Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The chance to do a commission of ‘Ben’, a beautiful retired racehorse, immediately making me think of the equestrian art of Alfred J Munnings. However, in portrait format, a contemporary composition for the painting rather than the landscape format that characterised his paintings.

Croustade de Canard with blueberries on the menu with eggplant and a herb and Parmesan flat bread starter.

Slow roasted the duck on the Kamado Jan for a 7 hours, which was a few hours too long. Fortunately it wasn’t dried to leather and fell apart which was perfect for the pie filling. Didn’t read the recipe correctly either, so had to cook and add the bacon at the end. The cheese-based flatbread made a great topping for the pie. Logistical juggling to get the chargrilled eggplant ready, made easier by crisping the duck pies in the oven.

The annual Art Society ‘Unblocked’ Exhibition opening. 20cmx20cm wooden blocks on which to create anything that used the Pantone colour of 2019 ‘Coral’. I used my silk scarf for my submission, which was displayed by Ricardo on a stand in the center of one of the galleries. As has become the norm, the curating was professional and the exhibition engaging.

When risotto is good, it’s delicious. A pea and mushroom risotto with lamb the highlight of the Baleia wine pairing evening at the Turbine. Served with their Pinot, it might not have been the best course for a diabetic, but at least it was delicious.

Croustade de Canard

INGREDIENTS

• 1 whole duck, deboned

• 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil

• 1 red onion, sliced

• 6 strips rindless back bacon, chopped

• 250g portobellini mushrooms, sliced

• 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh thyme, chopped

• 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock

• 60ml (¼ cup) port (optional)

• 410g blueberries

• salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

First dinner out as a diabetic, gently managed by Clare and Terry. Tablets and insulin injection packed with the mineral water. A tasty starter of salmon with a spot of grapefruit and crème fraîche (designed for pairing with Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc) on segments of cucumber to accommodate my carbohydrate intolerance, with a fillet on the braai and salad. A handful of blueberries my desert allowance.

Wind, blowing off the snow covered mountains, unpleasantly cold for the walks required by a Border Collie ball of energy. Our days defined by his needs. Morning walks at first light, with an afternoon stint in the dog run on Thesen. The RAV, again a mobi-kennel, his safe haven

Without wine to drink, there are suddenly a gazillion tea bags in our lives, which I'm tearing up and using as a soli supplement for the patio garden pot plants. This no wine life is going to take a bit of getting used to.

Lesa and Alan visiting for a few days, forcing me out of the studio, where I have become a tad hermit like. 'Phantom Ride'. the approach to Phantom Pass at first light, named for the exquisite brown and grey moths which appear again and again each year in spring.

Knysna artists exhibition at the Mall for a couple of days. Quality, artistic interpretation, and relative value part of the endless questions by the knowledgeable elderly who spent time engaging with the various artists works.

Sugar levels responding to the care Terry is taking in searching out the hidden sugars in many of the standrad foodstuffs we eat. Tolerant of me bouncing off the walls of restrictions.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The last of summer afternoon jazz at Blend. Bougainvillea flowers sparkling in the sunshine. The cool wind kept away from the cozy seating by the screen of trees and the pizza oven.
Oyster Catchers preening in the morning light. The wet beach sand a mirror for their ‘runway’ strutting. Feet a tad frozen on the cold beach sand.
Hopefully there are not too many gaps in the last of the picture books of my paintings that have been sent to the printers. The correlation with stock lists and prices sorted for the most part. Good to have some of my paintings out that have been hidden in storage for awhile.
The light dazzling. Spectacular reflections. Last of the full moon sliding below the mountains. The owl hooting it’s morning greeting. Fingers chilled. Lungs fighting for oxygen. Hills, ever steeper. Shoulder protesting. My thumb unhappy after being closed in the kitchen drawer. Not my cleverest!
I’m not sure there is a bad time to have pizza, although there are certainly bad pizza’s! The best, are bound with magic. The same magic, with a touch of wine, that ensnares, and binds us around the table. The chill in the air ensured that we didn’t have the last bottle of wine, however the pizza’s at Chatters were of the best. The weather calling for the richer bodied Nabygelegen Scaramanga Red.
Rain bringing some relief to the dry Forest. The fire seeming to evaporate the wine. Fortunately, a fresh supply was delivered to the studio. Just in case the roads flood and there is no access for a few minutes!
Open art exhibition at Metelerkamps, our designer kitchen and home emporium. Painting outside on the pavement something I have not done for ages. A cellist in the garden courtyard, inspiration for life drawing by the artists huddled in the sunshine. 
I painted a small painting, based on the photo taken by Amanda of Aden.

‘Ripples’

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

New Year. The sun coming up above the lagoon for a short cappuccino walk, which I did manage to launch across the table! 

Baked Camembert with slow roasted pork belly and Terry’s fabulous terrine de campagne our New Year lunch.
Good music, a tad too much red wine (?) with the rain bringing relief from scorching summer days. The owl chick, or more correctly an ‘owlet’, which is actually a fledgling as it has left the nest, sitting on the rail of the patio, silhouetted against the wall of the apartment, seemingly oblivious to our presence.
Aviva Maree’s exhibition at the Lofts Boutique Hotel. A small designer spot that has started to host select artists in their atrium. All very chic and certainly not tailor made for me after a day in the studio. Shorts, t-shirt, unshaven. Although I did wear slip-slops, rather than bare feet! But then, they know that I’m that ‘finger painter’ from down the road!
Her work, beautifully executed with masterful tonal control over her colour pallet. Whether influenced by Gregoire Boonzaier (1909 – 2005), or not, to me there is a disconnected romanticism to her work, which has as its focus working, rural women. Nothing in the paintings depicts their harsh lives and the back-breaking toil of manual labour, or the uncertain, subsistence existence of seasonal workers. 
Coiled frustration that made me reflect on the honesty of my paintings.
I used the Mediterraneo colours from Malmeri for they eyes of the portrait ‘Life’s a Bitch’. The turquoise green colours of the estuary in summer. ‘Grittiness’ of the paint adding sparkle to the portrait of a man in the sunset of his life.
Cycling ‘Master Class’ following Craig up Phantom Pass. His efficient use of energy, body still, effortless pedal rhythm, a stark contrast to my ‘wrestling the bicycle’ style up the Pass. His ability to accelerate leaving me frantically searching for gears, breath and energy.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Harbour Town Adventures
A hole in the palm of my hand from falling over the gabion as my cycle trashed legs didn’t quite coordinate with my brain. An out-of-proportion amount of blood.
Thrilled that the painting of ‘Joseph Jazz’ was selected as a Special Merit Award Winner and ‘Sinni’ was a winner of an Honourable Mention at the 2016 LST Open Art Exhibition, Florida USA, for art of ‘outstanding quality’. Chosen from 654 entries from 20 different countries and 40 different states, it’s the 4th consecutive year that one of my paintings has received an Honourable Mention, and the 9th international award.


In the studio, an exhibition of paintings that focus on ‘Painting with light’ for the movie screening of Turner. Paintings, that dance in sunsets over the lagoon.

‘Choices’ 
‘Feeling the B’, a painting of the ‘Perpetual Blues’ band we watch on a Saturday at Dry Dock. As one of the band members wasn’t playing on the day I took the pictures that formed the reference for the painting, I took the opportunity to do a painting that had a strong positive and negative space, with the temporary singer as a silhouette. The fingers of the guitarist, the focal point. Strong charcoal type lines adding movement and strength.
It’s also the painting I worked on as a demonstration piece in the studio during the Knysna Arts Festival week. Turning the painting upside down during the demonstration wasn’t strictly necessary but good fun. Lively discussions about approach, interpretation and technique. 
The patio garden taking shape with a trough of nandina screening the heat-pump. A standard hibiscus that will hopefully allow the birds to nest in its branches, and a bowl for the reflecting pond, water feature.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Don’t spend time and energy fretting about the monsters in your head. Start a new painting and you will have a whole collection of new monsters!’

Blue skies, the waters of the lagoon sparkling under summer sun. Yachts hardly moving in the gentle breeze. This, the view from the studio windows and my painting, ‘Summer Fun’. Influenced by John Henry Twatchman, the painting pushing impressionistic boundaries.

Smoke. Sirens. Helicopters. Wind heavy with the smell of fire. Burning forests contained, the rain welcome to quench embers.

The studio apartment full of cooking smells. Braised lamb shank in red wine with black and green olives. The hint of lemon, perfect.

Polly had me up early on a crisp morning after a day of rain. Dark now that early, the indication that our 15 hours of sunshine a day are shortening towards a distant winter. Managed a jog with lots of creaking bits.

A new collection of paintings on the studio walls for the month of February. Unsurprisingly, Romance the theme. We also focused on smaller canvases that would be easier to carry as most of the people passing through the studio are tourists, and packing is a decision factor.

Golden late afternoon skies the underpainting colour for a large canvas of flowering Erica’s. The focus on the architectural form of the plants, with their clumps of flowers. For now, no blood!

Early dinner and a blues band with the sunset, the perfect end to a week.