Notes from my travels and life as an artist working in the dynamic world of International Development

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Soli’

acrylic on canvas 50cmx50cm

‘Take a deep breath, and settle yourself down.’

With grateful thanks to Soli and the many hours of companionship on our daily journeys to Worcester when Mum Sterley was ill.

The comment on the recipe (Plate) ‘the best osso bucco of my life’, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We tried to emulate the conditions, with a night of storms and a fire warming the apartment, as well as aromas wafting down the staircase into the street. While the dish was delicious, the sauce was simply sensational. (The French part of Marlene van Der Westhuizen?) Organic rye, from Il de Pain French, an attempt not to trash my blood sugars too much!

Prince disturbed by the wind hammering the windows. A tad surprised that we didn’t wake to swamped boats in the Estuary. Storms giving way to sunshine fun.

A tad clumsy about the place with my one arm. Fortunately only messing things rather than breaking them. Left handed editing cumbersome and frustratingly slow. Must be wine time.

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

‘At the Norval’ Oil on Canvas 90cmx60cm. A moment at the Collector’s Focus: Nudes in the Sanlam Art Collection’ at the Norval Foundation.

‘….a refined elegant woman appreciating the gallery’s exhibition on the eastern wall. She must have looked at the main frame ….and asked if she was in that scene somehow….. somewhere.. lost in motion for a moment …’

The depiction of the work taken from Irma Stern’s ‘Sleeping Nude’, wasn’t part of the collection. However, I wanted the simplicity, and lines of the painting to increase the focus on the woman in her yellow dress. Didn’t manage the lighter, sketching style of painting I had in my head, making it a tad busy in places.

Marathon day. Harbour Town crazy busy with the registration of over 7000 athletes. Studio, amongst the building site, it’s own chaos.

Sensational flavours from the kitchen of Chef Hirsh. A chorizo and fish soup starter, before grilled lamb ribs with sliced cucumber and a yogurt and mint sauce. Grilled lamb with sweet potatoes done two ways and a green salad. Terry made her chocolate mouse. A cheese board with that last glass of wine. A magnum of ‘06 De Toren Fusion V from Craig’s cellar, scrumptious.

Bruised ribs and back muscles eased to the point that I was able to get down on the floor to finish the last bits on the Rhino Commission, which was greatly admired by the large numbers of people here for the Knysna Oyster Festival.

Wasn’t expecting the Orthopods diagnosis of another six weeks of my arm immobilized and three months for recovery. Properly smashed collar bone and almost ancient bones needIng time to settle

https://www.foodsunearthed.co.uk/recipe/fish-soup-chorizo/

SOLD

‘Storm Tossed’ Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

If bending trees weren’t enough of a warning, kite-surfers screaming across the Estuary were. Only hardened cyclists braved the roaring winds for the Oyster Festival races. The Ultimate Fitness Festival?.

Sling keeping my shoulder from moving, too crazily. The blessing of a Mungo, superb woven towel, easing the chaffing. Blood sugars back into their normal range after the trauma, and a couple of coffee walks easing bruised muscles.

Cable ties my new friend holding the canvas against the easel, as ‘wingless’ I can’t catch the canvas as it does it’s bit to escape the abuse of my fingers smearing paint about. The large number of straight lines a tad challenging for my painting of the Norval Foundation exhibition.

While we we had to eliminate the beans from the Pork and Cannellini Bean casserole recipe, the sauce of the dish was sensational. The pork a tad on the dry side, which was disappointing. However, the Eastern flavours worked fabulously with the seared Bok-Choy.

Harbour Town full of athletes as it’s Forest Marathon time. Studio busy with the registration traffic generating its own energy.

Bartinney wine dinner at the Turbine. The lamb bredie, paired with their Cabernet Sauvignon, scrumptious.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Radically changed exercise routine. Standing up. Getting dressed. That, one handed button fastening. Pulling on socks. A shirt. Shoes. Bathroom contortions. Exhausting.

No surprise that my body, under stress after surgery, has my blood sugars dancing on the ceiling. Medication adding its own complexity.

‘Let me tell you about a man I knew’, by Susan Fletcher is a delightful book about Vincent Van Gogh’s time at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum. Words are brush strokes, woven through some of his well known paintings, framed within the factual accounts from his letters to his brother Theo.

Rich and indulgent. Beef fillet steak with Roquefort and port sauce, a recipe from the French countryside. With both Coreta and my shoulders trashed, Craig stepped in as Terry’s Sous-Chef de cuisine.

‘Luncheon at the Boating Party’, by Renoir, at the Phillips Collection, in Washington DC, is magnificent. My first visit, I was acutely aware of a woman standing entranced. Captivated by the power of the painting. My painting of ‘Collector’s Focus: Nudes in the Sanlam Art Collection’ at the Norval Foundation, captures a moment of captivation. The deep blue walls, a foil for her yellow dress.

Harbour Town buzzing with cyclists for the start of the Oyster Festival. Senses tuned to the vibrations of the approaching storm.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Unicorn 2’

Oil on canvas 1,5mx1,5m

A few tweaks, and a couple of significant changes to the composition of the Rhino.

I decided to leave the tempestuous background, with its rough texture alone, as a contrast the smoother dust in the foreground.

Grateful for the collector who commissioned the painting. Loved the opportunity to work at that scale.

I. Remarkably, no blood! Hugh walked my bike out to where Clare could collect me home before Terry could get me casualty and the operation to fix my ‘properly broken’ clavicle. Fortunately, no complications, and while my blood sugars have gone crazy, they have sent me home after overnight observation. Six weeks, or so, my penance.

Hospital is not without its humorous side. The care I received was of the highest standard and professionalism.

A shared ward with a Dutch tourist who tore a knee ligament, and not only was a heavy smoker but had an absolute phobia about needles. Getting him prepped was a lesson in physiological counseling and slight of hand that was the envy of many magicians.

A nonagenarian woman, cranky in the extreme wanted go for walk outside, throwing he walking frame across the corridor as she doesn’t need assistance. Despite her recent knee surgery. She also decided on her midnight stroll, after insisting on coming into the wrong ward that I was occupying her bed and should be removed immediately.

An early morning tussle with e grumpy man who tried to leave the hospital to go home despite not being able to move unassisted and nobody at home to take care of him. Apparently he couldn’t get the USPGA on his TV screen.

I slept a bunch.

Norval Foundation

Brief shafts of sunshine through low clouds, natural spotlights highlighting the colours of ‘Wind Scuplture lll’ in the sculpture garden. Definitely best viewed from the warm comfort of the Skotnes restaurant.

Enjoyed the Collector’s Focus exhibition and wondering through the David Goldblatt exhibition, was transported back to my brief, terrifying, stint working at Grootvlei gold mine. While intrigued by the Yinka Shonibare CBE exhibition, Tradewinds’, I struggled to be engaged.

Scrumptious lunch. Beef bone marrow and sumac salsa, followed by beef flat iron with tomato Brodie and green beans. A glass of Skotnes red blend.

Rowing boats in a clients house

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘At the Norval’ Oil on Canvas 90cmx60cm. A moment at the Collector’s Focus: Nudes in the Sanlam Art Collection’ at the Norval Foundation.

‘….a refined elegant woman appreciating the gallery’s exhibition on the eastern wall. She must have looked at the main frame ….and asked if she was in that scene somehow….. somewhere.. lost in motion for a moment …’

The depiction of the work taken from Irma Stern’s ‘Sleeping Nude’, wasn’t part of the collection. However, I wanted the simplicity, and lines of the painting to increase the focus on the woman in her yellow dress. Didn’t manage the lighter, sketching style of painting I had in my head, making it a tad busy in places.

Marathon day. Harbour Town crazy busy with the registration of over 7000 athletes. Studio, amongst the building site, it’s own chaos.

Sensational flavours from the kitchen of Chef Hirsh. A chorizo and fish soup starter, before grilled lamb ribs with sliced cucumber and a yogurt and mint sauce. Grilled lamb with sweet potatoes done two ways and a green salad. Terry made her chocolate mouse. A cheese board with that last glass of wine. A magnum of ‘06 De Toren Fusion V from Craig’s cellar, scrumptious.

Bruised ribs and back muscles eased to the point that I was able to get down on the floor to finish the last bits on the Rhino Commission, which was greatly admired by the large numbers of people here for the Knysna Oyster Festival.

Wasn’t expecting the Orthopods diagnosis of another six weeks of my arm immobilized and three months for recovery. Properly smashed collar bone and almost ancient bones needIng time to settle

https://www.foodsunearthed.co.uk/recipe/fish-soup-chorizo/

SOLD

‘Storm Tossed’

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Great live music, seafood platter, a free glass of wine in the sunshine at Dry Dock. Incredible value.

A couple of rapid runs that were probably not the most sensible given my Achilles weakness. Still, it was great to be out in the beautiful winter sunshine.

Long stints in the studio on the rhino commission taking its toll on hands and elbows. Something magical as it starts to gather its own force. Will see if the comments about the too ‘human’ eye needs correction. For now, the painting is at that point where I need to decide to step-away, and let it breath, it’s own life, or mess it-up, by doing too much.

Winter is not a bad time to have a diabetic in the house as they seek out dish washing opportunities as the hot water relieves cold fingers (peripheral neuropathy).

Rain against the windows. Fire heating the apartment, aromas of slow cooked garlic infused lamb, with that magical ingredient of laughter from friends who are happy to experiment with taste, texture and the unknown.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A dunking in the estuary, on a beautiful autumn evening, not the greatest thing to do to your iPhone. There was, one of those moments, where I had one leg caught on the boat while one tried valiantly to find solid ground. Failed dismally.

Studio after the holiday. A bunch of admin sorted. A bit of blood on a shin that lost a bunch of skin on the step-stool reorganizing paintings. Plasters to protect the linen.

Achilles seemingly content with its gentle jog, bum less sure about being back on the bicycle. At least I didn’t fall off!

Initial stages of the rhino commission, with an under painting of Indian Yellow for the sky of the painting. I’m trying to get the rhino skin texture different to the sky, by using the under painting to add luminescence. Also using Venice Red for one shade of grey and Burnt Sienna for the other. Naples yellow, rather than white for the grey tones. I have a couple of differ turquoise options with the Van Dyk Turquoise Blue (No. 80) completely different to the Charvin Intense Turquoise. Will need to see which works better with the deeper grey’s of the painting.

First outing of a recipe from ‘Plate’, by Marlene van Der Westhuizen. Steak with Gorgonzola sauce, with bok choi the surprise. Scrumptious.

Diary of an Adventure

Pringle Bay Adventures

Our time here as suddenly come to an end. Days governed by endless beach walks, and the mesmerising movement of the sea outside the window.

With the arrival of the storm front, the water of the huge seas is dark and threatening. Gone are the gentle turquoise blue swells. The wild weather an opportunity to indulge in the heady aromas of citrus, cloves, red wine and deliciousness. Terry’s oxtail in a three-day stock of yumminess. Fresh bougette irresistible for the last spot of juice.

‘Storm’ Acrylic on canvas 60cmx90cm. Frenetic strokes on the canvas to catch the energy, anger, of the seas as they hurtles against the outcrop of rocks. A grey green for the dark waves, with a hint of turquoise and blue. Magenta touches for the shadows of the waves.

A large (2mx0,7m) canvas spread across the kitchen counter for an abstract seascape. Painting quickly to get soft edges before the acrylic paint dries. A trip through to Gordon’s Bay for a resupply of white paint. Rockfalls making the journey a tad perilous.

My blood sugars have been unbelievably stable with the more moderate exercise of walking on the beach for half an hour a gazzilion times a day, rather than my usual run or cycle in the morning and a couple of short walks during the day. Or perhaps, it’s that glass of wine at lunch time? (BG Ave 5,5 with a Standard Deviation of 0,8). And that was with a blood sugar spike (7,6 mmol/L) after a breakfast out, which included crumbed pea croquette’s.

Diary of an Adventure

Pringle Bay Adventures

Thrilled that portrait of Peter ‘Come-Along’ received an Honorable Mention at the 2018 London International Creative Awards, the Professional Painting Category. This to go with its Special Merit Award for Outstanding Art from the 2019 Figurative Art Competition.

Surfers, dolphins, paddlers, sup’s, runners, fisherman, walkers, families and dogs. The beach on a glorious day. The fishing fleet moving in at sunset.

For my painting of the surfer, I used the knuckles of my hand to create the ‘lumpy’ affect of the water below the breakers, and the edge of my hand for the breaking wave. A line of slightly darker toned water leading to the surfer which I painted with quick strokes, the black of the wetsuit against the water, enough of a contrast.

Prince up at first light for one of his multiple excursions to the beach. Seaweed, the game of choice as he hurtles after thrown pieces. My arms haven’t worked so hard since Polly chasing seaweed at Milnerton beach. The light providing different colours for a painting of the walkway to the beach. The mountains above Simons Town across the bay.

Holiday routine of a walk at first light, breakfast at the La Galerie, shopping in the village for firewood, wine, veg and braai bits, before heading back to the comfortable beach house to paint, read and watch the endless waves.

Sea-sand sweeping, never ending!

‘From the waves’

Oil on canvas 121cmx41cm