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

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘At the Beach’

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Small paintings from our Wilderness beach visit using Charvin colours that I haven’t managed to use before. Tropical Green, deep Turquoise Blue, Bluish Parma, Provence Blue.

Additional CCTV camera installed in the studio to cover all the access points, with motion alerts linked to my phone and computer. Relieved that the insurance are going to replace my MacBook and iPad.
Clair’s gourmet birthday dinner at White Washed, with dishes altered to cater for my diabetic constraints. Wine pairings with each dish, with the Oak Valley Beneath the Clouds Chardonnay scrumptious. Not that there was anything wrong with the Edgebaston Pinot, or the Perdeberg Drylands Cabernet. Thank goodness there was a taxi home and having a cutoff at 11 meant that I could kind-of function for a jog at sunrise.
Owls out, book ending the day in the quiet stillness after the builders leave.

Dogs Life

Oil on canvas 20cmx20vm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

In the studio, a mush of paintings. A small painting of the yacht opposite the studio, while the underpainting for the painting ‘Princesses for a Day’ dries and the wooden block gets its gesso primer.

Sugar levels too high. The Achilles reappearance cause? Wine season? Summer dehydration? The riding and running seeming to keep them from blowing into the stratosphere. Summer temperatures keeping the chilled fingers and frozen toes manageable. The higher levels also reducing the persistent headaches. However, the trend a concern. Eliminating the after insulin berries and yogurt and increasing the amount of water I drink during the day to see the impact on fasting blood sugars.

Despite the wind, a fabulous ride through the farmlands above Phantom Pass. The wind bringing a cooling, salt laden, boost of marvellousness.

Cola beach, Sedgefield with its weathered sandstone cliffs. Endless miles of blue seas, skies and soft sand. A play ground for dogs designed in heaven. An instant holiday vibe at Pilipili for breakfast, where it doesn’t matter that the coffee isn’t the best in the world, or that the service was a tad slow. Even the specks of sea-sand on the plate felt acceptable. Great service and we left with a smile.

Wind howling. Grated Parmesan spread across the four corners of the earth, as I tried to put the toppings onto the mozzarella focaccia on the Kamado Jan.

Border Collie with an upset stomach, in an apartment, not the easiest to manage.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Spectacular sunset on a still evening. The early mornings shrouded in mist. Silence. Nespresso. Magical.

The ‘theater that is art’, the largest canvas I have painted on at 2mx1,5m, set on two easels. Surface preparation with a diluted matt glaze medium. Burnt Seinna, Cadmium Yellow medium and Primary Magenta. A grey from Cobalt Blue with Burnt Sienna the underpainting for the two elephants.Not sure about the composition which I think is too low on the canvas.

Feel like one of those collapsing ‘push puppets’, with none of my parts working together, but rather collapsing in an uncontrolled heap. The result of a charging cycle up Phantom Pass that turned my legs to mush and a day of painting the large canvas in the studio that turned my shoulders and arms to jelly.

Beach isolated, the brilliant sunlight at the studio hidden by a bank of mist. Prince, brave enough to face the noise of the menacing waves, throwing themselves at the beach.

Last of the summer flowers along the roads through the farms of Rheenendal. Blue plumbago and purple sage between pink and white Erica’s.

No blood. Paintings safely packaged in their crate heading to their new home. Special.

He Ain’t Heavy

Oil on canvas 2,0mx1,5m

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Time-lapse video of my ‘Finger Painting’ painting technique.
Pink face. Beach bar look without sunscreen. Turquoise waters sparkling in the sunshine. Idyllic summer days.

Conquering the corrugations. Speed definitely helping to reduce the wrist, and bum, jarring. Especially after that extra bottle of red wine! Soft sand, strategically positioned to ensure heart stopping, out of control, panic, with only empty space beyond the trail edge. Perhaps, a tad melodramatic? Certainly enjoyable. A fabulous morning ride along Highway-West.
A calming, picnic, cruise up the Keurbooms river into the gorge where majestic Outeniqua yellowood trees festooned with Usnea lichen, also known as Old Man’s beard, stand proud. The river, almost black with its tanin infused waters draws you into its quite contemplation, before a welcome swim. Refreshing pockets of cold current.
Sunflowers, agapanthus and the dignified old man on his bicycle outside Delish, the subject of my painting. This in between putting together the time-lapse video of the portrait ‘Life’s a bitch’. I increased the number of shots taken during the painting leaving me with a mountain to edit.
fullsizerender-48Inspiration. Frequently I’m asked where does the inspiration come from for my paintings. While staying in paradise, surrounded by beauty and the ever changing dynamic that is South Africa, there are sources, such as The Writing Map. Devised and written by Shaun Levin with illustrations by Stefania Manzi, the maps are easy to carry and fun.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

JANDRE RAATS ART STUDIOHis work is expressionistic, inspired by impressionism he sees in the surroundings he’s in.
A different meal, ‘Township eating’ at Usatsho. Melvin prepared a three course lunch for 12 of us with the most basic of facilities. The roosterkoek with his homemade chakalaka was excellent and the chicken fillet moist. We were entertained by a kids group doing traditional dances. A great afternoon.

Commissioned piece of a couple and their dog walking on the beach. The small canvas demanding. In the end, I did a couple of versions striving for the tranquility only found on beach walks.
Slow jog after an evening with too little sleep and too much wine. My bothersome Achilles behaving for once. Perhaps it was still anesthetized?? 
Moon out with the owl hooting encouragement as I did my best not to trash dinner. Chicken breast stuffed with smoked salmon, goats cheese, pesto and spinach. Served with grilled aubergine, cooked on the Weber with the cooking sheet, and a huge salad that Coreta made. I cooked the aubergine for the additional ten minutes the chicken took to cook on an indirect fire. While a tad soft, they were not bitter and had a caramalised topping. Ataraxia Pinot Noir, stunning. The full bodied Grangehurst Cabernet the perfect dessert. 
‘Fisherman’, the portrait that I started as a demo during the Knysna Arts Festival taking shape, with the wildness and tranquility of the seas competing. 

Full house for the movie evening, with the light as the summer days get longer days starting to become a bother. Perhaps blinds are going to be needed if we continue into the summer.
Chicken breast stuffed with smoked salmon and goats cheese


2 (10 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts.

salt and pepper, to taste.

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh spinach.

1⁄2 cup chopped smoked salmon.

1⁄4 cup basil pesto.

1⁄4 cup crumbled goat cheese.

1 tablespoon cajun seasoning.

1 teaspoon black pepper.

Chop the spinach and salmon into small pieces.

Combine spinach, salmon, pesto, goat cheese, Cajun spice blend, black pepper

Cut pockets into the thick side of the chicken breast.

Divide mixture between chicken, placing mixture in center of chicken.

Secure each with wooden toothpicks.

Cook for five to ten minutes on a medium fire

Let rest 5 minutes.
Grilled Eggplant


3 eggplants

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat grill to medium.

2. Cut tip from eggplants and halve lengthwise. With a sharp knife, make cross hatch marks by scoring one way then the opposite way on the cut side of each eggplant.

3. Spread olive oil on the cut side of the eggplants and grill cut side down for 5 minutes. 

4. Gently turn and cook for ten minutes on the skin side until they are cooked through but not mushy soft. (I cooked the aubergine for the additional ten minutes the chicken took to cook on an indirect fire)

5. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Being on the down-slope side of a corner, which is also the edge of the mountain slope is not a good place to be. Especially with loose sand and stones! The cycle up Simola and along the contours a tad beyond my bicycle handling, and fitness ability.
I did weave across the road to get some king of momentum up the Simola climb. My time (840 best his year), an indication of my lousy cycling strength. 
At the soft sand on the edge of the mountain, I jumped off my bicycle, glad that at least I wasn’t negotiating those frightening clip-in peddles. When my peddle struck a rock in one of the forest trails I was equally glad that I could use my legs as stabilizers.
The forest track is a tough run, and no less (if quicker) cycling challenge.
The beach paintings of Joaquin Sorolla are full of movement and life, capturing the innocent pleasure of children in particular. This, my inspiration for the painting of the Boy and his dog on the beach. 
Kirsten here. Days of walking, food and bubbles planned. 
Fiddleheads curled in different directions. Ferns and Sesame street moss. Jubilee falls, an undemanding walk that follows the stream through the indigenous forests that were designed for a Fairy Tale. I managed not to fall in at the stream crossings and didn’t brave the freezing waters of the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
Excellent chicken pie at Mother Holly’s before heading back for the Featherbed Nature Reserve walk. A ferry ride across the lagoon, before the tractor ride up the East Head and the start of the walk down. The views across the lagoon and out along the coast line are magnificent and the walk easy with a multitude of flowers along the way. Something special about walking along the old railway line route almost at sea level. My Achilles still a tad unhappy with the steps.
Morning food-handout to homeless, an opportunity to get photos for my next portraits. Disturbing eyes of hardship, suffering and hopelessness, interspersed with faces of character. Grateful for food in an empty day. 

Messing About with Paint

Boy and his dog

Oil on Canvas 90cmx60cm

The beach paintings of Joaquin Sorolla are full of movement and life, capturing the innocent pleasure of children in particular. This, my inspiration for the painting of the Boy and his dog.
Bold strokes, on an underpainting of Naples Yellow that pushed into the abstract expressionism boundaries for the painting. For the shadows in the painting, I used Purple Madder (Van Dyk 38) with Cadmium Yellow Deep as a contrasting colour. A mixture of Raw Sienna and Rose Quinacridone contrasted with Cobalt Blue for the water. Touches of grey made from Indian Red and Cobalt Blue were used to add sparkle to the white. Flashes of Magenta to ensure the unpredictability of the beach.
Diary of an Adventure

Thesen Harbour Town Adventures

With the oven sorted, Terry did a stunning dinner in the apartment. A chilled cucumber soup with mint garnish. Herbed rack of lamb, which I cooked (Not quite long enough, as I didn’t allow for the wind factor) on the Weber, served with aubergine, tomato and Parmesan cheese (Peter Goffe-Wood recipe) A desert duo of strawberry and chocolate mouse. A 2004 Rustenberg John Merriman (every bit of the Wine Enthusiast 93 point rating) dug out of Craig’s wine store. de Trafford Cab franc, Delaire Graaf Chardonnay and Tribaut Champagne went superbly with the food.

Blue skies outside the studio, a bunch of white agapanthus with yellow and purple blossoms familiar to the painting taking shape on the canvas. Mum’s summer garden, with the last of the Flanders poppies creating a burst of heat.

The new blank greeting cards with images from my towing boats and Stellenbosch paintings have arrived from Madison, and super smart they do look. They will be on sale in the studio and we need to find a clever way to display them for those browsing the windows of Harbour Town.

Laughter and energy filled the studio as around forty people passed through for a glass of wine and to recognize the end of the building process. My old diaries from Afghanistan, Indonesia and Botswana their own attraction. Terry prepared a feast of nibbles, and the wine bottles ensured that the recycling guy didn’t go away with an empty truck.

Opening the studio early, has attracted a different bunch of people, with those out for their morning exercise stopping past. Still not very good at collecting email contacts for my mailing list!

Sunset watching a Giant Eagle Owl sitting on the parapet wall above the patio. Yellow eyes observing our every move.

A dustbin full of bees made for an interesting rubbish day. They were mostly under the lid of the bin, which fortunately I picked up away from me, so a seething mass of bees fell into the rubbish bin. I managed not to get stung and the efficient bunch at Elements arranged to have them moved.

After the rain, the lagoon is a reflecting pool. Yachts, constantly changing as the holiday season brings old, and new, visitors to this part of paradise. A sprinkling of whom, pass through the studio. Their stories, bringing new life to my paintings.

Latest paintings from the studio

Pink Fluxh

Oil on Canvas 40cmx30cm

At the beach

Oil on Canvas 20cmx20cm
Pete Goffe-Wood’s roast rump of lamb with baked tomato, aubergine and basil (serves 6):

6 ripe plum tomatoes

100g unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 large aubergines

100ml extra virgin olive oil

20g basil

150ml cream

100g grated Parmesan

600g baby potatoes

10g rosemary

3 cloves garlic

100ml olive oil

1.2kg lamb rump

60g rocket

Blanch the tomatoes for 10 seconds in furiously boiling water then peel and roughly chop. Sauté in the butter for aproximately 5 minutes until they begin to break down and form a saucy consistency. Remove from the heat, add the finely chopped garlic and season.
Slice aubergine into thin rounds and sauté in a frying pan with theolive oil for 5 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Remove from the frying pan and drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
Spoon the tomato into six ceramic bowls and arrange the aubergine on top. Tear up the basil, add to the cream, season with salt and pepper and pour over the aubergine. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and bake in a moderate oven (180ºC) for about 15 minutes.
Cut the baby potatoes in half and place in a roasting pan with the rosemary, garlic cloves and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in a hot oven (200ºC) until soft and golden brown.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Roast in a hot oven (200°C) until medium – aproximately 15 minutes depending on the size of the rumps. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
Slice the rumps lengthways and divide evenly onto six plates. Serve with some dressed rocket, roast potatoes and baked aubergine.