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

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Women in the Waves’

Acrylic on Canvas 200cmx70cm

Too many conflicting ideas messing about with my painting of the ’Women in the Waves’. Decided to stop smearing paint in the canvas. Happy with areas of the painting, while other bits are a tad overworked.
Summer. Visitors fleeing to confront the start of the new job year. Weather  switched to glorious. If a tad stifling. Early Steenbok walk to get Prince wet enough to manage the hot weather.
Super yacht Katherine heading out to its next adventures. It’s stay at Thesen Harbour Town attracting a more of visitors.
Otto Lingi Simple. Nothing about Ottolenghi is ’Simple’! Preparation. Shopping. Chopping. Cooking. Exhausting. Delicious! Terry did a cauli-rice, infused with mint and parsley. Perfect with the slow-cooked lamb ribs. French-inspired slow-roasted tomatoes (with the jalapenos magic ingredient) and spinach dish, with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Looked  amazing and packed with flavour.
Homtini Pass ride, with fabulous sightings of Knysna Louries. Even more amazing give the sweat stained glasses, and heavy breathing as I laboured up the pass. Senses overpowered by the ’honey’ scent. Sage wood plant? 

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Thrilled that my portrait of ‘Soli’ has been selected for the second round of judging at ‘BP Portrait 2020’. It’s the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world, held for the 41st year at the National Portrait Gallery.

Getting it framed,and delivered to London by months end a logistical nightmare. Particularly with the Brexit mess. Still, a nice one to have!
Ladies in the Waves’, from Terry‘s photo, taking shape on the easel, between hectic waves of holidaymakers. Grateful for all the support.
Puncture cutting our cycle through the Forest short. Fortuitous that amongst us we managed to negotiate poor short vision. Sweat. Shaking hands. Tyre repair bits. Managed to get back safely, with that touch of extra bougainvillea blood drama.
Cooking with IRON! Cast Iron. Not the refined Le-Cruset, or beautifully finished      Stuab, but the, ‘muscle car’ of cooking. My Xmas present. Ultra-heavy casserole pot for the Kamado Jan. Seasoned with olive oil over searing heat, before being entrusted with a meal. Duck Confit. Bacon strips lining the bottom of the pot, and a touch of extra Chenin moisture. Deliciousness. Cleaning up after duck. Not trivial. Not something to be left till the morning!
HbA1c, my blood glucose over the last 3 months, confirming the results of my blood sugar monitor, at 5,6%. The combination of careful diet and exercise keeping them controlled to the point that I can try cutting my insulin dose in half. Hopefully, this will also reduce the periods in the day when I go ’hypo’, which should make having me around a bit easier.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Chubby Unicorn’

Oil on canvas 80cmx80cm

Submission for the David Shepard Wildlife Artist of the Year finished. A dramatic gold background that contrasts with the turquoise in the painting. Will be interesting to see how the jury reacts.
Year end. Holiday season. Delish food. Great company. Laughter. Rest demanded of my abused body. A tad too much wine, probably not helping.
On the easel. Riotous friendship. A sea-scape of ‘Ladies in the waves’ on the beach at Sedgfield. Trying hard not to go down the path of the successful painting of the ‘Wild Oyster Collectors’, or the more abstract Pringle Bay sea-scape. Rather letting the painting dictate its own path.
The ’creative theater’ of the studio, part of the holiday business, with holiday browsers, returning collectors and fellow artists.
“As per your wonderful sense/insight of humanity Jan, you have captured emotive images of the human spirit; universally speaking your mind by way of canvas, paint, & fingers. Many of us could learn to not just “look”, but to “see” as well, by taking notice of the message you have implored here within these works.”

Robyn Heenan

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Chubby Unicorn’s’ (Thank you Kirsten), the commission and Wild Life Artists of the Year submission, on the easels in the studio. The fiery, Indian Yellow background to the paintings generating a host of comments. Particularly as it relates to the – ongoing – destruction of rhino’s, and their extinction, which the paintings signify.  

Delicious chevre and Proscuitto. For out 36th Wedding Anniversary, Terry made her ’Terrine de Campagne’, which, with a salmon main made for a scrumptious dinner. Phillepe Mallet, Cuvee prestige brut champagne and Crozes-Hermitage, balanced with Black Rock and a delicious Cederberg Blanc de Blancs MCC.
Happy, family holidays with sticky fingers across the studio windows. The thunder of powerful engines for the inevitable drag racing between speed humps. Early morning revealers driving Prince crazy. Cyclists and runners everywhere, and – fortunately – sales from the Studio.
My father’s Olympic athletic career was ended by a combination of a broken foot from running on a cinder track, and being declared a ’professional’ for accepting payment for transport to the Olympic trials. Certainly, I have no Olympic career, and sponsorship is the cornerstone of successful athletes, yet – while I have struggled with a trashed Achilles interrupting my running enjoyment – I’m facing my fathers foot weakness. In my case, arthritis. At least it’s not in my hands, so it doesn’t impact my painting!
For now, it’s summer. Endless days, of beach, forest, sea, wine, food and laughter.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

SOLD

’Oyster Pickers,

Acrylic on canvas 200cmx70cm

Bum and legs, stiff after a Buffs beach walk, between rain showers. Of more probably, from all the bending down to find stones for Prince to chase through the surf. Shoulder screaming at the abuse.
Stellakya wine dinner evening, with large quantities of red wine to replace the blood I lost from the scratch on my arm. The lamb main dish was a tad disappointing and the dessert out of the question. However, the Springbok carpaccio was delicious and the snoek spring rolls tasty.
I have started a small rhino painting, based on my painting ’Unicorn’ in preparation for the large commission work. The last tube of Ferrario Turquoise Blue (No 80), from my magic paint ox, is almost finished, adding uniqueness to the works. Certainly giving my shoulder a workout, covering the large areas of the big canvas

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Iris and Foxgloves’, the latest addition to our wearable art range has arrived in time for Christmas. It’s a high quality, square 90cmx90cm, silk twill scarf with hand-rolled edges, available in limited numbers.
Endless cleaning and sorting of accumulated clutter, I came across a couple of bowls from my days in Afghanistan. Made from Herat blue-glass, they are available as that unique gift from the studio.
Doctor visit to check on my diabetes control. A bunch of blood tests needed to confirm the daily readings, however, it looks like my daily exercise regime and careful eating choices are such that I may be able to reduce my insulin dosage further for a three month trial period. Also hoping that this will reduce the number of times I suffer from the ultra-low blood sugar effects of frozen fingers, headaches and grumpiness. 
The zebra’s in my painting ’Etosha’, (oil on canvas 160cmx80cm) have the lightness that I was looking for, rather than the heavy black and white carthorse they were initially. I mixed Raw Sienna with the Cobalt Blue – Burnt Sienna grey mixture for the zebra stripes, with touches of white so the light moves across the painting.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Amazing that it’s been four years since we opened the studio on Thesen Harbour Town.
First light. Fabulous cycle through the Forest and up Homtini pass. Legs struggling to turn the pedals on the steep, rough sections. Shoulder complaining at the abuse. Shaking hands not the best for a finger painter
Etosha. Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna grey mixture to soften the edges of the animals that felt as they were shouting from the canvas with the darker Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber grey. 
Striving for the balance between a line that says so much and detail that kills it.
The perfect end to a summer’s day. Walk and play on the beach with Prince and Ricco before a sunset picnic high up on the Brenton cliffs overlooking the sea. Didn’t expect the mozzies to be out hunting!
I never knew that the best way to store tubes of oil paint in not with the caps up not is it with the tubes on their side. The best way to store artists oil paint is with the caps downward. This way the linseed oil can rise to the top and when you open the tube you get the pigment you need, without the extra liquid. I have some sorting to do!
Thanksgiving dinner at the Worroll’s. Made a diabetic-sensitive chocolate remoulade, with blueberry and thyme juice. 

bûche de Noël


CHOCOLATE YULE LOG

AUTHOR: ANGELA COLEBY


INGREDIENTS

SPONGE

  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/3 cup 38g coconut flour
  • ½ cup 107g erythritol (or sugar substitute)
  • 1/3 cup 28g cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

FILLING

  • ½ cup 60g heavy/whipped cream, (whipped into stiff peaks)
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry chia jamoptional

TOPPING

  • 4 oz 112g butter unsalted, softened
  • ¼ cup erythritol or sugar substitute
  • 6 oz 168g cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup 22g cocoa powder, unsweetened

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F degrees.
  2. Grease and line a long rectangle baking tin with parchment paper. My tin is about 8 inches by 12 inches.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  4. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks and erythritol together.
  5. Add the remaining cake ingredients to the egg yolk mixture and combine well.
  6. Fold in the egg whites to the cake mixture.
  7. Spoon into the baking tin and smooth evenly.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until firm.
  9. Remove from the oven and place a piece of parchment paper over the cake whilst still warm (be careful not to burn yourself!).
  10. Remove the cake from the tin, keeping the parchment paper on the bottom of the tin so that the cake has parchment paper either side of it.
  11. Gently roll the cake from the smaller edge into a swiss roll shape. This will make it easier to unroll and fill later.
  12. Set aside to cool.
  13. Once the cake is cool, gently unroll the cake from the parchment paper and spread with the cranberry chia jam. Add an even layer of the whipped cream.
  14. Gently roll the cake back into the swiss roll shape.
  15. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help keep its shape.
  16. Make the topping by blending the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  17. Add the erythritol and cocoa powder and beat until smooth and blended.
  18. Smoother the topping all over the cake.
  19. Keep in the fridge to firm up the topping.
  20. Eat and enjoy!

RECIPE NOTES

Makes 8 slices

Nutritional Info per slice: 272 Calories, 24g Fat, 8g Protein, 9.6g Total Carbs, 4.3g Fibre, 5.3g Net Carbs

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Etosha Study’, painted as a demonstration at the Greyton Art Walk, on a wet summers day. Thrilled with the ostriches that are full of movement and simplicity.
Boulilli de boeuf. A variation on the beef short-rub, served with a spoonful of sauce vert. Despite being packed with flavour and impossibly rich, a tad underwhelming. Strawberry Fields from Graceland, mouth watering.
The aubergine tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil and ricotta stack that Clare made, delicious.
Tourists. Sunshine. Sparkling water. Yachts, paddle steamer and ferries. Blazing sunsets. Owls chicks, yelling. Seagulls screeching. Summer days hurtling towards the holiday season.
With the underpainting dry, and the composition on the canvas, the painting of ‘Etosha’ is in its initial steps. Not sure that the lower part of the canvas isn’t too neglected in terms of where the animals are positioned.  However, I’m pleased with the rough texture that contrasts with the paired-back sky. 
Running legs working hard and as my average pace has moved beyond the 5:30/km I have transitioned from shuffler into the jogger, runner zone. The 5:00/km being the next transition from jogger to runner. At least, in my head! This while staying injury free and managing the mountain biking within the pain threshold of my recovering collar bone. 
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Beach walk at Sedgefield before a quick stop at the market for blue skies organic salt. Studio busy with holiday tourists and the canvas for the Etosha commission on the easel. An underpainting of two blue-grey mixtures. Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, as well as Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Dashes of Cerulean Blue adding depth.

Fabulous dinner. J9. Chef Coreta. Amuse-bouche of Chev, melon, Parma ham and dill served with Ghost Corner Bowline. Grilled halloumi, roast tomatoes, on a bed of butter lettuce served with ‘Courageous’, dry land barrel fermented Chenin as the starter and a main of Kingklip, pancetta, Parmesan, dill in a Champagne and cream sauce. a selection of wine that included Colmont MCC, Miss Lucy, Radford Dale Chardonnay,  Driehoek, Oak Valley and Newton Johnson Family Vineyard Pinot Noir. Tarte au Chocolate as a dessert served with Doran Vineyard Shiraz. 

Via’s are hosting my art and painting demonstration as part of the Greyton Art Walk. I have a collection of my small paintings, as well as a few of the silk scarf wearable art range for something different.

‘The Walk the Experience’ gives access to various artists studios and homes, providing insight into working methods, techniques and inspiration.
My early run took me out onto the trails through the hills outside the Village. Taxing in the extreme!
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Leisure Walk’, a small painting in the series of paintings I’m doing for the Greyton Art Walk. Hijacked by Terry for her desk. ‘Forest Elephant’ the most challenging.
Slow grilled beef short rib, on the Kamado Jan, while tasty,  not fantabulous. Even with the button mushrooms and bacon, Gordon Ramsey assistance. Mistakingly having the short-rib sliced into strips didn’t help,as they cooked too quickly, without any of the anticipated  impressive sauce.
Phantom pass. Crossing the Red Bridge. Shoulder, cracking and popping as it settles into the abuse of off-road riding. Glad for the grading of the roads to reduce the corrugations. Confidence stretched, brakes working hard, on the way down.
Blood sugars struggling to handle the running, cycling and that tad too much wine. Inevitable with the World Cup rugby euphoria at J9, and Craig’s fabulous wine cellar.

Leisure Walk

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm