Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

My stomach a tad unhappy with something, made for a slowish jog to East Head. Managed the burger much more easily!

 

On the easel, the ‘Colourful Story of Leaves’, a large 1,2×1,2 m canvas of the oak tree avenue at La Motte, in their spectacular autumn leaves. A cascade of gold, yellow and orange against blue skies. The crunch of leaves under my feet as I walked through Central Park a vivid reminder as I do an under-painting in blues and grays, with a smidgen of yellow and green left on the pallet.

 

Brothers Jan Vanessa.jpg

‘Brothers’ heading to its new home

 

A sunshine prison on Hugh and Clare’s patio that eased limbs frozen from being in the studio. One of those spots that could, with easy company and good music, become a wine consumption disaster.

 

A piece of glass slashed the front wheel of my bicycle, making for a slightly nervy cycle through some of the burnt sections of the town. We cycled through Belvedere with little sign of the flames that forced the residents to evacuate. The gardens are looking a tad sad with the drought taking its toll. My body struggling to keep turning the gears over up the hills.

 

Wind howling, with little of the promised rain. A splendid opportunity for Terry’s oxtail served with filled peppers and squash. The J9 cellar unearthed a 2007 Crozes-Hermitage. Definitely moreish. Fortunately the Black Rock was a worthy successor. Bread and Butter pudding, Liam Tomlin style, with the fire warding off the chilly night.

 

 

Liam Tomlin’s Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

Serves 4

3  Croissants

50g  Unsalted butter

1   Vanilla pod

300ml   Cream

300ml Milk

8  Free-range eggs

175g Caster sugar

50g   Raisins

50g  Dark chocolate broken into small pieces and chocolate

25 g Apricot jam

15g  Toasted, sliced almonds

 

Cut croissants in 5cm thick slices and spread with butter. Split the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the cream and milk, slowly bring to the boil. While it is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl. Allow the cream mix to cool a little, and then strain it onto the egg yolk stirring all the time.

 

Arrange the sliced croissant in individual ramekins, sprinkling the raisins and chocolate between the layers leaving the top clear. Pour the warm custard over, lightly pressing the croissants to help it soak in. Leave the puddings to stand for 15 minutes before cooking.

 

Pre-heated the oven to 160°c. Place the ramekins into a roasting pan and place in the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come three-quarters the way up the side of the ramekins to create a bain-marie. Cook the bread and butter puddings for 25-30 minutes until the custard reaches setting point. If it appears too runny, return to the oven for a further 5 minutes before checking again. Carefully remove the bain-marie from the oven and allow the puddings to cool slightly in the bain marie.

 

Warm the apricot jam with a little water to thin it out slightly. Brush the apricot jam over the surface of the puddings and sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top.

 

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Tendrils of smoke, the last gasp of the fires that have ensnared our emotions, or the portent of another night of terror. Helicopters operating in the last light of the day. 

Although the fires are burning further into the forests, there is enough smoke in the air to agitate eyes, forcing a route change to our morning jog.

Paintings heading out to their new homes, with the portrait of the young homeless women completed. I decided not to do the curtain of dreads that were part of the reference photo’s, but rather let her defiance scream at the world that judges her.

For the hair, I used a wad of tissue to rub out sections of the paint. Arc’s of movement. various shades and tones of Alizarin crimson and raw sienna for the face, with a grey of cobalt blue and burnt sienna to create the shadows of the face.

A curry and wine pairing evening that should have had warning signs all over Hugh and Clare’s house. Not that the curries were in any way scary, but rather having to try each of the wines with the curries, and in a few cases, resampling was required. I’m sure there was more wine than blood in my system during the jog that felt endless.

Of the wines, the Pinot was stunning with the bobotie spring rolls. The rose (Cab Franc from Delaire) worked splendidly with the cream chicken curry, and the whites (A Riesling from Radforddale and Pinot Grigio from Terra Del Capo) worked perfectly with the Durban lamb curry. The reds didn’t feature. Although having been opened, they couldn’t be wasted!

Managed to get out for a cycle up Phantom Pass. The fires have burnt away the vegetation and only a few walls remain of one of the farms at the bottom of the Pass. It’s different now, with spectacular views down into the valley. Still challenging and a great ride. A bit of blood from not giving the correct amount of respect to a tree that has been blown over close to the cycle path.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Crazy hot day made for a pleasant early cycle out to Buffalo Bay. The sunrise playing in the breaking waves. Legs hammered, straining over the hills.

Clare managed to get a couple of photo’s of young homeless women from the feeding scheme at Lourie Park Her ‘dreads’ keeping her hidden and private amongst the press of men looking to get food. Eyes, impossibly dark. Added drama by pushing the composition across the canvas.

Grey-green tree branches and leaves leading the colours of the painting.

Roasted asparagus (beans in my case) and leeks with anchovy and bacon, served with grilled fillet and sautéed mushrooms, Julia Child’s way. The last of the Three Graces 2010.

Wild winds howling. Skies full of smoke. An unreal world. Yachts desperately hanging onto moorings. Leaves dance in mischief. Flames pirouette. Our town burning under the onslaught. Surging pillars of fire. Their, moment of power and glory. Consuming all. Devastation, absolute.

People too traumatized to stand. Cars packed with dogs, cats, children, blankets and the clothing they could grab on evacuation.

Fire patrols out all night watching for new fires from the embers carried on the winds. 

The view out the windows of the studio, captured reality unfolding.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

 

Seductive winter, well sort of, days. Knees that purplish tinge in my shorts, with the studio a tad cooler than being in the sun.

img_3683
‘Brothers’, painting of the returning boys Odyssey team. A loose approach to the ‘Impressionistic Smearing’, building tension within the painting, keeping the details to a minimum to reinforce that these are boys in their formative years, as well as the collective ‘Band of Brothers’, where there aren’t individuals. Thrilled that its also sold!
Jog around the new 5km loop on Thesen Island that Craig has put on strava. A few tricky turns, with the bridges a tad slippery from the wet mist. The sound of the sea breaking at the Heads quite amazing.
StudioJune17
A new exhibition of paintings, ‘The City and Flowers’, up in the studio. With our Tuesday movie, ‘Georgia O’Keeffe flowers and the city dominated her oeuvre, with colour the link to my paintings. “Whether the flower or the color is the focus I do not know.”

 

‘Sundowners’, Artist Print and oil on canvas. Transforming an emotionless print into an original, and unique, art work. Paint colours behaving differently on the printed canvas. Defining areas, while maintains simplicity. Particularly important, as I will be using acrylics for the trip to Vietnam and finishing the paintings with oils when I’m back in the studio.

Staggered at the price of artist grade acrylic paints, which I expected to be much less than artist grade oil paints. Fortunately Aly is happy to bring my Charvin paints from France.

AvoPommeThe Creative Hub have opened a new gallery space. It’s a great venue in that it allows one to approach the art from a distance, which isn’t possible here in the studio. An intimate space, within the larger building. Looking forward to seeing how my paintings look there.

Don’t seem to getting any quicker on the hills. Still have that ‘wounded buffalo’ sound, fighting the bicycle to keep moving forward. Only made bearable by the fabulous ride through the Gouna Forest. Breathtaking.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

That spot in the afternoon sunshine at FSC. Cats, or the impression of cats, wonder through the house turning themselves inside-out, before curling up in the shafts of sunlight. Champagne dancing. 

Franschhoek, for the Literary Festival. A lunch stop at the Tuk Tuk Microbrewery. Tapas, those tiny excuses for food that leave you hunting for a pizza delivery. That said, the variety of Mexican inspired flavours with their various beers, or wines, was delicious and interesting. 

The De Villiers Chocolate Café should, as all WMD, carry a warning of global destruction. Making a choice, being the first impossible task, before the taste of pure deliciousness forces you back for that next, something.

Amazing they had the statue of the lady on a bench that I had used in a painting, ‘Kim Sit’, when it was in Stellenbosch. This was a bronze work, while the one in Stellies was white. For my painting, I used the installation, together with one of the street men who roam around the city.

The inclusive, connecting people of the couple in the installation reinforcing the superficial nature of racial integration, with the black figure only present in silhouette. The street walker. Excluded. Discarded.

I overnighted with Lesa and Alan after spending a day running about Cape Town for chores. Saturday ParkRun with Alan. The course, while not along the coast was challenging and fun. 

Terry managed to get us into the last seating at The Vine bistro at Glenelly, where our favourite Chef, Christophe Dehosse, is creating magic. It’s an Estate we hadn’t been too, with a contemporary building amidst the historic Cape Dutch homesteads.

With a French owner of the Estate, May de Lencquesaing, his French-inspired dishes are perfectly settled and delicious. That extra crust of crispy bread to mop up the last of the Filet Mignon wine sauce. This despite the over generous portions.

Our wine choice may not have been the best for the variety of dishes. The 2015 Cab Franc, and the 2016 Chardonnay a tad young. However, the light freshness perfect for the warm autumn day looking out over the vineyards.

The new gallery space at Ebony-curated in Franschhoek is spectacular. While the art needs to be carefully chosen to benefit from the space, light, simplicity and perspective, I doubt if any artist wouldn’t be thrilled to have their work in the gallery. 

It’s probably even worth a ‘Damien Hurst stunt’ where a buyer walked in and bought all his work to effect a ‘Sell Out’, even though he was buying (predictive text ‘burying’) his own work.

It’s been ages since I jogged up hills, and certainly the steep undulations Craig decided to add into the jog along the estuary had me short-breathed, with my legs complaining.

In the studio, the painting of the group of boys on their Odyssey adventure in taking space. A bunch of elements on a smallish canvas (90cmx60cm). Keeping the details to a minimum to reinforce that these are boys in their formative years, as well as the collective ‘Band of Brothers’, where there aren’t individuals. 
Knysna-Plett Herald article

http://www.knysnaplettherald.com/news/Arts–Entertainment/Entertainment/186600/Artist-puts-heart-into-Knysna-community

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Review of the studio‘Obsessed with this gallery. The man with the yellow shirt is the artist and the paintings are done with his magical fingers. I bought a postcard printed with his paintings to support him It’s been like he was living in his gallery’


The Forest is asleep. An unnatural quiet. Drought. Sun relentless. Tentative shoots after the last rain, crisped. Fungus dried white. Streams of pebbles. The ascent through the Forest, ‘bum hurting’ steep. A gazillion stairs on the board-walk path. Tree tops shimmering with Knysna Lorie’s in their brilliant plumage. 

For my painting ‘Band of Brothers’, based on the team heading back after their 3 week Odyssey experience, I pushed the figures down into the lower half of the painting to give them more prominence. I wanted them to dominate the canvas, yet still highlight that they are still growing into their individual personalities. 

Clare made remarkably tasty Spinach parcels with feta. (Loose it recipe), which while working with the Pinot I was drinking, would probably work better with a great Chenin. Certainly, a ‘wine tasting’, or ‘pairing’ sort of dish. 

On a perfect autumn evening, the braai, a must. Ensuring all those in passing boats salivated with envy. To finish, a decadent dessert of roast nuts in dark chocolate.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The last of summer afternoon jazz at Blend. Bougainvillea flowers sparkling in the sunshine. The cool wind kept away from the cozy seating by the screen of trees and the pizza oven.
Oyster Catchers preening in the morning light. The wet beach sand a mirror for their ‘runway’ strutting. Feet a tad frozen on the cold beach sand.
Hopefully there are not too many gaps in the last of the picture books of my paintings that have been sent to the printers. The correlation with stock lists and prices sorted for the most part. Good to have some of my paintings out that have been hidden in storage for awhile.
The light dazzling. Spectacular reflections. Last of the full moon sliding below the mountains. The owl hooting it’s morning greeting. Fingers chilled. Lungs fighting for oxygen. Hills, ever steeper. Shoulder protesting. My thumb unhappy after being closed in the kitchen drawer. Not my cleverest!
I’m not sure there is a bad time to have pizza, although there are certainly bad pizza’s! The best, are bound with magic. The same magic, with a touch of wine, that ensnares, and binds us around the table. The chill in the air ensured that we didn’t have the last bottle of wine, however the pizza’s at Chatters were of the best. The weather calling for the richer bodied Nabygelegen Scaramanga Red.
Rain bringing some relief to the dry Forest. The fire seeming to evaporate the wine. Fortunately, a fresh supply was delivered to the studio. Just in case the roads flood and there is no access for a few minutes!
Open art exhibition at Metelerkamps, our designer kitchen and home emporium. Painting outside on the pavement something I have not done for ages. A cellist in the garden courtyard, inspiration for life drawing by the artists huddled in the sunshine. 
I painted a small painting, based on the photo taken by Amanda of Aden.

‘Ripples’

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

My collarbone a tad unhappy. Never a good idea to fall off your bicycle, particularly at the bottom of a decent. Only made a tad better by it being into soft sand. Legs a tad wobbly after an East-Head jog. Sea freezing. B’fast stunning.

The painting ‘A Moment in Time’ is crated and heading to Atlanta. A few splinters from building the crate, and only one dubious measurement incurred.

Air of Harbour Town reverberating with the assault of high octane, supercharged engines. The Motorshow and Simola Hill Climb are back. The Simola hill being converted into a racetrack, with the safety barriers hopefully only in place for awesome photographs. Nothing about them making the cycle any easier.

The portrait ‘Herder’ is finally sorted A spot of intense white (Its actually and combination of light yellow and blue, which when viewed next to the dark Alizarin crimson and Ultramarine blue looks like a brilliant white), a tad distracting. However, it’s an unexpected accident that I’m comfortable with. 

My legs coated in a sticky sheen. Goo from the bicycle front wheel, pierced by a glass shard. As I did not carry a puncture kit, I was lucky that it happened close to home and I could make my way back to the Caltex for a Seattle cappuccino.

Terry made a Tomato and Crab salad with basil pesto, from the new book by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen. Delectable. Salmon pasta and a tiramisu desert, both favourites that we haven’t had for ages. 

TOMATO AND CRAB SALAD WITH BASIL PESTO
SERVES: 4

DIFFICULTY: EASY

PREPARATION TIME: 20 MINUTES + 2 HOURS CHILLING 

INGREDIENTS
Mixture of fresh tomatoes, washed and quartered

Buffalo mozzarella cheese

Fresh herbs for garnishing 

FOR THE CRAB SALAD
45 ml crème fraîche

15 ml wholegrain mustard

250 g crab meat (tinned, fresh or thawed)

10 ml minced chives

5 ml green Tabasco sauce

Olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lime juice (1/2 lime)

FOR THE BASIL PESTO
1 CLOVE GARLIC, PEELED

Sea salt 

Large bunch basil, leaves picked and washed

60 g pine nuts

45 ml extra virgin olive oil

60 g Parmesan cheese, grated

Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD
Mix all the ingredients for the crab salad in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Season to taste and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To make the basil pesto, bash the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. 

Add the basil leaves and pine nuts and crush to a coarse paste. Add the olive oil and stir in the Parmesan, adding a little water if you would like it runnier. 

Continue until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the salad, use a pastry brush to paint a thick line of basil pesto across the centre of the plate. 

Use a small mould of your choice and create two circles of the crab salad. Mix the tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss until well covered. 

Arrange the tomatoes on the basil pesto between the crab salad and top with pieces of buffalo mozzarella. Garnish with fresh herbs.

http://www.janhendrikblog.com/seasonal/2015/10/1/tomato-and-crab-salad-with-basil-pesto

Diary of an Adventure

Jozie Adventure

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. 

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

 

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.