Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

Our part of paradise being transformed with building next to us undergoing a massive rebuild. A modern update to what has, to-date, been constrained architecture along strict low-impact guidelines. As with the rebuild of Ile de Pain, the building itself is set to become a destination. A year of chaos and noise ahead!

Not the best, for a sensitive Border Collie.

Stopped playing with the portrait of ‘Ben’, the racehorse. The muscles of the horse a guide for the direction of my finger strokes to add power and breath life into the painting. Constrained by the small 50cmx60cm canvas.

Ben is beautiful mixture of dark brown, gold and red. Indigo (Ferrario No.57) for the iris of the eyes with Mineral Violet Light (Ferrario No.46) highlights. Raw Umber (Ferrario No.76) for the dark brown. Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Orange for that touch of sparkle.

A gap before a world turned crazy. Storms ripping across the estuary. Insides turned to mush on Homtini Pass cycle. Not much time to enjoy the stunning indigenous Forest, as keeping going forward was all consuming.

Small elephant painting sold, and the new silk scarf samples of the dolphins and King Protea have been shipped. While most are already pre-sold, it will be fascinating to see how they have turned out

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A preliminary painting of a rhino (30cmx30cm) for the larger commission piece I’m hoping to do. Permanent Magenta an odd colour to be using. The ‘extra-spectral’ (meaning it doesn’t exist in the visible spectrum) nature of the colour perhaps making it special in relation to the rhino on the edge of extinction?

Fabulous run along the mist covered beach, with Prince, from Brenton. Running on a silver mirror. My Achilles not happy with the run. Barefoot running?

Gurgling water running down gutters. Cars splashing along wet streets. Gentle rain, creating a magical world. For which. Good wine, friendships and laughter were created. Not forgetting, the vibrancy of a Border Collie!

The display book collection of my paintings from Vietnam finally sorted, and the draft of the Vietnamese diabetic sensitive recipe book compiled. Not sure the small format is the answer?

I seemed to ‘crash’ my way through the day. While coordination isn’t one of my skills, the effects of low blood sugars having an impact after a good cycle up Homtini Pass.

Exceptionally dusty with a bunch of motorcycles ensuring I rode in a cloud of the stuff. Fortunately Pete was having his bicycle washed so I did mine as well. I probably would have benefited from a similar hose down!

‘Johannes’ heading to his new home in Europe

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

New Year

Beach play before a day of bubbles and laughter. The ‘pizza’ base getting better. A humongous number of empty bottles, probably adding to the, somewhat, bizarre decision to hold an e-bike Challenge up Phantom Pass. With the proceeds to Animal Welfare, a more than expected bunch trundled up the pass. The Challenge, somewhat lost in the enjoyment of a fabulous day to be out riding in paradise.

Rain bringing holiday makers into the studio. Humbling, and thrilling to have paintings heading to new homes in Oslo, Rome and London. The silk scarves, a popular option.

Backup hard-drive crash. The gazillions of photos from our travels, which I use as reference sources for my paintings, the major loss. Perhaps a data-recovery company can retrieve them? Or perhaps. It’s one of those. Clean-slate. New-year. Start-afresh. Moments.

Friday market. A Cheloist that touch of amazing with the last of the daylight and the storm moving in.

Diabetic Sensitive ‘Pizza’ Recipe

Ingredients

170 grams grated mozzarella cheese

1 tbsp butter

½ cup fine almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 large egg

Instructions

• Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Lightly grease the liner.

• In a large saucepan, melt the cheese and butter together over low heat until they are melted and can be stirred together. Remove from heat and add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.

• Add the egg and stir everything together until a cohesive dough forms. Use a rubber spatula to really knead it up against the sides of the pan. It may still contain some streaks of cheese.

• Transfer to the prepared pan and knead a few more times until uniform. If your dough is very sticky, work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour. Cover the dough with another piece of parchment and roll out to a 12-inch (30 cm) circle.

• Spread olive oil, salt and herbs over the dough before putting in the oven to co

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

A dark, wet world with a power outage after a couple of days of water pouring from the skies. A tad bit more red wine than necessary, to accompany the Boeuf bourguignon. Prince, bouncing off the walls.

Beach walk. Sun doing its best to heat the snow wind from the mountains. Not enough to stop frozen feet and hands. The hot-water bottles at East Head welcome after our run and toe-testing dip into the sea. Much too cold for me.

‘Family Outing’ finally finished. Grateful for the extra paint supplies that eased the constraints of my acrylic paint options.

‘Côte de Boeuf’. A monster – first – experimental dish for the Kamado Jan. As advised, I let the steaks sit for two hours to reach room temperature before starting the ‘Reverse Searing’. Which is basically doing a slow cure (based on 4min per 100gram of the largest piece of meat) at 150 degrees.

I struggled to get the temperature down, having added too much charcoal initially. The heavy bone of the cut, rescuing me, as I did the initial cook, bone side down over the high rack position.

The meat then rested for an hour before winding the Kamado Jan up to its steak searing 400 degrees temperature. The rested steaks, seared for 4 minutes on each side, plus an additional 4 minutes, or so, to render the fat.

At the high temperatures care needs to be taken to prevent combustion and that ‘charcoal’ state. Having Coreta watching the meat, a necessity, as the high temperatures also evaporated the wine in our glasses.

The grilled hunks of steak were rested off the grill for the ten minutes it took to cook the green beans. The steaks were separated from the bone and cut into slices. Bones, then grilled for an additional ten minutes, adding that last ‘curtain call’.

Sweet potato gratin. 2011 Grace Land and Black Rock, special on their own. With the Côte, spectacular.

Dad on a surprise visit for his 85th birthday. Very special.

September, ‘10-mile’ challenge, with the sunrise. Something conjured from nowhere definitive, on a beautiful early summer morning. Long time since I have run that far. That easily. That quickly.

Diary of an Adventure

Calitzdorp Cycle Adventure

First time I have spent so long on a bicycle, with three days of cycling into the red mountains. Groenfontein. Kruisrivier and Seweweekspoort.

Beautifully restored houses from the days of the Ostrich Barron’s. Blue skies. Green valleys. Dust. Gut wrenching climbs. Legs turned to mush. Bruised bum. Exhilarating decents. Demanding terrain that challenged yet left you excited for the next day.

Soeterus guest farm. Roaring fire under the stars. Space for Prince to run. Warm showers. Comfortable beds. Breakfasts to fuel the starving and close enough to the wine cellars of Boplaas and De Kraans, an incentive at days end.

A new technique for cooking fillet from Coreta. 80 degrees for 4 min per 100 grams of the largest fillet. Stand for an hour. Then cooked over a hot fire for ten minutes, turning continuously. Delicious.

Terry, Coreta and Clair, with careful menu planning, ensured that my blood sugars over the demanding days didn’t spiral out of control. A touch of hyperglycemia as I waited too long before refueling with blueberries. Particularly on the afternoon rides when my sugar levels seem to fall quicker. Carrot cake very tempting!

Blood sugars

Day 1

Before ride 6,7 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 47,9 km 3,8 (2h 11m)

2 hour after ride 5,3

Daily carbs 31 grams

Day 2

Before ride 4,8 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 32 km 4,1

After 64 km 4,3 (3h 18m)

1 hour after ride 6,4

2 hour after ride 4,4

Daily carbs 30grams

Day 3

Before ride 4,9 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 22 km 4,1

After 42 km 5,4 (2h 17m)

1 hour after ride 5,2

Daily carbs 30grams

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

First ‘Wearable Art’ 100% silk scarves with my paintings sold and heading to new homes. Orders for the next batch received with a few adjustments made to the art work. ‘Irises’ design painting finished, adding an additional option to the range. Working on an elephant painting that is also designed to be used as a scarf painting. The link to the website sorted and the international purchase pricing adjusted to include free shipping.

https://janraats.com/wearable-art/

Running with my shadow in the early morning before the storm made being in front of the fire the more sensible option. Getting Prince out that much more challenging, as he didn’t see the need to move from his warm bed before the birds were awake.

The painting of ‘Irises’, a simple, abstract approach. Colours clean and vibrant. The long rectangular format, challenging. Working in acrylics allowing for a fast application of paint. The course canvas trashing a couple of layers of skin on my fingers.

Bicycle cleaned, ready for the 3 day Karoo Tour in Calitzdorp. First, birthday weekend lies ahead. One of those life milestones.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The sample silk scarves of my ‘Wearable Art’ have arrived. Quality much better than expected and the colour saturation extraordinary. Perhaps a tad too much.

Not sure where the ‘edge’ is between a cycle that allows one to enjoy the waves, sunshine and incredible privilege of being in this part of paradise, and the blood-pumping, muscle straining, ambition to go that slight bit faster that has sweat streaming into eyes. An oblivious focus on numbers. A bit of both??

Sautéed foie-gras. Generally, I find foie gras too rich, however this slightly seared way of serving slices was delicious. As was our dinner at Le Marquis. The calamari tube starter was stunning. I might even get to like the stuff! The house speciality, duck confit lived up to its reputation, even if the cranberry sauce was too much for my diabetic constraints. Remy brought the table a duck breast in Lagrange that I hope finds its way into the menu, as it was outstanding.

Nothing Impressionistic about the top 40 Sanlam Portrait Award exhibition. I actually preferred the other portraits in the gallery to those of the competition. The quality, particularly of the draughtsmanship in the charcoal works was outstanding, and in general the exhibition wasn’t morbid or soul stealing, but rather well executed portraits. I didn’t come away inspired or with new techniques, or radical insights into composition. Grateful that the exhibition has been in Knysna, uplifting portrait painting.

Long narrow canvas (200cmx70cm) for a painting of irises based in a couple of the iris paintings I have done and the wild irises that are flowering along the route we walk Prince. Acrylics, for a minimalist, sketch style that I’m also hoping will work well as a silk scarf painting.

Hot off the easel

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Sautéed Foie Gras Recipie

Sautéeing duck foie gras is not hard to do, but be careful; otherwise, you’ll end up with a puddle of very expensive melted fat.

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 lb piece raw Grade A duck foie gras at room temperature, cleaned and deveined

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 2 tsp canola oil

• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

. Special Equipment

• a 10-inch heavy skillet

PREPARATION

. After deveining, cut the foie gras crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, then season with salt and pepper.

. Heat 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

. Sauté half the foie gras until golden, 45 to 60 seconds on each side (it will be pink inside). Quickly transfer to a paper towel to drain and discard fat in skillet.

. Sauté the rest of the foie gras the same way, then discard all all but 1 tablespoon of remaining fat in skillet. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Serve foie gras with sauce.

. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/v

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

We are adding a range of 100% silk scarves to the items available in the studio. Taking some of my favourite paintings onto silk. ‘Wearable Art’.

A bit of a learning curve. Habotai, Silk Twill, CDC, Satin Silk, 8, 12 or 14mm weight. Square or rectangular. Social responsibility standards, under ISO9001 and ISO14001. Image size and borders. Hope to get the first samples in a month or so.

That I’m also reading ‘Mulberry Bush’, about the ‘silk-worm’ farmers in the Knysna Forest serendipitous.

Didn’t think I would ever be chasing around the place looking for salad greens! A bunch of pretty looking organic type things that were pretty good tasting. For green stuff anyway. Or maybe, it was the Slovenian pumpkin oil CC brought back for us to try? Nutty flavors that worked well with the courget soup.

Phantom ride with the sunset and a jog with the last of the moonlight. Summer already on its way as the mornings are full of bird song and it’s getting light earlier.

On the easel, ‘Girl Power’, the young girl hurtling around Nieu-Bethesda, is taking shape. My head at odds with where the painting seems to be going. A life of its own.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Didn’t do a great job of the baby chickens on the Weber. Not crisp enough and probably needed another half an hour. Annoying, as they were delicious. Fresh spring rolls as a starter, with salad, sweet potato gratin and a bunch of cheese to help with that last glass of wine.

In the forest, tracks weaving between the trees, testing the limits of my balance and coordination. No blood, which is itself remarkable. Only one steep bit in the wrong gear that had me walking after overbalancing in the sand. A tad undignified.

‘Horsing Around’, oil on canvas 76cmx102cm. My reference photos, taken outside ‘Dustcovers’, the fabulous bookshop in Nieu-Bethesda. I pushed the painting hard to bring out the youthful, movement, so full of vigour, of the horse and rider. Using dashes of paint whenever I felt the painting was heading too far down the reality slope. The two figures in the background, to give perspective, also smudged into obedience.

Keeping an 18 month old Border Collie quiet is no easy task. Prince managed to damage his eye playing and needed eye drops to clear the infection. An hourly and two hourly regime that had us all exhausted.

Soft jazz, sunshine, wine and friends. Fabulous anywhere. Next to the water, with the Heads as a backdrop. Spectacular.

Core muscles feeling bruised and battered. Cycling in the forest, or the tension of watching the TDF??

Visited the rejuvenated ‘Art Cafe’ at the Old Gaol complex and to spend time amongst the paintings of the current exhibition ‘African Wealth’. Fabulous works of Sudan by Susi Rood and fascinating urban African portraits by Thanduxolo Ma-awu.

https://www.knysnaplettherald.com/News/Article/General/knysna-art-society-in-new-location-201807251043

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Angel shadows and sunbeams, the Nieu Bethesda scene in my head for the canvas in the studio. An underpainting of Naples yellow. The softer tones indicative of the calmness of this small town, with the sculptural elements, and sunbeam floor polish, of the ‘Owl House’ in the shadows.

Yachts and whales at sea on a sparkling day after a run to East Head Cafe. Renoir? My ‘funky pants’ their own craziness.

Marinated crottin served with a glass of Balia Pinot Noir, followed by a chorizo chicken dish with Le Bonheur Prima and a hint of Ile de Pain campagna. Coreta’s menu to distract us from the rugby.

Shaken, bruised, rattled. A bit of blood and mud. Contours, with a touch of single-track through the Forest, to emphasize how unprepared I would be if I was racing in the Oyster Festival. Fortunately, the studio keeping me away from being too silly.

TripAdvisor Review

Excellent artist

*****

‘Visitors to Knysna should not miss visiting this studio on Thesen Island. Truly a great artist and a master at it.’