started to feel that they were overworked, so I stopped.
Held the first art movie evening, for the new season, at the Studio. Extra chairs needed, which with a bit of careful arranging has increased the number of people who can be accommodated. The weather cool enough that the blankets were welcome.
I have resurrected the painting, ‘Sundowner’, which I trashed when I fell out of the ceiling, as a limited edition print. The intensity of the print a tad disappointing. Will see what the reaction is to having something that can be easily rolled and transported.
An ‘effort jog’. Lots of effort with minimal momentum. Too much wine in my system after a summer of visitors? My bothersome Achilles behaving for the most part.
Two large, square format, canvases in the studio. The idea being to take the macro shots that Kirsten took of pincushion protea and turn them into dramatic paintings. I have a couple of small canvases that I will use as studies, with a light blue and turquoise underpainting.
A stay over in Wilderness to see Lesa and Alan. Her scarf, keeping her head from freezing in the unpleasantly cold wind, an art form. Carefully coordinated with her shoes, and clothing, screaming out her strength in those trying time.
For now, there are stars in the sky. The wind has worn itself ragged, and like my weary legs, is content to rest for a bit.