Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Carefully, the composition takes shape on the canvas. First lines. Dabs. Smears. Paint starting to give the painting form. Composition too far left!


Grateful for the support of clients in the studio. Particularly at this time of turmoil. Studio, quiet. In sharp contrast to the chaos unfolding at supermarkets. And we have free wine! The world has gone crazy.


Yet we have our emergency insulin, dog food, Nespresso and wine.


Mountain bike magic. Fabulous ride through Homtini Pass. Mist banks, cuddling the trees in the early morning. River, gurgling with glee as the sun probes it’s mysterious coloured depths.


Chef Hirsch outdid himself with a dinner that had delicious steak tartare, stuffed aubergine rolls with Labneh and chorizo hummus, followed by a baked sea bass main dish.

All this after slashing his thumb and dealing with an errand recipe book that kept flipping between pages, creating Disneyesque mayhem.


Seems like our Viennese Regulator has the virus. No amount of adjusting will keep its pendulum moving. While its chiming will not be missed by some, the absence of its rhythmical beat feels like the heart of the apartment has stopped.

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Poppies and olives’
Oil on board 220cmx92cm

Painted in 2002, a client resale in the studio

Something magical about a road-trip in the early morning, as the sun begins it’s journey. Even without coffee to start the day, as load-shedding impacts our lives.


Driving three hours for a dinner may seem a tad excessive. However, the dining experience at La Sosta in Swellendam is unbelievable and should be at the top of on any foodies list.


We also had a great dog-friendly farm-stay at Heritage Huisies, a five-minute drive from the restaurant.


Uncomplicated. Clean. Honest flavours. The philosophy of the cooking at La Sosta. With seasonal ingredients, paying homage to their Italian heritage.


The 5 course menu has three eating experiences; Sea, Land and Garden, and as you are allowed to choose dishes from any of the menu’s, the choice is fabulous. Particularly for my diabetic restrictions.
The wine list has recommendations for each menu and offers great value.


Hermitage Huisies cottages are unpretentious, comfortable and everything you could want, with thoughtful touches. Like an Honesty Bar, with Olivedale wines in case you didn’t bring your own. Or simply want to try the superb regional wines. A bag of fresh veg from the garden and a spekboom for you to take home and plant, are part of their drive for organic, sustainability. The swimming pool, fabulous on a hot summer day. Not freezing. Refreshing, and close to the cottage to pop into for a midnight dip under the stars.

A tad disappointed that I’m not one of the 48 BP Award finalists. While still thrilled to be in the top 10% semi-finalists, I had high expectations. Hopefully my painting of the Pudgy Unicorn will do better at the Wildlife Artists of the Year.


Alfresco. Terry’s fabulous ‘Picnic in a jar’. Quirky, practical, delicious and loads of fun.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures


Small commissioned painting of a zebra and start made on the portrait of ’The Fisherman’. A painting to replace one of my paintings lost in a house fire.

The zebra still resembling a cart-horse, with none of the ’lightness’ I’m striving to attain. The rich grey, turning everything to a flat mush. Happier with the proportions of the head. Something, at least!

A tad apprehensive about the ride out to Buffels Neck. 70km, and four hours, being at the extreme end of what I can push myself to, while still retaining some control over my blood-sugars. To say nothing of how my shoulder will manage the constant bouncing through the Forest.

The Forest, green and sparkling after the recent rain, with enough overnight to keep the dust down from passing logging trucks. Overcast conditions meant we weren’t fighting the light-dark road surface that makes visibility, already hopeless through sweat-stained glasses, truly frightening when hurtling downhill!

Woolworths, carb-clever, seed-bars at the halfway stop. Not quiet the egg and bacon I had been imagining while out on the ride. Good enough to stop my blood sugars crashing further than the 4,5mmol/L level during the remaining 2 hours of cycling.
Move aside pork-belly. You have been superseded by delicious slow grilled pork shoulder. Simple and a sumptuous.

Two and a half hours at a low heat (140) with the meat, skin side up and rubbed with salt, in a roasting pan with a bottle of white wine (I added a bunch of fresh herbs from the herb pot). It needs to be checked after an hour and a half and add stock/water as needed. Heat the grill to 240 and put the roast, skin side up, under the grill until it’s crisp and golden. (about 35min). Sieve the remaining liquid and serve with the roast.

https://www.recipetineats.com/pork-shoulder-roast-with-crispy-crackling/

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Thrilled that my portrait of ‘Soli’ has been selected for the second round of judging at ‘BP Portrait 2020’. It’s the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world, held for the 41st year at the National Portrait Gallery.

Getting it framed,and delivered to London by months end a logistical nightmare. Particularly with the Brexit mess. Still, a nice one to have!
Ladies in the Waves’, from Terry‘s photo, taking shape on the easel, between hectic waves of holidaymakers. Grateful for all the support.
Puncture cutting our cycle through the Forest short. Fortuitous that amongst us we managed to negotiate poor short vision. Sweat. Shaking hands. Tyre repair bits. Managed to get back safely, with that touch of extra bougainvillea blood drama.
Cooking with IRON! Cast Iron. Not the refined Le-Cruset, or beautifully finished      Stuab, but the, ‘muscle car’ of cooking. My Xmas present. Ultra-heavy casserole pot for the Kamado Jan. Seasoned with olive oil over searing heat, before being entrusted with a meal. Duck Confit. Bacon strips lining the bottom of the pot, and a touch of extra Chenin moisture. Deliciousness. Cleaning up after duck. Not trivial. Not something to be left till the morning!
HbA1c, my blood glucose over the last 3 months, confirming the results of my blood sugar monitor, at 5,6%. The combination of careful diet and exercise keeping them controlled to the point that I can try cutting my insulin dose in half. Hopefully, this will also reduce the periods in the day when I go ’hypo’, which should make having me around a bit easier.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Chubby Unicorn’

Oil on canvas 80cmx80cm

Submission for the David Shepard Wildlife Artist of the Year finished. A dramatic gold background that contrasts with the turquoise in the painting. Will be interesting to see how the jury reacts.
Year end. Holiday season. Delish food. Great company. Laughter. Rest demanded of my abused body. A tad too much wine, probably not helping.
On the easel. Riotous friendship. A sea-scape of ‘Ladies in the waves’ on the beach at Sedgfield. Trying hard not to go down the path of the successful painting of the ‘Wild Oyster Collectors’, or the more abstract Pringle Bay sea-scape. Rather letting the painting dictate its own path.
The ’creative theater’ of the studio, part of the holiday business, with holiday browsers, returning collectors and fellow artists.
“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, paint, & fingers. 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.”

Robyn Heenan

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Chubby Unicorn’s’ (Thank you Kirsten), the commission and Wild Life Artists of the Year submission, on the easels in the studio. The fiery, Indian Yellow background to the paintings generating a host of comments. Particularly as it relates to the – ongoing – destruction of rhino’s, and their extinction, which the paintings signify.  

Delicious chevre and Proscuitto. For out 36th Wedding Anniversary, Terry made her ’Terrine de Campagne’, which, with a salmon main made for a scrumptious dinner. Phillepe Mallet, Cuvee prestige brut champagne and Crozes-Hermitage, balanced with Black Rock and a delicious Cederberg Blanc de Blancs MCC.
Happy, family holidays with sticky fingers across the studio windows. The thunder of powerful engines for the inevitable drag racing between speed humps. Early morning revealers driving Prince crazy. Cyclists and runners everywhere, and – fortunately – sales from the Studio.
My father’s Olympic athletic career was ended by a combination of a broken foot from running on a cinder track, and being declared a ’professional’ for accepting payment for transport to the Olympic trials. Certainly, I have no Olympic career, and sponsorship is the cornerstone of successful athletes, yet – while I have struggled with a trashed Achilles interrupting my running enjoyment – I’m facing my fathers foot weakness. In my case, arthritis. At least it’s not in my hands, so it doesn’t impact my painting!
For now, it’s summer. Endless days, of beach, forest, sea, wine, food and laughter.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

SOLD

’Oyster Pickers,

Acrylic on canvas 200cmx70cm

Bum and legs, stiff after a Buffs beach walk, between rain showers. Of more probably, from all the bending down to find stones for Prince to chase through the surf. Shoulder screaming at the abuse.
Stellakya wine dinner evening, with large quantities of red wine to replace the blood I lost from the scratch on my arm. The lamb main dish was a tad disappointing and the dessert out of the question. However, the Springbok carpaccio was delicious and the snoek spring rolls tasty.
I have started a small rhino painting, based on my painting ’Unicorn’ in preparation for the large commission work. The last tube of Ferrario Turquoise Blue (No 80), from my magic paint ox, is almost finished, adding uniqueness to the works. Certainly giving my shoulder a workout, covering the large areas of the big canvas

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Amazing that it’s been four years since we opened the studio on Thesen Harbour Town.
First light. Fabulous cycle through the Forest and up Homtini pass. Legs struggling to turn the pedals on the steep, rough sections. Shoulder complaining at the abuse. Shaking hands not the best for a finger painter
Etosha. Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna grey mixture to soften the edges of the animals that felt as they were shouting from the canvas with the darker Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber grey. 
Striving for the balance between a line that says so much and detail that kills it.
The perfect end to a summer’s day. Walk and play on the beach with Prince and Ricco before a sunset picnic high up on the Brenton cliffs overlooking the sea. Didn’t expect the mozzies to be out hunting!
I never knew that the best way to store tubes of oil paint in not with the caps up not is it with the tubes on their side. The best way to store artists oil paint is with the caps downward. This way the linseed oil can rise to the top and when you open the tube you get the pigment you need, without the extra liquid. I have some sorting to do!
Thanksgiving dinner at the Worroll’s. Made a diabetic-sensitive chocolate remoulade, with blueberry and thyme juice. 

bûche de Noël


CHOCOLATE YULE LOG

AUTHOR: ANGELA COLEBY


INGREDIENTS

SPONGE

  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/3 cup 38g coconut flour
  • ½ cup 107g erythritol (or sugar substitute)
  • 1/3 cup 28g cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

FILLING

  • ½ cup 60g heavy/whipped cream, (whipped into stiff peaks)
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry chia jamoptional

TOPPING

  • 4 oz 112g butter unsalted, softened
  • ¼ cup erythritol or sugar substitute
  • 6 oz 168g cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup 22g cocoa powder, unsweetened

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F degrees.
  2. Grease and line a long rectangle baking tin with parchment paper. My tin is about 8 inches by 12 inches.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  4. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks and erythritol together.
  5. Add the remaining cake ingredients to the egg yolk mixture and combine well.
  6. Fold in the egg whites to the cake mixture.
  7. Spoon into the baking tin and smooth evenly.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until firm.
  9. Remove from the oven and place a piece of parchment paper over the cake whilst still warm (be careful not to burn yourself!).
  10. Remove the cake from the tin, keeping the parchment paper on the bottom of the tin so that the cake has parchment paper either side of it.
  11. Gently roll the cake from the smaller edge into a swiss roll shape. This will make it easier to unroll and fill later.
  12. Set aside to cool.
  13. Once the cake is cool, gently unroll the cake from the parchment paper and spread with the cranberry chia jam. Add an even layer of the whipped cream.
  14. Gently roll the cake back into the swiss roll shape.
  15. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help keep its shape.
  16. Make the topping by blending the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  17. Add the erythritol and cocoa powder and beat until smooth and blended.
  18. Smoother the topping all over the cake.
  19. Keep in the fridge to firm up the topping.
  20. Eat and enjoy!

RECIPE NOTES

Makes 8 slices

Nutritional Info per slice: 272 Calories, 24g Fat, 8g Protein, 9.6g Total Carbs, 4.3g Fibre, 5.3g Net Carbs

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Beach walk at Sedgefield before a quick stop at the market for blue skies organic salt. Studio busy with holiday tourists and the canvas for the Etosha commission on the easel. An underpainting of two blue-grey mixtures. Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, as well as Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Dashes of Cerulean Blue adding depth.

Fabulous dinner. J9. Chef Coreta. Amuse-bouche of Chev, melon, Parma ham and dill served with Ghost Corner Bowline. Grilled halloumi, roast tomatoes, on a bed of butter lettuce served with ‘Courageous’, dry land barrel fermented Chenin as the starter and a main of Kingklip, pancetta, Parmesan, dill in a Champagne and cream sauce. a selection of wine that included Colmont MCC, Miss Lucy, Radford Dale Chardonnay,  Driehoek, Oak Valley and Newton Johnson Family Vineyard Pinot Noir. Tarte au Chocolate as a dessert served with Doran Vineyard Shiraz. 

Via’s are hosting my art and painting demonstration as part of the Greyton Art Walk. I have a collection of my small paintings, as well as a few of the silk scarf wearable art range for something different.

‘The Walk the Experience’ gives access to various artists studios and homes, providing insight into working methods, techniques and inspiration.
My early run took me out onto the trails through the hills outside the Village. Taxing in the extreme!
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Princesses for a day’, oil on canvas 60cmx90cm in its new home.

The wonder of cortisone that enabled me to run at times that were maddingly quick. Scary. Blood sugars surging into the stratosphere. For now, sticking with the low insulation dosage, with copious amounts of water and exercise to bring them down into something mangeable.

A small study of a Springbok, the scale of the Etosha commission. If not quite the abstract effect I had in my head. Also managed to get the painting of Hana on Onrus beach finished, before head into Jozie to see my Mum.

Jenny did a delicious diabetic-friendly zucchini noodle and halloumi stroganoff, with a spicy cream sauce, cashews for that bit of crunch, and served with a green salad. A light Italian style wine ‘Bella Vino’ perfect on a warm evening.

Modderfontein hills run with the sunrise glinting off the hurtling Gautrain. A carpet of purple Jacaranda blossoms. My shoulder a tad unhappy with the effort of getting me up the hills to say nothing of my wobbly legs.

The ‘Cornerdeli’ in Modderfontein definitely worth a stop. You do have to get past the tempting pastries that showcase their Portuguese heritage to get to the mouthwatering cheese and charcuterie selection.

Learned that the wax bit of the Parmesan cheese should be included in the food dish and the wax falls a small lump that can be removed while the cheese melts into the dish.

‘Springbok’

Oil on canvas