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

Straight lines and dodgy eyesight. Not that I was ever any good at putting up things in straight lines! However, with my ‘diabetic trampoline’ blood sugars these days, I’m not actually sure I’m able to even see when they are skew.

Wall-easels up in the studio with the paintings surviving the first onslaught of wild weather. My shoulders not enjoying the ‘Sistine Chapel’ contortions at the top of the ladder putting up the new track lighting. No blood involved and only one case of having to back-track the connections to find my incorrect wiring.

Terry’s modifications to what I thought would work, resulted in a cleaner look without the old overhead fluorescent panels. A mix of warm and cool white LED globes at 60 and 120 degrees giving energy efficient light that is gentle without compromising effectiveness.

A gazillion different ideas about what to paint for my demonstration slot at the Arts Festival Gala Night. Acrylics for a crowded auditorium with a bunch of other stuff going on, the sensible choice. Didn’t expect to be doing so much of the painting with the palette in the dark! The abstract-impressionist subject of the macro of the pincushion forgiving to errors in selecting the incorrect colour.

‘To The Water’ heading to its new home from our private collection of paintings. An opportunity to display different work in the apartment.

Fabulous cycle down through the forest and up the Gouna Pass road. Fighting to keep upright on the loose stoney surface as the road gradient increased. Grateful that I didn’t need to worry about traffic.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

SOLD

‘Flower Sellers’

Acrylic on canvas 150cmx70cm

King Arthur’s carousel horse from Disney. Music box playing in the early hours. Wind stirred memories.

‘Pushing the oars’, a dance of purple. Sampan boat rowers. Mekong Delta, Vietnam. The initial scratching on the canvas conveying so much that the subsequent painting only seems to detract.

A bowl of ripe tomatoes, ideal for the feta and tomato tart in the Taste magazine. The philo-pastry base not an option, or the flour that the recipe called for. Fortunately, aubergine an alternative, with a cream-cheese and cremefraiche filling.

Wines from the J9 collection, Newton Johnson, Walker Bay Pinot Noir and Radfordale ‘Frankenstein’, 2013, with the crispy Weber grilled duck.

A tad clumsy. Cold fingers. Headache. Slurred speech. Been awhile since my blood sugars have stayed this low.

Riding on the Jeep track above Simola, that heart-stopping moment when passing what could be elephant dung. Sweat stained glasses and a bit of imagination. Dislodged earth from the embankment.

My painting schedule thrown out of kilter to make space for the Garden Routes summer brilliance. Cascade of red. Yellow hibiscus on the patio. Purple agapanthus at Steenbok, and delicate red flame lilies, with their ‘tongues of fire’. Watsonia in dazzling shades of pink on the drive through to Nature’s Valley.

AUBERGINE QUICHE

1 hour 15 mins

TOTAL TIME

1 hour 15 mins

An Aubergine Quiche with roasted cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Recipe type: Dinner or Lunch

Cuisine: Vegetarian

Serves: serves 4

INGREDIENTS

• 1 large aubergine, sliced into 1 cm slices.

• 150g halved cherry or baby plum tomatoes

• 300g feta cheese crumbled into little chunks

• 150g cream cheese

• 60 ml cremefraiche

• A good grating of parmesan

• 5 free range eggs

• Generous drizzling of olive oil

• salt and black pepper, garlic salt

• basil or parsley leaves for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 180

2. Line a quiche or lasagne dish with foil and brush with a little olive oil.

3. Lay the sliced aubergines on the oiled foil, and brush with more oil and seasoning , making sure they get a good coating on both sides.

4. Put in the oven and after 20 mins or so, add the tomatoes, which should also be oiled and seasoned.

5. To make the quiche mixture, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and cremefraiche together, whisk in the eggs one by one and add seasoning and a good grating of parmesan.

6. Whisk together to make a smooth creamy custard and lastly crumble in the feta cheese,

7. After another 20 minutes when the vegetables are softened and browning around the edges, remove from the oven.

8. Make sure the aubergines are covering the bottom to form a vegetable base.

9. Pour the cheesy quiche mixture over the vegetables, allowing some bits of veg to poke through.

10. Sprinkle over the fresh herbs and cook in the oven

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Terry out of action with a broken wrist after being knocked off her feet by over exuberant playing dogs at Steenbok Park. My schedule now around ensuring Prince gets his exercise and we have easy to eat, one handed, meals.

Dorado with a basil-pesto crust on the weber grill. An almond flower diabetic-sensitive substitute for bread-crumbs. The fillets were a tad thin, which I cooked for 3 minutes too long, despite the fire not reaching the recommended temperature. Fortunately they were full of flavour and weren’t too dry.

Moving trucks, full-moon, owls, holiday makers, mozzies, dog patrols. All driving Prince a tad crazy. Making for disrupted nights.

Paint smeared across the canvas. A couple of studies for a larger commissioned piece. The agapanthus on the patio garden coming into flower. The most amazing shades of purple-black petals. A painting that I have had in mind for awhile, waiting for the plants to come into flower. The shadow. A mixture of Titanium white, Magenta, Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna.

“I feel such a creative force in me: I am convinced that there will be a time when, let us say, I will make something good every day , on a regular basis….I am doing my very best to make every effort because I am longing so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things mean painstaking work, disappointment, and perseverance.”

Vincent Van Gogh

Porchetta. Or rather, a suggestion of porchetta-style from a pork belly, basil pesto and basil leaves, rolled and cooked on the Weber. Silver-oak wood pieces on the coals to add that slight smokiness. Served with a hint of blue-cheese and basil leaves. ‘Gorgeous, melting pork belly and blue cheese is a genius combination invented by Iain Graham of Urban Caprice to go with Mumm champagne’. No Mumm, but Kleine Zalze Vintage MCC, probably better!

Porchetta-Style Roast Pork

Like many traditional Italian foods, porchetta is prepared differently from region to region but is generally defined as a dish of boneless roast pork stuffed with filling and then rolled and roasted, usually over wood. In the town of Ariccia in the Lazio region of Italy, porchetta restaurants abound, leading to a close association with the dish, though variations of it are made across the country.

Add, a twist with the melting pork belly and blue cheese combination invented by Iain Graham of Urban Caprice to go with Mumm champagne.

Pork Belly and Pork Loin

• 1 piece pork belly with skin, about 10-by-20 inches

• boneless pork loin

Pork Roast

• 1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more

• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more

• Pesto

• 12 smashed garlic cloves

• 12 fresh sage leaves

• Herbs (recipe below)

• Blue cheese

| Preparation – Pork Belly and Loin |

With the pork belly skin-side down, score meat in a cross-hatch pattern. Turn pork belly over, and using a sharp knife, score skin deep in a cross-hatch pattern. Turn, skin-side down, and set aside.

Place the pork loin skin-side down. On the tapered side of the loin, make a cut about 1-inch deep and then cut straight across to butterfly, continuing to make 1-inch cuts until the loin folds open like a book. Set aside.

| Preparation – Pork Roast | Season skin side of prepared pork belly with salt. Turn belly skin-side down and place flat on a cutting board with the short end facing you. Season with pepper and more salt.

Spread half of the pesto over the belly, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides.

Lay butterflied pork loin in the center of the pork belly and spread remaining pesto over loin. Arrange garlic and sage on top of loin. Season with salt and pepper.

To roll the roast, begin at the end of the pork loin where you finished the initial cut, slowly rolling and packing ingredients in tightly. When finished rolling the roast, use butcher’s twine to tie roast at 1-inch increments so it will cook evenly. Set roast on a platter and refrigerate overnight.

| To Cook | Remove roast from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking.

To estimate the cooking time, measure the roast through its thickest part, and cook for 1minute per millimeter. Hence if it’s 90mm thick, cook for 90 minutes.

An indirect fire (two equal piles of coal on either side of the charcoal grate, with a drip pan in the middle to catch the rendering fat), topped with a couple of pieces of hard wood.

Place roast on the grill, turning every 10 minutes until the skin is browned and crisp.

Reduce the temperature (325ºF) by closing the vents halfway and leave until the loin reaches 140 degrees. (1½ to 2½ hours)

Remove and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Just before serving, top with a sliver of blue cheese and a tiny button of redcurrant jelly.


Herbs

• 2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves

• 1 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves

• ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

• 3 tsp roughly chopped fennel fronds

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Terry’s delectable ‘Salmon en Papillote’, which I did on the Weber grill. Zucchini, thyme, cream-cheese and salmon-trout parceled up to seal in the flavours. I heated the weber for ten minutes with the lid on, and then put the parcels onto the braai-sheet. Cooking time was 10minutes for the 2 cm thick fillets.

Striving for a limited pallet of colours to take on the trip to Vietnam has been derailed. the 8 colours (Ultramarine blue, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Cadmium yellow light, Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson, Pthalo Veridian, Cadmium yellow deep) being increased with Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue which I seem to use a bunch, as well as specific colours given the tropical colours I expect to find in the waters of Vietnam. Cobalt Turquoise, Phtalo Blue Green, Cerulean Blue and Bright Yellow. I will probably take either the bright yellow, or cadmium yellow deep and ditch the Phtalo Veidian. Naples yellow is also an option depending on how the suitcase packs. 

My small cabin bag doesn’t take the pad of linen canvases which I have in addition to the tube of six larger canvas sheets that I hope to paint. My idea still being to paint in acrylic while travelling which I will stretch when I get home and finish with oil paint. Hence, I’m using the larger suitcase with the temptation to add addition stuff, but I know this has to be carried onto trains, ferry’s planes and through streets of varying surfaces.


A study, based on a painting by Joaquín Sorolla, using acrylics and permanent marker on 350gram paper showed that I will need clamps to keep the edges from curling while the painting dries.
Cuisine to be savored, or as a diabetic, to understand the impossible cravings of an addict. Perhaps Le Maquis is one of those places where magic happens, and rather than a door, you pass through a portal. Time suspended. Senses heightened. Fragrance woven in mystery.

Chef Remy was understanding at our late arrival and we were soon in discussion about the flavours of the amuse-bouche, which set the trend for an evening of scrumptious food. The coconut bite with coffee, an attentive detail. 

Prince happily settled with Hachico, Jenny and Clive in the apartment. Chaos of the first hours, muted into constant play mode. Clive’s enthusiastic engagement in the studio, a small elephant painting heading to its new home in New Zealand.

Bags packed and last sorting for the trip.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Boundless energy released in a spray of sea sand and water. The RAV, an instant sandbox. Legs hammered from the sudden increase in walking demanded to keep Prince from bouncing off the walls.

Not quite managing the ’30 paintings in 30 days’ September challenge, however I did get a few small paintings finished, with help of a puppy in the studio.

The ‘hose-clamp’, google fix for the Weber ash collector seems to have solved the problem. Achieved without blood, quite something. Under a full moon, with hardly any wind, we sat out on the patio for our braai, with a smidgen of delicious Crozes Hermitage.

Phantom cycle after early cappuccino walk, the mist coming off the water and the air full of jasmine scent. A stop at the newly opened Café du Bois (formally Throbb) in Grey Street.

There was a simplistic beauty and freshness to the new exhibition at Avo Pomme. Radically different from the vibrancy and energy of my paintings.

The new works are hints of green on small white canvases against the white walls of the gallery. Minimalist naivety? Bernice did a magnificent job of mirroring the simplicity, different shades of green and sculptural forms of the paintings in her canapés. Artistic brilliance.

Full studio for the Tuesday movie evening. Extra chairs squeezed into random spots that will need to be repeated for the next movie being held to support the Knysna Basin Project.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

“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, brush, paint, palette & knife. 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. Wish I could have seen it in person!”
Robyn Heenan
One of Hirsh’s amazing dinners. Baked stuffed red pepper with whole skinned tomato and anchovies. Kingklip and bacon on rosemary skewers, on the braai. Broccoli with Moroccan spices. All cooked with oodles of olive oil. The Mediterranean flavours subtle, yet robust enough to pair well with bubbles and the heavier Bordeaux blend from Delaire Graff.
My bum stiff after the Gouna river Pass walk with Prince, his first outing through the forest. Much colder than I expected.
There seem to be a bunch of new yachts moored in the estuary. The excitement of a new cat being launched. The Southern Cross adding its magic.
On a gorgeous early spring evening, a feast for my Birthday menu. Terry’s stunning pâté de campagne. Saumon Fumee de Norvege. Sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes. Relief that the glass of wine (excellent Black Rock 2014) to celebrate didn’t throwing my blood sugars out.
Elephant paintings from the photos taken in Addo Elephant park. My fingers contorting to the small canvases.
A Seattle cappuccino necessary to dry Prince after his Bollard beach romp. A new playground with the gentle swell less scary than the waves of Brenton.

Rosemary fish skewers

Ingredients
8 sprigs rosemary
600g firm, white fish
½ a loaf of slightly stale bread
6 rashers streaky bacon
lemon juice
garlic-infused olive oil
Method
Remove the leaves, except a few at each tip, from the rosemary sprigs. Cube the fish and the bread. Slice the bacon into 3 pieces each. Thread the fish, bread and bacon onto skewers. Drizzle with lemon juice and garlic-infused olive oil. Braai over hot coals or bake in a preheated 200°C oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Cycle up the Brenton hill, not the steepest of climbs, but it winds up for quite a distance before dropping back down to the sea. All of which needs to be repeated in reverse. Slowly!

It does give you enough time to see the changes taking place across the hills and forests turned to ash in the fires. Tendrils of brilliant green bracken pushing through the black earth. An improbable patch of snowdrops sparkling in the afternoon sunshine. The first hints of Spring.

Frustration sorting my crazy blood sugar levels that have left me a tad hungover and grumpy. Cold hands, with ups of tea to warm them up

Prince unsure of the noise made by the pouring rain, but thrilled to be charging through the low tide mud. A dead fish, perfect for rolling in. The cold wash, not part of his game! Being brushed, another stressful encounter as was his first walk through the town on a busy morning. Traffic noise and impossibly far intersections. Lots to learn.

Sticky Clemengold glazed chicken with butternut wedges, it’s origin etched firmly in oriental soil. Cooked in the Weber, rather than the oven. A visual and taste delight.

‘Elephant Walk’, painted while I was in Botswana sold and in its new home, high on the dunes overlooking the Wilderness sea.

In the studio, with the underpainting dry, a painting Belinda to emerge. The delicate paintings ofTheodore Earl Butler an unexpected inspiration A far cry from the bold primary colour of the sunset I had in my head. Pastel?

A muddy cycle, with the far mountains dusted in snow, on a stunning sunny day

Sticky ClemenGold-glazed roast chicken with pumpkin wedges

• RECIPE BY Hannah Lewry

• SERVES 4

• DIFFICULTY Easy

• DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS Health conscious

• PREP TIME 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes’ brining time

• COOKING TIME 1 1⁄2 hours, plus overnight brining

• WINE / SPIRIT PAIRING Woolworths Hartenberg Chardonnay 2016

Woolworths is committed to sustainability via our good business journey. Seasonal (and other) products might not always be in stock.

INGREDIENTS

• 160 g fine salt

• 55 g brown sugar

• 2 T red wine vinegar

• 1 litre water

• 3 oranges, juiced (keep the skins)

• 1 lemon, juiced (keep the skins)

• 1 whole free-range chicken

• 6 ClemenGolds

• 1 garlic head, halved

• 1⁄2 pumpkin, cut into large wedges

• 2 t fresh sage

• 4 T olive oil

• 100 g butter

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 50 g mixed seeds, roasted

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

To make the brine, mix the salt, sugar, vinegar and water and bring to a simmer. Add the orange and lemon juice and skins and cook until the salt and sugar have dissolved.

Place the chicken in a large container and pour over 2 1⁄2 litres water and the brine. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry using kitchen paper. Stuff with 1 halved ClemenGold and the garlic. Tie the legs together with string.

Arrange on a large baking tray with 3 sliced ClemenGolds, the pumpkin and sage. Drizzle over the juice of 2 ClemenGolds and the olive oil, dot with butter, season and roast for 1 – 1 1⁄2 hours, basting regularly with juices until the chicken is cooked through. Serve warm with the roasted seeds.

Cook’s note: The secret’s in the citrus brine! Brining a whole chicken adds flavour and tenderness to the meat. Add orange and lemon skins, plus an overnight session in the fridge (patience, people!), and you’ll have the juiciest chicken you have ever eaten!

https://taste.co.za/recipes/sticky-clemengold-glazed-roast-chicken-pumpkin-wedges/

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

The combination of an oxygen high at first light dashing through the forest, combined with the smell of freshly cut pine and red wine still pumping through your veins must be close to the ‘Exilir of Life.’ 
On a perfect evening the ‘Open Studio’ brought a bunch of new people to the studio, with lively discussion on technique, subject matter, material and the dichotomy of creating and selling art. We made a great deal of noise far into the night.
The studio has been a tad hectic, with paintings needing to be wrapped, shippers organised, invoices sorted amongst the seemingly endless flow of wine. With a bunch of the small paintings having been sold, I’m painting a new series of elephants from the Knysna Elephant Park, as well as Knysna sea-horses. In addition, I’m getting my head around the portrait of the Guitar Man. Cool colours of Cobalt Teal, Rose Madder Carmine and Cerulean Blue for the background, with the warmer Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna as a dark brown for the eyes.
A bunch of Chinese in the studio looking for artists for an art exhibition that is being planned for China later in the year. With the increase in Chinese tourists and their culture of bargaining everything to death, they have been difficult to deal with. Hence, anything I can learn about such a different market will be useful.
I’ve also been sloppy about keeping an email list updated and active, which was a problem for the Open Day, as there have been a number of people who have purchased my work who did not know about it.
Somehow the evening of Wine Tasting resulted in a fair bit of blood during the short night, getting to bed a touch before midnight with the rain teaming down. Woke a bit before the alarm and decided I didn’t want to brave the mud up Phantom. It was tempting as I have a pair of flat-pedals and ‘five-ten’ shoes to try. I put the pedals on the bicycle and whizzed about a bit. They look impressive and are a big improvement on the ones I had. Haven’t tried the shoes yet. My jog was enjoyable, with only a few squeaks from my Achilles.