Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures


Oil on canvas 76cmx104cm

The latest painting in my ‘Humanising the Homeless’ series of portraits. Peter and his constant companion, ‘come-along’. He is rough sleeping street dog, so I used the crumpled finger ends of the gloves to produce a rough texture for his fur. His eyes, full of his ‘Yoda’ like wisdom. The magical Monaco Madder colour adding depth and richness to the painting.

Amazing that strangers are stopping Peter in the street to ask him if he is the man in the portrait bring painted by the ‘finger-painter’!

Terry’s Terrine de campagne and an impromptu dinner with friends. Scrupdellicious. A memorable evening. Fortunately, that one extra glass of red wine, rye bread with the terrine, followed by bûche de Noël didn’t blow my blood sugar out of the water.

Beach play with Prince and Rico. The pure joy of summer madness.

Slow jog to test my bothersome Achilles. Nothing seemingly problematical, other than legs that were still a tad wobbly after their ride through the forest to the Italian church.

A simplification of Heston’s roast chicken in brine. Slow cooked (4 hours @ 90 degrees), after it had sat overnight in brine. A melted butter topping during the cooking. I struggled to keep the temperature of the Kamado Jan that low and took the chicken off after 3 hours, basting it every 40 minutes or so. Succulent, tasty and definitely morish. The only downside, being that you eat far more than you would normally eat!


Town buzzing with holiday makers. The seasonal traffic chaos eased by traffic officers at the major intersections, with their white gloves doing Michael Jackson type impersonations.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

LICC 2016 winner.jpg

Thrilled with the Honourable Mention received at the 2016 London International Creative Competition for the ‘Homeless of Knysna’ series of portraits I have been painting.

The focus, imparting, that while they are homeless they still have dignity, with their unique stories captured in each composition.
First light found us zooming to Cape Town airport to get a painting to its new owners for their flight to London, before scooting back to the studio.
We stopped at Hermanus to stretch our legs, with a compulsory glass of wine, and have a delicious meal at Origins Restaurant. The ‘Art Walk’, took us past a bunch of the galleries in Hermanus, taking note of what resonated, what was jarring, and what that meant for the studio. As such, the studio has a simpler, cleaner look to the seating area with less clutter.
The Windsor Hotel our stop for the night. One of the older buildings in Hermanus that started life as a sanatorium, it’s unpretentious, with the waves almost visiting the front door. The room in the annex had no view, however we spent very little time there, leaving before daybreak.
What would a road-trip be with chicken pies? Delish in Heidelberg is definitely worth a stop. You can find that magical spot of sun to warm bones in the cool dawn. The service is friendly, attentive and swift, with a touch of humour. The chicken pies are ‘delish’, and the cappuccino great. This while soothing the soul surrounded by vibrant sunflowers and agapanthus flowers. That extra touch of magic! an old man coming down the road on his bicycle. Nattily dressed in black suite, white shirt and red tie, his white fedora the perfect touch. Perfect!
Finished the painting of ‘Life’s a Bitch’. Changing the background to a dark green (Ultramarine blue and Cadmium yellow deep) and a deepening the colour of his hat to a almost red black (Madderdeep and Ultramarine blue). This emphasised the highlights of his face, adding tension to the painting. I used the same dark green for the lines and shadows of his face with a Yellow Ochre and Quinacridone Rose mixture.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Magrets de canard with cassis and pears for our anniversary dinner on the patio.

 Sage leaves fried in duck fat, and a citrus salad with asparagus, a visual and culinary feast. Good Hope Pinot and Mailly Extra Brut champagne superb.
Blues Festival. A tad noisy for my taste. However, Ann Jangle was a revelation. Fabulous company made up for the lousy wine on a stunning summer afternoon.
Took my bothersome Achilles out for a slow jog as the sun was getting up. The pathways and roads already busy with runners, walkers, cyclists and jet-lagged holiday makers. The cappuccino at the end most welcome. 

Sculpting with paint. Minimal, bold strokes. ‘Homeless’, my portrait of a man at Wit-lokkasie. The angular contours of the face reminiscence of a sculpture. His dark skin, and the composition in profile, strengthening the angles. Staring at the world through vacant eyes, he is absorbed in the unfolding tragedy of the forest fires that swept through the houses of Wit-lokkasie. 
I wasn’t happy with the tones of the face, which was dominated by a pink hue. The magic paintbox providing a rescue with the Monaco Madder toning down the pink. The high translucency of the paint adding richness to the portrait.
The sun trying hard to end its long day, bringing out a bank of clouds to help end its 16 hours of holiday sunshine. Even the owls are hooting impatiently!
As we head towards Christmas, the studio is busy with people passing through. Artists intrigued at my style. Holiday makers browsing. Shoppers searching for presents, or to fill a spot on a wall? Impatient partners wanting a moment of quiet to catch-up with their emails, while the bunch of kids are distracted. 
Merry Christmas to all

Magrets de Canard with Cassis & Pears – Marlene van der Westhuizen
From her book “Secrets of a French Cooking Class”, recently launched, Marlene offers these breasts from the ducks that are used for foie gras or confit are called magrets. The ducks have been carefully fattened and are fabulously tasty. If the duck breasts are quite large, you could easily halve the portion per person.

6 duck breasts

salt and white pepper

1 T freshly chopped sage

300 ml Pinot noir

1 T honey

2 cloves

1 star anise

2 bay leaves

6 pears, peeled, cored and sliced in quarters

75 ml crème de cassis

250 g blueberries

50 g butter

a handful of sage
Mix the salt, pepper and chopped sage together. Score the duck breasts’ skin well and rub the salt mixture into the incisions.
Place the breasts skin side down in a large pan and cook over a very, very low heat for about 30 minutes. The duck fat will slowly be released from the breasts and the meat will confit very gently in its own fat.
Turn the breasts only once just before serving. This will ensure that the breasts are really tender and still pink on the inside.
In the meantime bring the wine and honey to the boil in a small cooking pot. Add the cloves, star anise and bay leaves.
Add the pear quarters and boil them in the wine mixture until they are slightly cooked but still firm. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pears from the syrup.
Add the cassis to the wine syrup and bring to a fast boil, reducing the syrup by about half.
Slice the duck breasts into thin strips and arrange them on a warm serving platter. Toss the pears and blueberries gently together in the syrup and spoon the fruit and berry mixture onto the platter with the duck breasts.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and flash-fry the sage leaves. Remove the leaves from the butter with a fork and drain them on a sheet of kitchen paper.
Use the leaves as a garnish and serve immediately.
Serves 6
Marlene van der Westhuizen
Marlene van der Westhuizen, is a well-known chef and author of a number of very successful cookbooks – Abundance, Delectable and Sumptuous are the best-known. She divides her time between Greenpoint in Cape Town and Charroux in France where she runs very popular cooking courses (with a waiting list of several years!).

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Ile de pain open after a year of renovations. A minimalist, open space, with quirky touches that oozes quality, the essence of the artisanal bread and service.

‘What Could Have Been’, portrait of a homeless women. Perhaps a fitting title on the eve of the American election that is reverberating around the planet??.

Her gentleness, and beauty shinning through the hardships of her life. A glimpse of what could have been. In a different world.
The magic blue tape off my leg as my Achilles seems to have settled down into the gentle jogging. Which I’m sure is more difficult at low tide! Phantom Pass still a tough, but enjoyable cycle. Will need to get braver and venture beyond my current circuit.
With David and Heather visiting, an opportunity to visit KKB for their ‘Cook and Look’ evening. A feta phyllo parcel and tasty Thai chicken soup with chunks of coconut and crunchy green beans to start the evening. A starter of gurnard, with a roast beef main course. The wines from The Goose estate unexpected and delicious.
Busy time in the studio with a couple of small paintings heading to their new homes in the U.K. and Finland.

Messing About with Paint

What Could Have Been

Oil on canvas 76cmx102cm

Portrait of a homeless women in Knysna.
Perhaps a fitting title on the eve of the American election that is reverberating around the planet??.
Her gentleness, and beauty shinning through the hardships of her life. A glimpse of what could have been. In a different world.
Based the portrait on Bertha Morisot’s work that she did on brown paper. Naples yellow, and raw sienna, with a touch of burnt umber, as an underpainting to create the paper background, allowing the Naples yellow to dry before applying the raw sienna.
Messing About with Paint

Preacher Man

Oil on Canvas 67cmx102cm

Structured on the Fibonacci spiral to give the portrait its focal point, and to cocoon the portrait. An ethereal protection of the priest, whose soul has been ravaged by war.
His Indian heritage gave direction for the colouring used in the painting, with a subtle yellow undertone, contrasted with black hair, and beard. Red from the fires of burning ships, and the blue-grey of the sea to highlight his life in the navy, dominating the palette.
However, despite the past and being homeless, with all its hardship, he is at peace. Mesmerized by the shifting tides. Sunsets and sunrises and his prayers for a gentler world.
Messing About with Paint


Portrait of Anton.
The engineer in me wanting to control the lines and proportions of the face to follow the rules. However, his face had its own planes, and quirks that were, his character.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ type colours of treasure.
I used Permanent Madder Deep, with Ultramarine blue for the dark colour. To break the high translucency of the madder and blue, I used Burnt Umber as a contrast. Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ocher for the skin tones, with a hint of rose madder. For the grey, green eyes, I used Cobalt Blue, Indian Red and Chromium Oxide Green. this was used in layers, with Cerulean Blue and Indian Yellow. The rich colours of the hat were Indian Yellow and Alizarin Red.