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

Harbour Town Adventures

Straight lines and dodgy eyesight. Not that I was ever any good at putting up things in straight lines! However, with my ‘diabetic trampoline’ blood sugars these days, I’m not actually sure I’m able to even see when they are skew.

Wall-easels up in the studio with the paintings surviving the first onslaught of wild weather. My shoulders not enjoying the ‘Sistine Chapel’ contortions at the top of the ladder putting up the new track lighting. No blood involved and only one case of having to back-track the connections to find my incorrect wiring.

Terry’s modifications to what I thought would work, resulted in a cleaner look without the old overhead fluorescent panels. A mix of warm and cool white LED globes at 60 and 120 degrees giving energy efficient light that is gentle without compromising effectiveness.

A gazillion different ideas about what to paint for my demonstration slot at the Arts Festival Gala Night. Acrylics for a crowded auditorium with a bunch of other stuff going on, the sensible choice. Didn’t expect to be doing so much of the painting with the palette in the dark! The abstract-impressionist subject of the macro of the pincushion forgiving to errors in selecting the incorrect colour.

‘To The Water’ heading to its new home from our private collection of paintings. An opportunity to display different work in the apartment.

Fabulous cycle down through the forest and up the Gouna Pass road. Fighting to keep upright on the loose stoney surface as the road gradient increased. Grateful that I didn’t need to worry about traffic.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A bit of fun with the underpainting of the portrait using both hands to cover the area as quickly as possible. Without creating a mess, the real challenge.

 

French country pate and red wine for lunch, after spending the morning messing about with paint.

Cosmos flowers, one of those subjects not to touch. Partly as there are a gazillion paintings depicting cosmos, and partly as they are an autumn flower that don’t occur on the Garden Route. However, stopping at Delish in Heidelberg, there was a bank of pink cosmos flowers, full of happiness that screamed to be put onto canvas.
An abstract approach with an underpainting based on Monet’s ‘The path through the Irises’ (My canvas of 50cmx60cm nothing like Monet’s monumental 1,8mx2m work) of different layers of Naples yellow, raw Sienna, gold oxide, and hints of crimson and cadmium yellow. For the wispy leaves of the cosmos plants, an intense green mixed from French lemon yellow and cobalt blue was applied in short dashes. Turquoise and cerulean blue the darker stems.
Managed to cut my thumb on a sharp knife, which isn’t anything spectacular or surprising. A nuisance!
Tanzania Exhibition.jpg
In the studio, my paintings from Tanzania are up for the first time as a collection. The paintings are full of mystery and vibrancy that somehow transcend the emotional strain I was under while there.
NSRI Station 12.jpgCrew training evening at National Sea Rescue, Station 12, to hand over the painting I did for their 50th commemorations. The painting itself is dark and brooding with big skies and seas swamping the small red rescue craft. Fortunately the seas were only marginally lumpy and warm for the training exercise, as we were soaked by the wash of the boats as they did a high speed crew transfer.
Inspiration, a collection of the photos and the fabulous article     http://www.backroadtours.co.za/product/not-so-secret-kenton/
  from our Kenton Adventure, for my next portrait painting of the guitarist outside the Wharf Street Brew Pub in Port Alfred.
Impressionism

Emil Nolde – German-Danish (1867-1956)

Moonlit Night 1914

A German-Danish Expressionist painter and printmaker, he was a member of the influential Expressionist group, Die Brücke (The Bridge).  

Best known for brightly colored portraits and peasant scenes (with a Primitivist slant) and for his interest in flowers, this work is a bit different.  

In fact to me, this painting lives up to the name Die Brücke, for it bridges the Impressionist sensibility with the Expressionist lens. This night scene manages to blend Impressionism’s fidelity to the scene with the type of brushwork and coloring favored by Expressionism, and it is the marriage of these elements that gives the piece its power.

In 1942, Nolde wrote

“There is silver blue, sky blue and thunder blue. Every color holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me, and which acts as a stimulus. To a person who has no art in him, colors are colors, tones tones…and that is all. All their consequences for the human spirit, which range between heaven to hell, just go unnoticed.”

Emil Hansen was born in the village of Nolde near the Danish border in August 1867. At the age of seventeen he became the apprentice of a wood carver near Flensburg, while at the same time practicing his skills as a draughtsman. Between 1888 and 1891 he worked as a wood carver and draughtsman in furniture manufactories in Munich, Berlin and Karlsruhe. In the evenings he took classes at the arts and crafts school. Between 1892 and 1897 he taught technical draughtsmanship at the Industry- and Trade Museum in St. Gallen. He travelled to Milan, Vienna and Munich and through his many hiking tours developed a fascination with mountain scenery. Nolde designed postcards with caricatures of personified mountains which became such a commercial success that he cut short his apprenticeship and moved to Munich in 1898 to work as a painter. Although he was not allowed into the Academy he did study privately and went to Paris for one term to enroll at the Akadémie Julian. In 1901 he settled in Copenhagen. Here he met Ada Vilstrup whom he married in 1902. On the occasion of his marriage he changed his name to that of his birthplace, Nolde. He moved to the island of Alsen in 1903, but spent the winter months in Berlin where he rented a studio.

Through an exhibition in Dresden in 1906 the artists of the “Brücke” became aware of his work and invited him to join their association. For two years Nolde took part in the group’s touring exhibition projects and in 1907 he spent several weeks in Dresden. But at the end of the year he left the group – the differences in age and temperament were too substantial for the loner Nolde. In Berlin he painted the nightlife of the metropole and studied the art of indigenous peoples in the Völkerkundemuseum. In 1913/14, fulfilling one of his dreams, he and his wife accompanied a medical expedition to the South Pacific via Russia and China. A great number of watercolours was the product of this journey. In 1927 the Noldes moved to Seebüll where Nolde desinged and buildt a house and studio for himself. From 1931 on he worked on his autobiography.

For Nolde the Third Reich brought defamation. His paintings were confiscated from the museums and his work was a special focus of the exhibition “Entartete Kunst” (“Degenerate Art”). From 1941 on he was prohibited from painting at all. Secretly he paint small scale watercolours which he called “unpainted pictures”. After the war, between his eightyth and eightyfith birthday he gained various honorations and awards. 

Nolde died at Seebüll in 1956 and was buried next to Ada in the garden of the Seebüll estate.
http://www.bruecke-museum.de/englnolde.htm 

Impressionism

Martiros Saryan – Armenia (1880-1972)

At the well
Artist: Martiros Saryan

Completion Date: 1908

Style: Expressionism
Genre: symbolic painting
Technique: tempera
Material: canvas
Dimensions: 51 x 63 cm
Gallery: Saryan Museum, Yerevan, Armenia

Recalling his own background, Saryan said, “My ancestors had come to the banks of the river Don from the Crimea, and to the Crimea from Ani, the capital of medieval Armenia. I was born into a family which followed the old patriarchal customs. There were nine children and I was the seventh.” I do not know when the artist was born in me. It was probably in those days when I used to listen to my parents’ stories about our mountainous, enchanted country, when I used to run as a small boy over the land around our home, and was filled with joy at the many colors of the butterflies, insects and flowers. Color, light and day-dreaming – those are what fired me”. 

He was heavily influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse.

Saryan received a lot of attention after displaying forty-five paintings at the Lotus exhibition, featuring Armenian and Russian painters. Saryan used the exhibition to show both old and new work that reflected his travels and Armenian culture. Saryan also created G. Chalkhushyan’s Red Book, in response to the Armenian Genocide.

Unfortunately during the 1930s, many of Saryan’s paintings were destroyed during times of political unrest. After World War II the Academy of artists of the USSR was established, which claimed Saryan’s work could not be considered national, because of its formalism. In essence, Saryan’s work was compared to an Armenian version of the French bourgeois.

After Saryan’s death in 1972, his home in Yerevan was converted into a museum of his work. Saryan’s work is now in museums and private collections internationally.

Impressionism

Eliseo d’Angelo Visconti (1866-1944)

An Italian-born Brazilian painter, cartoonist and teacher. He is considered one of the very few impressionist painters of Brazil, and the initiator of the Art Nouveau in Brazil. As the most significant representative of the movement, he received the title of Master of Impressionism. 

Nonconformist from his youth, he devoted himself intensively to the learning of new aesthetic canons and ended by subjugating to them. It was his rebellious spirit, the intense desire for renewal that led to the search of the new technique, which absorbed him completely.

He entered the Liceu de Artes de Ofícios do Rio de Janeiro in 1884, where studied under Victor Meireles. Parallel to his studies in the Liceu, he entered the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes (Brazilian Imperial Academy) studying under professors Henrique Bernardelli, Rodolfo Amoedo and Jose Maria de Medeiros, receiving a gold medal in 1888.

Like many of his contemporaries, including some of his teachers, he was involved in the plight to renew the Academy’s teaching methods, deemed obsolete and was among the creators of the short-lived “Ateliê Livre”, together with professors João Zeferino of Costa, Rodolfo Amoedo, Henrique Bernardelli and Rodolpho Bernardelli.

Thanks to a prize received in 1892, Visconti travelled to Paris, where he attended the École des Beaux Arts. 1897 was really the year Visconti embraced Impressionist painting. His palette lightens. The brushstrokes are shorter and rhythmical. The research of the effects of light appears as a new aspect.

After his return to Brazil, talking about his experience in France, of light and impressionistic colour, Visconti said; ‘more brightness, more transparency, more atmosphere, the result of his research on the equation of Impressionism.’

In July 1944, Visconti suffered a robbery in his studio rendering him unconscious. For two months he remained in agony with a head wound. On his recovery, he was full of ideas and plans, restless and eager for new experiences. Repeating to his family: “I was born again! Now will I start painting, you’ll see! ”

The resurrection, however, was short-lived. After a relapse, the artist passed away on 15 October 1944, at 78 years old

Impressionism

Stanislas Lépine (1835-1892) the Pre-Impressionist French Painter

Canal Saint-Denis, Paris

ca. 1876-1882

The art of Stanislas Lépine joins the pre-Impressionists with the Impressionists. Lépine established his reputation with views of Paris and paintings depicting life on the banks of the Seine imbued with an atmosphere unique to his oeuvre. Although he gained little recognition during his lifetime, Lépine was highly regarded by his fellow artists and, in 1874, was invited to exhibit in the first Impressionist Exhibition.

Lépine was born in 1835 in Caen, Normandy, to a family of cabinet makers. A pupil of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, he exhibited at the Salon in 1859 and during the early part of his career Lépine benefited greatly from the patronage of the collector Hazard and his friend Comte Doria.

Being from Normandy, water would always play a pivotal role in Lépine’s artwork.  In addition, he admired the Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891), and was especially influenced by his marine pictures, which brilliantly captured the effects of air and atmosphere, as well as by his moonlight views.

The critic Georges Lecomte said of him: ‘Il était unique, le direct élève du divin Corot’ ‹‹to ruin the academic landscape by learning how to render the effects of light and atmosphere››. The influence of Johann Barthold Jongkind was also very strong, this can be seen particularly in his choice of subject matter and use of light. Lépine was a consistent artist and his style hardly changed after 1869; as a result his works are difficult to date.

Stanislas Lépine died at the age of 57, almost totally paralysed; he was so poor that his friend had to make a collection to pay for his funeral. After his death Lépine’s work began to gain some of the critical acclaim that he so richly deserved and a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at Durand-Ruel in December 1892.

http://www.richardgreen.com/Lepine-Stanislas-Victor-Edouard-DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=45&tabindex=44&artistid=755

Diary of an Adventure

Leisure Island Adventures

George to collect Kirsten who is here for the week. Hesta and William arrived for a weekend of fun. Pink face from watching the arrival of the Karoo-Coast MTB race. Hot enough to make a beer seem like a good idea. The taste less so.

We stopped at Timber Lake, a collection of quirky shops and restaurants, tucked into the edge of the forest, a bit outside Wilderness. Strong, wake up, cappuccino, with a brief browse through the wine shop. Alvin’s Drift, a winery from Worcester that we had never heard about. The bubbles scrumptious and well worth getting a sample of their other wines to try. The Oyster Shack didn’t have any wild-oysters as the seas have been too rough.
A special moment to say farewell to Holly at the Heads.
Something to be said about heading out for a jog after a great evening at J9, with excellent Cab Franc wines. On entering the marked km section of the route (the bit where I’m trying to run faster), it’s with a ‘not today’ attitude. Only to find that the more relaxed ‘wine’ run was faster than my normal effort run.
Following a bunch of queries, I uploaded my paintings from Botswana and Tanzania to my website. The pictures of the Afghanistan paintings not great, and I will need to sort them after they have been unpacked.
Finishing going on at the apartment. The last of the glass windows is in and the final coat of paint being applied. The floor making, slow, steady progress. The holiday weekend causing chaos with the schedule. Visited the cupboards at Design-Wise. The three dressing room units almost completed.
I’m trying to get a bit better at recording of my painting process. Both as a record for clients who want to know more about what was used in the painting and for personal interest in my development. Not knowing what I’m doing, does allow for all sorts of innovation!

Impressionism

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923)

The white boat, Javea – Joaquín Sorolla

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923), a post-impressionist artist from Spain, who had two passions in his life – his family and his art.

He began to study painting at the age of fifteen in his native Valencia, Spain. At the age of eighteen, he went to Madrid, where he copied Old Master paintings in the Museo del Prado. Four years later, Sorolla won a grant to study painting in Rome; there he developed a distinct ability for depicting the effects of light. 

When Sorolla returned to Madrid, his paintings were in great demand. Most of his pictures were painted in from four to six mornings, many in one or two.

He painted very, very fast. “I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly,” he once said. “Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.” In the studio Sorolla would sometimes use a palette the size of a grand piano lid and 3 foot long brushes to allow him to stand back from his painting.

In terms of colour, from about 1900 onwards for outdoor work (as opposed to studio portraits) Sorolla’s palette consisted of cobalt violet, rose madder, all the cadmium reds, cadmium orange, all the cadmium yellows, yellow ochre, chrome green, viridian, Prussian blue, cobalt blue, French ultramarine and lead white. 

For studio portraits, he changed his palette entirely to one that included black, burnt umber, raw umber, rose madder, burnt sienna, raw sienna, yellow ochre, Naples yellow, vermilion and cobalt blue. Occasionally Sorolla would add orange, pink or purple, but he usually emphasized strong tonal contrasts over ambitious color effects. [source 1=”Charles” 2=”Sovek” 3=”Light” 4=”&” 5=”Colour” 6=”Sorolla” 7=”Style” 8=”-” 9=”see” 10=”links” language=”:”][/source]

Sorolla’s widow left a large collection of his paintings to the people of Spain. The collection is now a museum, the Museo Sorolla, in the artist’s house in Madrid.

Diary of an Adventure

Cottage Garden

20131103-143808.jpg
Cottage Garden
Oil on Canvas 60cmx30cm

The spring garden at the cottage in Stellenbosch, a mass of colour. Vibrant peach pincushion Protea. Grey leaved gazania’s, with their pink-purple flowers. Purple buds on the wild sage. Mauve lavender heads and the grey green leaves of artichoke.