Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Afternoon run in the sunshine along the red brick road next to the estuary. Passed a bunch of picnics, with holiday makers out reading in between watching the waters of the estuary. Sun perfectly positioned. Wind, holding its breath. Immaculate.

On the easel, a horse powers from the canvas. A strong vertical composition, full of youthful exuberance. Kids at play in Nieu-Bethesda.

I can’t paint horses without a reference to Sir Alfred J Munnings. His paintings filled with free brushstrokes and great blobs of paint. Less technique, than his inability to judge distance between canvas and brush as a result of an eye injury that left him blind in one eye. “What are pictures for?” he asked. “To fill a man’s soul with admiration and sheer joy, not to bewilder and daze him.”

‘God’s little creatures’, the Figtree Blue butterfly in the garden at Ouland Royale, our lunch stop with Mum and Jenny on a glorious day. They were happy to accommodate my diabetic eating quirks, modifying their tzatziki lamb dish and adding extra avo at no additional charge! (The dressing was a tad sweetish for my taste) Chef Wilja orchestrates her dishes at the long table in the kitchen, conjuring magical dishes that have quirky twists.

My throat a scratchy mess. Not impressed. Extra grumpy.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Streets full of athletes as the Oyster festival gets underway. Days of sunshine between the storms ensuring challenging conditions without mayhem. Magnificent beach run for the Featherbed trail run. My bum a tad unhappy after the hills.

World peace must contain a distillation of good friends, laughter, the aroma of 3-day ox-tail dinner in the apartment, with a healthy jolt of good jazz and a smidgen of fabulous 3-Graces and Radford-Dale, simmered over the fire and tempered by the rain. Terry’s magic.

‘Angel Shadows and Sunbeams’. Oil on canvas 1,5mx1,0m. Nieu-Bethesda. Shadows from the ‘Owl House’ sculpture garden and the sun motive from the windows in the house woven into a typical street scene of a typical small Karoo town.

An underpainting of Naples Yellow. Peach tones, a mixture of Indian yellow and Quinacridone Rose. Permanent Magenta and Ultramarine Blue, the purple shades with the grey, a mix of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Lemon Yellow and Cobalt Blue for the green. Cadmium Yellow medium and Turquoise with a splashes of Raw Sienna and Cerulean Blue.

Hopefully, collectors who receive my paintings from the couriers are as thrilled as I was to get the book I ordered, wrapped in brown paper. ‘84 Charring Cross Road’ special.

Reading the list of Van Gogh’s colour demands from his brother, Theo, a tad intimidating as I wind down my paint supplies. Some of which I have had far too long and I become increasingly concerned that they will become hard and useless. Fabulous Provençal colours that haven’t been used. Scandalous!

‘My dear Theo,

Am obliged to write to you as I’m sending you an order for colours which, if you place it with Tasset & Lhote, rue Fontaine,1 you’ll do well — since they know me — to tell them that I expect a discount at least equivalent to the cost of carriage’


Urgent

10 Silver white large tubes

6 Veronese Green double tubes

3 Lemon chrome yellow

3 No2 chrome yellow double tubes

1 No3 chrome yellow

1 Vermilion double tube

3 Geranium lake, small tube

6 Ordinary lake

3 Prussian Blue

4 Emerald green

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.’

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Karoo Skies’, oil on canvas 1,0mx1,5m. Kuilfontein farm. Mesmerising. Startling light. Autumn trees. Brilliant yellows. Huge blue skies. Windmills. Clouds, freeing imagination. Carried with the wind. Dreams.

Dark and chilly for my run. The owl also thought it was a daft idea to be out rather than sitting next to the fire with an espresso.

A year ago, our world went mad. The strong wind carrying a hint of smoke an unpleasant reminder of the chaos caused by the fires.

The first draft of the Vietnam recipe book printed. The colour photos of my paintings and illustrations not the best and there are a gazillion glitches that need sorting. Still, something to work from.

Sweet potato gratin, with a rack of lamb on the Weber grill, served with green beans and asparagus the menu for Terry’s welcome home dinner. Cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg filling the kitchen with the scent of decadent goodness.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Makes 8 servings

◦ 2 cups heavy cream

◦ 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

◦ 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

◦ 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

◦ 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick on a mandoline

◦ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F

2. Whisk together the cream, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until smooth.

3. In a 10-inch square baking dish, arrange an even layer of sweet potatoes. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the cream mixture and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and cream, seasoning with salt and pepper, to form 8 to 10 layers. Press down on the layers to totally submerge the sweet potatoes in the cream mixture.

4. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking until the cream has been absorbed, the potatoes are cooked through, and the top is browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minut

Diary of an Adventure

Artists Adventures

The Zeitz MOCAA

See for yourself. All things being equal …

I was expecting the sensational architecture, but not the genius of contrasting raw concrete and polished edges. While the ‘rawness’ of Africa is palatable throughout the museum exhibits, the quality, craftsmanship and creativity of the artists, sensational.

Nothing restful. Death. Mayhem. Despair. Greed. Exploitation. In abundance. Strength, there is. Wisdom? Not sure. Colour, everywhere!

Perhaps, I have spent too long in the Africa where a child soldier holds an automatic weapon in your face, or men are pulled from a vehicle and beaten with rifles, boots and clubs because he is the ‘wrong’ ethnic tribe.

Yet. A woman sits in quiet contemplation in one of the most arresting galleries. Evocative, black and white, photographic portraits by Zanele Muholi – The South African artist and activist.

Loved, the sculpture garden. That spot of magenta inside a rusted pipe. Gazillion reflections in the iconic multifaceted windows. El Loki’s ‘Now and Then’. Nine discs forming the roof of the silos, and floor of the sculpt garden. Covered with his ‘cosmic alphabet’. Amazing.

Lucky enough to stumble across a young performing poet (To the lost??) standing amongst Kendell Greer’s Hanging Piece (consisting of an entire room filled with clay bricks hanging from bright-red ropes, tied noose-style, from the ceiling). Quite brilliant.

Too much for one visit.

See for yourself. All things being equal …

Fleurs de La Motte

Paula van Coller-Louw

Deceptive simplicity that I so admire in Japanese art. Something that in my paintings, I strive to achieve and fail at, miserably.

Compositions crafted by the delicacy of the wild flowers that are the subject of each work. The use of tonal shadow creating sculptural elements from the flowers that resonates with the central sculpture in the gallery.

Captivating.

Clos Malverne

A starter of smoked salmon terrine and orange glazed prawns followed by prawn bisque cream, line fish, salt and pepper calamari, salmon caviar and baby marrow spaghetti.

Dishes that were exquisitely crafted and delicious, with amazing service.

Still, a favorite

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Last lighttrack up in the studio. Only a bit of blood involved. Waiting for the new table top for the trestle and the studio will be ready for the Knysna Literary Festival ‘Delicious Word Journey’. Thrilled that the studio will host Sam Cowen for the evening.

Tree trimmed to form a ‘green cloud’ outside the patio. A few stray bits need to be taken down and we can almost start looking at crafting the tree shape.

Quick trip down to Kommetjie. Prince not impressed with the wind noise, or that of passing aircraft. The waves on the beach an added terror. His walks sporadic affairs between bouts of panic. He was much happier to play in Alan’s garden.

We did manage a walk across the park to the Green Room for cappuccino. The Green Room is simply idyllic. A place you want to roll up, put in your pocket and take out every time you want a coffee in a tucked away, laid back, surfers paradise. They have their own craft beer that I was silly enough not to taste, or at least bring away with me. The service is that blend of focused personalized attention and casual forgetfulness. Perfect.

At the other end of the spectrum, lunch at the Steenberg Bistro. Fortunately I wasn’t driving so I could stare at the impressive Norval Foundation Art Gallery nearing completion at the entrance to Steenberg. Fantasmagorical and something to dream about for my paintings.

The Bistro offered crafted dishes of near perfection. Stunningly visual, with the complex flavours we have become used to in Vietnamese food. Delicious. The estate wines on the wine list were hideously expensive, which I don’t understand. Why they should be priced any differently to the tasting room which is part of the same building is both annoying and mystifying.

Battery in my iPhone needed replacing, which was efficiently done at WeFix. Did meant that I managed to loose the data in my diabetic management App. Fortunately the blood glucose tester memory stored the key data, without any notes. Hopefully enough for my visit to the doctor to establish whether I can come off my medication and manage the diabetes through my life

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

‘Paddle Steamer’

Oil on canvas 60cmx90cm

Harbour Town Adventure

Water. Complex. Demanding. Knuckles smearing paint. Paddle steamer at sunset across the Estuary from the studio.

The paintings at the new Avo Pomme exhibition perfectly capturing the emerging growth from the ashes of the fires. Delicate life, exquisite in its simplicity. Bernice’s canapés, once again, transcending the paintings.

That fragment of a view between sweat drops on my glasses, hurtling through the forest in carefree abandon. A yellow flower against blue skies and the view out to the Heads across the black earth.

Clare made ‘Pizza’ for diabetics, with brinjal slices, which looked and tasted amazing. Fillet with a sauce that oozed the fragrances of the mysterious East. Mint, lime, chilly, ginger and garlic. A taste of the weeks ahead in Vietnam? Sutherland Pinot Noir that taste of summer.

Studio busy on the holiday week, my grumpiness sort of manageable. The painting for the antique wooden boat poster heading to its new home.

https://taste.co.za/recipes/asian-style-fillet-roast-on-rice-noodles/

https://taste.co.za/recipes/brinjal-pizza/

Brinjal pizza

RECIPE BY Rosalin Mconie

SERVES 8

DIFFICULTY Easy

PREP TIME 30 minutes

COOKING TIME 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the brinjal base

• 2 brinjals

• 1 T salt

• 3 T olive oil

For the sauce

• 2 cloves garlic

• 1 T olive oil

• 1 can chopped tomato

• 1 T fresh parsley, chopped

• 1 t dried oregano

• 1/2 t salt

For the topping

• 30 g fresh basil

• 300 g mozzarella cheese

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Cut the aubergine lengthways into 2cm thick slices and sprinkle with salt. Lay the aubergine on paper towel to absorb the excess moisture and leave for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C

For the tomato base, heat 1T olive oil and gently sauté 2 cloves of chopped garlic.

Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 1T freshly chopped parsley, 1t oregano and ½ t salt. Simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Dry off the aubergines and make sure to remove any excess salt. Place on a roasting tray and brush with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

The aubergines should be cooked through but not too soft and mushy. All ovens work differently so check your aubergines after 15minutes and then every 5minutes there-after.

Once the aubergines are done, spread a tablespoon of tomato base on each slice, add layers of basil leaves and finish with grated mozzarella.

Place them in rectangular, shallow ovenproof dish then slide it under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and begins to crisp. Serve immediately.

Asian-style fillet roast on rice noodles

RECIPE BY Abigail Donnelly

SERVES 4

DIFFICULTY Easy

DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS Dairy free Fat conscious

PREP TIME

• 1 T sunflower oil

• 500 g beef fillet

• 190 ml soya sauce

• 2 garlic cloves, crushed

• 1 x 5 cm piece of ginger, grated

• 1 t fish sauce

• 2 T brown sugar

• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 1 spring onion, sliced

• fresh peas, for serving

• 1 small cucumber, sliced

For the garnish

• a couple of sprigs of fresh coriander

• a couple of sprigs of mint

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Cover 250 g rice noodles with boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes.

Mix 1 finely chopped seeded red chilli, the juice of 1 lime and 3 T rice vinegar.

Drain the noodles and pour over the dressing.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat 1 T sunflower oil over a high heat.

Seal 500 g beef fillet, remove and allow to rest.

To the same pan, add ¾ cup soya sauce, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 x 5 cm ginger, grated, 1 finely chopped red chilli, 1 t fish sauce, 2 T brown sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the sugar dissolves.

Return the fillet to the pan and coat with the sauce. Finish in the oven. R

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Mobi-kennel packed as though we were leaving town forever. The road down to Cape Town a ribbon between yellow and green canola and wheat fields that stretched between the sea and the mountains. A couple of stops to let Prince stretch and to see how, and if it’s possible, to get anything to eat as a diabetic at service stations.

Cafe Roux, for a Sessions evening of Cat Stevens. The ossabuco (beef rather than veal), definitely moreish, although the addition of peppers to the ‘sofrito’ (the slow-cooked holy trinity of onions, celery and carrot) wasn’t too my taste, and there were oodles of tomatoes that turned into a sweet dish. As there was no saffron risotto served with the meal, it probably should have been labeled as a ‘beef stew’. Journeys End Pioneer Chardonnay a great wine choice.

All sorts of squeaky bits from walking on the beach. Contortions negotiating the soft sand and rocks. Wet kelp posing a formidable challenge to remaining upright over the slippery surface.

A tad apprehensive (The diabetic thing again) about lunch at The Vine Bistro at Glenelly Estate, with a set menu that depends on what ingredients inspire Chef Christophe. He didn’t disappoint and while I had to ignore the delicious sounding dessert, the cheese board was no less decadent.

Montagu. Prince turning Mary’s garden upside down. The sprinklers of particular fascination. Sky full of stars. Smell of the mountains. Wind chimes.

Farewell dinner for Eugene, with a definite French slant. Foil-gras served on courgette bellini’s. Grilled duck breast with roasted vine tomatoes and green beans. Sage leaves fried in duck fat for that added touch of scrumptiousness. Tribaut Champagne and a smooth 2010 ‘Gentle Giant’ Bordeaux blend from Haut Espoir.

As expected, the bicycle groaned on its tortuous climb up Phantom Pass. I blame the wind for my wheezing and wobbly legs.

Felicity Cloake’s perfect osso buco.

(Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
25g flour, to dust
4 pieces of veal shin, about 4cm thick
50g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 head of garlic, cut horizontally
2 strips of lemon zest
4 sage leaves
200ml white wine
200ml good chicken stock
For the gremolata
1 unwaxed lemon, zest finely grated
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of sea salt

Set a casserole dish wide enough to hold the meat in one layer over a high heat, and add the oil. Put the flour on to a small plate and season generously, then use to coat the meat. When the oil is hot, add the meat to the pan and brown well on both sides until golden and crusted. Set aside on a plate.

Turn the heat down and add three quarters of the butter to the pan. When melted, add the onion, carrot and celery, plus a sprinkle of salt, and cook until soft. Add the garlic halves, lemon zest and sage to the pan and cook for a few minutes more.

Turn up the heat then add the wine to the pan. Return the meat, standing it on top of the vegetables, and bubble until the wine has reduced by half. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.

Turn the heat right down, cover and simmer for one and a half to two hours, carefully turning the meat over every 30 minutes, until it is tender enough to cut with a spoon. Meanwhile, mix together the gremolata ingredients.

Dot with the remaining butter and allow to melt into the sauce, then serve with the gremolata and risotto alla milanese or wet polenta.

“I like to encourage people to eat this with their fingers – so much easier than fiddling about with a knife and fork!”. Napkins advisable.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Paintings in their new home in Provence

Prince had a wonderful time at J9 charging about looking for buried treasures that Diva had left about the place. Especially those hidden in dark spots under the deck and walkways. Spring high adding a water dimension to the hunt.

Coreta made Tartiflette au reblochon, with cauliflower rather than potatoes. The cheese mature enough that it walked. With steak cooked perfectly on the braai, pure hedonism. Craig opened a bottle of 2009 Radford Dale Gravity that was sensational.

Early morning busy with cars ferrying cyclists off to the start of the Seven Passes ride. It meant that my quiet cappuccino was actually chaotic. Fortunately the good humoured excitement was tolerant of a puppy that was under everyone’s feet.

Looking at blogs on traveling with diabetes, I came across one titled ‘Blood sugar trampoline’, which seems an apt expression. My morning blood sugars are within the acceptable range, however, I’m still getting those sugar-low headaches and grumpiness. Blood sugar trampoline?

Painted rocks for the ‘Knysna Rocks’ fun Facebook campaign, based on a Tazzie campaign to inject happiness into days which seems filled with bad news. I picked up my rocks from the beach at East Head after our walk and painted across six rocks, where when assembled it makes one painting, but each one is also an individual painting. Coral trees and Bougainville creating brilliant colored carpets of fallen blossoms, my inspiration merged in a zen-like simplicity.

Between the mountains and the sea, a ribbon of yellow and green, the spectacular drive to Cape Town.

‘A Touch of Yellow’

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm