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

Lagoon full of sails, kite surfers cross the wake of ski boats. The waters a smidgen warmer as the wind settles into its summer pattern. Eerily still in the morning, before throwing an after lunch tantrum. The easel outside the studio anchored against the unpredictable tempests.

Holidays. Dirty fingers across windows. Dog land mines. The studio busy with artists, tourists and other interested types.

Terry delivered the painting at the airport, to its new owners for their trip home to the Netherlands. Safe arrival, without mishap.
A fair bit of blood as my bike handling skills and coordination didn’t quite meet the trail requirements. My stomach muscles suffering over the bumpy road up Phantom Pass. 

A couple of small paintings of sunbirds finished, as well as small elephant paintings. Finally completed the painting ‘Amongst the flowers’ from a photo of Hirsh, that captured the wonder of the flowers in Namaqualand.

I did a grey and green underpainting, which seemed to take ages to dry. Rapid strokes for the dashes of paint for the flowers.
Fabulous meal at KKB, with the trio of desserts the standout dish. The gurnard starter was excellent and there was nothing wrong with the lamb main course. Delicious, and interesting appetisers, with a bobotie filled vetkoek and Caprese polenta. The wine pairings from Creation did little to enhance the meal. While excellent, the smidgeon in the bottom of each glass didn’t allow for any sort of enjoyment or reflection. Glad we took a strategic stock with us so the evening wasn’t wrecked.
The patio garden, moving from concept to reality, as summer life on the patio takes shape. A visit to the stunning Prêt-à-Pot, at Old Nicks in Plet filled the RAV with the first pots. Fortunately, from the sale and discarded section. 
They are stunning glazed pots that balance the simplicity of the studio apartment, with the Japanese style garden I’m striving for, using the coral trees as a key feature. The pots are filled with a third crushed plastic bottles, to reduce the weight of the soil, while ensuring drainage.

Messing About with Paint

Hydrangea’s and Day Lilies

Oil on Canvas 50cmx60cm

A painting from the summer garden at Le Petit. Clever planting created the contrasting colours.

The larger canvas, after a month of painting small paintings giving me more freedom. Although I did find that I needed to get back away from the canvas to see how the various tonal aspects were working together.

30 Paintings in 30 Days

Day 22 thirty paintings in thirty days

La Petite
Oil on Canvas 20cmx20cm

The gardens at La Petite Dauphine in Franschhoek, are immaculately kept and are a riot of colour. Artwork is scattered throughout the garden, with French urns at focal points.

The painting is very different from the turquoise and red Frieda Khalo sort of painting I had in my head. Rather it’s a gentle painting, that reflects the restful ambiance they have created.

Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

Moles driving me scatty, doing their best to destroy the cottage garden. Would think it would be easy to find the tunnels of something that makes mounds the size of small hills.

Misty walk in the vineyards. Eerily quiet after the wind of the past few days, an express train hurtling through the trees. My mind churning over ideas for paintings, responses to job requests that I’m not interested in and strategies for applications for those which I am.

At the bottom of the cottage garden, the deck under the pine trees is our haven from the afternoon heat of summer.

The table and chairs blending into the late afternoon light. Secluded, intimate privacy.

Polly content to dig her nest in the garden to create a bed of cool soil, where she can still monitor the comings and goings at the cottage.

I was requested to recommended a days Gallery Walk in Cape Town, which made me realize how long it is since I spent any time in the city. I know the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek gallery’s reasonably well. However, what is going on in Cape Town is a bit of a mystery.

After a sweltering week, the wind chimes are going crazy in the front of the cottage. The barometer bringing us cooler weather, and possibly event a spot of rain. The vineyards were shrouded in mist with a fierce wind cleaning out the remaining spots of red wine. The result of sitting out on a seductive evening, watching the lights across the valley.

For now, the third week of the ‘thirty paintings in thirty days’ has started. I have started to use a slightly larger canvas (20cmx20cm) to give me a bit more freedom, and reduce the contortions of my fingers on the small 15cm square canvas.

I wound the various clocks, a comforting rhythm to life in the cottage. A life that will change as the cottage has been sold and we will start our relocation to the studio in Knysna.

Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

Grey skies over the vineyards, clearing as we drove over the mountains to see Dad and Mary. Their new Prado very impressive, ready for the safari to Kariba.

Watching the mini-bus taxi stopping at a random spot, before rejoining the traffic in wild abandon, reminded me of Eddie’s observation of the taxi services in Juba Town. Which could be considered as perfect Customer Satisfaction. They stop where the client wants them to. Either to be picked up or dropped off. Waste the minimum amount of time in transit. Have a schedule that perfectly meets customer demands. When they are needed, without having to wait for some arbitrary time bound schedule. My perspective changed forever.

We have spent a fair amount of time at the Zevenwacht Restaurant, in the Manor House on the wine estate, both for its close proximity to the cottage and also for the atmosphere. Complimented by excellent service, an easily navigated menu and their great wines. After the rains, the lake in front of the restaurant is full, and with the oak trees sprouting their new summer growth, the terrace is an excellent late afternoon, or early evening stop. This has on multiple occasions turned into dinner as the lights come on across the valley.

The art in the restaurant is a tad disappointing and doesn’t enhance the beautiful building. Fit with the country style menu or give character to the wonderful wines. The culture of the estate workers, the history of the tin mine, or the unique flora on the farm aren’t represented in any form.

While the majority of the clientele are tour groups, the kitchen still manages to serve food that has authentic spices in the curry that fills the air with the mystery of the Far East. The fresh line fish is from the sustainable Green List, and the servings generous.

The service, is of the best. A place we will miss when we finally move to the studio.

Mountains of presence and strength. Fields of Van Gogh yellow. Cypress trees of Tuscany. ‘Soul Food’, oil on canvas 100cmx50cm. Painting of the view out to the Stellenbosch mountains from Clos Malverne. A large amount of paint made its way onto my shirt, as I moved the canvas around the easel to work more easily on parts. The challenge to maintain simplicity, capture the serenity of spring, and let the scene speak with minimal input, while still engaging the viewer.

Last of the bits from the storage locker sorted. Thrown out, sent for refurbishment or given to new homes.

Scallops Hondash (A bonito fish soup stock, with cream sauce), served in the shell with a sprinkling of caviar the unexpected find at Genki’s.

Awake early after a bunch of strange dreams. Polly restless with the full moon out, and monsters lurking behind every tree. Very brave she is, but I don’t think those who are sleeping appreciate her barking as she puts the world to rights!

‘Black Butterfly’ a movie, about the life of the South African poet, Ingrid Jonker. Beautifully made. Disturbingly sad. I wasn’t aware of her poetry before and may need to be brave enough to read it.

New glasses, sight transformed.