Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

We are adding a range of 100% silk scarves to the items available in the studio. Taking some of my favourite paintings onto silk. ‘Wearable Art’.

A bit of a learning curve. Habotai, Silk Twill, CDC, Satin Silk, 8, 12 or 14mm weight. Square or rectangular. Social responsibility standards, under ISO9001 and ISO14001. Image size and borders. Hope to get the first samples in a month or so.

That I’m also reading ‘Mulberry Bush’, about the ‘silk-worm’ farmers in the Knysna Forest serendipitous.

Didn’t think I would ever be chasing around the place looking for salad greens! A bunch of pretty looking organic type things that were pretty good tasting. For green stuff anyway. Or maybe, it was the Slovenian pumpkin oil CC brought back for us to try? Nutty flavors that worked well with the courget soup.

Phantom ride with the sunset and a jog with the last of the moonlight. Summer already on its way as the mornings are full of bird song and it’s getting light earlier.

On the easel, ‘Girl Power’, the young girl hurtling around Nieu-Bethesda, is taking shape. My head at odds with where the painting seems to be going. A life of its own.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Didn’t do a great job of the baby chickens on the Weber. Not crisp enough and probably needed another half an hour. Annoying, as they were delicious. Fresh spring rolls as a starter, with salad, sweet potato gratin and a bunch of cheese to help with that last glass of wine.

In the forest, tracks weaving between the trees, testing the limits of my balance and coordination. No blood, which is itself remarkable. Only one steep bit in the wrong gear that had me walking after overbalancing in the sand. A tad undignified.

‘Horsing Around’, oil on canvas 76cmx102cm. My reference photos, taken outside ‘Dustcovers’, the fabulous bookshop in Nieu-Bethesda. I pushed the painting hard to bring out the youthful, movement, so full of vigour, of the horse and rider. Using dashes of paint whenever I felt the painting was heading too far down the reality slope. The two figures in the background, to give perspective, also smudged into obedience.

Keeping an 18 month old Border Collie quiet is no easy task. Prince managed to damage his eye playing and needed eye drops to clear the infection. An hourly and two hourly regime that had us all exhausted.

Soft jazz, sunshine, wine and friends. Fabulous anywhere. Next to the water, with the Heads as a backdrop. Spectacular.

Core muscles feeling bruised and battered. Cycling in the forest, or the tension of watching the TDF??

Visited the rejuvenated ‘Art Cafe’ at the Old Gaol complex and to spend time amongst the paintings of the current exhibition ‘African Wealth’. Fabulous works of Sudan by Susi Rood and fascinating urban African portraits by Thanduxolo Ma-awu.

https://www.knysnaplettherald.com/News/Article/General/knysna-art-society-in-new-location-201807251043

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

‘A spot of blue’, Acrylic on linen 40cmx50cm.

A dusting of frost on the wild blue flowers outside the church in Nieu Bethesda. The underpainting inspired by the multicoloured glass of the ‘Owl House’. The linen providing an interesting Owl House ‘glass-bead’ type texture to the painting.

Surprisingly little blood after my tumble on our run through the Forest along the contours. A mass of pink. Erica’s in full bloom. The cycle up Gouna Pass to the small San Ambroso Chapel built in 1891. It sits quietly in the heart of the Forest, beautifully restored and very Italian. The story of the 32 pioneering Italian families that were brought to the forest to start up a silk farming industry, but then suffered unexpected hardships, is told in Dalene Matthee’s ‘Mulberry Forest’ (Moerbeibos).

Beans about coffee, Oudtshoorn.

There are moments when a place, a moment, a pause, define. Replacing the expected with the magical.

Directions given. Unexpected grandeur of the old bank building. Fabulous service. An unusual ‘bobotie quiche’ that didn’t send my sugar levels into orbit. Great coffee, and that special touch of allowing Prince to sit under our table on a cold morning.

Montagu. Baboon patrol. Prince keeping the baboons away from the children playing on the trampoline in the garden. ‘A prince meets his princess’, the comment from Lily in her ballet skirt.

Cosmos flowers coming into Heidelberg. A patch of brilliance. The only place I have seen them here on the Garden Route. Special. My painting, ‘A Touch of Pink’ Oil on canvas 50cmx40cm For the underpainting, 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.

The apartment full of the smell of rich goodness. Wine, butter, herbs, lemon, garlic and fresh, crusty bread. A French inspired dinner menu with pâté de campagne starter (from Aly in Grenoble), Marita van der Vyver’s Boeuf bourguignon, and a diabetic version of Madeline’s served with a lemon cream sauce.

The Madeline’s a tad ‘heavier’ than expected. However, at least edible after the initial gooey mess!

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

My balance isn’t the best. My coordination nonexistent, and I tend to get lost a great deal of the time, yet cycling through the Forest, some thought it a good idea to let me find a path through the mud. The Forest, after the rain, breathtaking.

With the fire keeping the apartment cosy, the weather seemed to dictate a comforting salmon-pasta sort of meal. Pasta, of course, not an option. However, some genius has developed cauli-noodles that are simply fabulous. In a cream and wine sauce, the calorie count was probably off the charts. Scrumptious.

Low tide on a perfect morning for a beach run along Brenton. Prince less sure about why his normal beach play, turned into a 10km run, with minimal stone-chasing play time. The subject of a small painting, while I prepared the new larger canvases for my painting of the Karoo skies.

Diabetic, mohair socks, something special as temperatures head into the winter levels of uncomfortable.

Small elephant painting sold. Always special to have a painting head to its new home.

Creamy pasta (cauli-noodles) with salmon

INGREDIENTS

• 3 packets of cauli-noodles (pasta)

• Half an onion finely chopped

• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter

• 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine

• 2 tubs (500ml) cream

• 1/2 cup (125 ml) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

• 1/2 cup (125 ml) mixed chopped fresh herbs (chives, basil, oregano)

• 2 cups (500 ml) salmon with chili flakes

PREPARATION

1. In the butter, cook the onions, stirring constantly, until transparent. Add the white wine and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Add the cream and bring to boil.

2. Stir in the cheese, and herbs and add tons of ground pepper, add the salmon and reduce for 5 minutes until it thickens.

3. Switch off the heat, and add the cauli-noodles, to the pot and toss to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Thermal burn. Not paying attention while putting wood onto the first fire of the winter season and getting my arm in the way of the hot closed combustion stove door. For a diabetic, doubly silly.

Run across the railway bridge over the Brenton hill to the sea. The trail section demanding concentration so as not to trash ankles.

Food illustrations for the Vietnamese food recipe book. Cozy evening with good food and wine. Steenberg Stately, a pairing challenge with Pho Ga, made with cauli-noodles. The Chardonnay still a better match, particularly as the Pho doesn’t have any sugar in it, which the Chardonnay balances.

Another stunning Chef Hirsh evening. His menu (all five courses) worked out to cater for my diabetic restrictions. Salmon and avocado ceviche with micro-greens and a scrumptious 2015 Bellingham Old Vine Chenin. Second course, roasted peppers soup with an unusual 2017 Rustenberg Rousanne. A third course of grilled lamb ribs, served with Newton Johnson Full Stop 2015, followed by grilled pork fillet, wrapped in bacon with a green salad and sweet-potato fries. Raats Cab Franc. Bloc A9, Cabernet from Aarendsig with a delicious cheese platter rounded out a glorious evening. Blood sugars, perfect.

Run with the sunrise. Smoke from the fires burning in the Forest creating a Turner sky. Spectacular.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘He ain’t Heavy’

Oil on canvas 2,0mx1,5m

Crazy dreams. The bunch of antibiotics to sort an abscess from a broken tooth?

‘He ain’t Heavy’, the large (2,0mx1,5m) abstract-impressionist painting of elephants at Addo Elephant Park. Although the large strokes of pure colour, applied in bursts of energy give the painting an abstract-expressionist slant, creating a large, vibrant work.

The ‘wall-easels’ flexible enough to accommodate the large painting while it dries, freeing the studio for creation of new work.

Cool, dark mornings, making that coffee far more attractive than heading out for a jog or ride. Mud fun in the forest. Increased dew, slippery underfoot. Core muscles given a work-over on the Homtini Pass cycle. Shoulders and arms trying to compensate for struggling legs.

Prince a tad ‘stone crazy’ as his latest fixation is chasing stones in the sea or waters of the estuary. While fabulous exercise for him, getting him to agree that play-time is over is a different matter.

Leaking water pipe between the water-meter and the studio a bother. A waste of water and money with the solution somewhere between lifting all the paving to search for the pipe route and not washing! The added complexity of monstrous Coral Tree roots.

Diary of an Adventure

Karoo Adventures

Nieu Bethesda

Half of this world is blue. Half, is dust!

Prince, sporting that ever so trendy ‘ash’ hair colour. Dust. Brilliance, of purple wild iris, amongst the grey dust.

In many ways, Nieu Bethesda has the same feel as Frida Kahlo’s Mexico. The odd brilliantly painted house amongst the cacti. That, slightly weird, alternative, lifestyle where the art, in this case, is infused by the ‘owl house’. Or perhaps, windmills and sunbeams?

Beautifully restored period houses line the dusty streets. Art gallery full of light with piano music carried on the wind. Dust Cover bookshop, a haven of intrigue. Vibrating with stories. Beautiful roses, thriving amongst the yellow autumn colours.

The Owl House, as strange as expected, without being creepy. Shadows cast by the various statues a constantly moving story. I wasn’t expecting the gracefulness, or the delicacy, of the concrete works. Craftsmanship thrashed out of an industrial medium.

I kept looking to see what aspect of her created world was reflected in the mirrors that are everywhere in the house. The crested moon mirror, reflecting the sun created on the glass above the door. Sunbeam floor polish, an iconic reminder of polishing Ouma’s stoep, the inspiration for her glass sun works that cover ceilings and windows.

Poignantly, profoundly, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Quatrain XCIX

Ah Love! could you and I with Fate conspire To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits …. and then Re-mound it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!

Dogs. Donkeys. Horses. Dogs. Concrete sheep. Dogs. Reptile statues. Dogs. Cats. Dogs. There are a lot of dogs in this sleepy town.

‘Karoo Lamb’, our lunch and dinner stop to collect the keys for our cottage. Service, informative and friendly. Food tasty, if a tad pricy. Unexpectedly, an exiting wine list. Dogs, Prince anyway, welcome.

The brilliant moon trashing the night sky stars. One of the highlights of this part of the world. Nothing that a great Riersvlei Shiraz from Prince Albert couldn’t sort.

There was the Karoo donkey cart, perfectly lit by the breathtakingly clear air. Galloping horse, shrouded by dust, with bareback devils. Characteristic, Karoo scenes. Brought alive by the kids hurtling around on mountain bikes, music blaring from mobile phones. The life-blood gurgle of the ‘leiwater’ channels, punctuated by the bells of the spectacularly white church.

The evening cold deserves a fire. However, without a fireplace, a Border Collie snuggle is a good a good alternative.

Portrait of Nigel, our craftsman and Botanical Tour Guide, outside the Owl House waiting for a canvas.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Spectacular sunset on a still evening. The early mornings shrouded in mist. Silence. Nespresso. Magical.

The ‘theater that is art’, the largest canvas I have painted on at 2mx1,5m, set on two easels. Surface preparation with a diluted matt glaze medium. Burnt Seinna, Cadmium Yellow medium and Primary Magenta. A grey from Cobalt Blue with Burnt Sienna the underpainting for the two elephants.Not sure about the composition which I think is too low on the canvas.

Feel like one of those collapsing ‘push puppets’, with none of my parts working together, but rather collapsing in an uncontrolled heap. The result of a charging cycle up Phantom Pass that turned my legs to mush and a day of painting the large canvas in the studio that turned my shoulders and arms to jelly.

Beach isolated, the brilliant sunlight at the studio hidden by a bank of mist. Prince, brave enough to face the noise of the menacing waves, throwing themselves at the beach.

Last of the summer flowers along the roads through the farms of Rheenendal. Blue plumbago and purple sage between pink and white Erica’s.

No blood. Paintings safely packaged in their crate heading to their new home. Special.

He Ain’t Heavy

Oil on canvas 2,0mx1,5m

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

SOLD

‘The Yard’

Oil on canvas 100cmx80cm

Rolling the pork belly, with pesto and a butterflied pork fillet to prepare the Porchetta is a messy business. I managed to make an ever bigger mess of the Weber fire, which meant only half of it was ready. Not nearly hot enough to cook the thick roll of pork. It did do a bit of the skin crisping before the oven came to the rescue. A bunch of wine while we waited the extra hour for it to cook.

Forgot the anti-chafing cream. That extra, last, glass of wine, probably didn’t help. Neither did the, failed, rescue attempt of the storm trapped bird in the midnight hours.

Puddles after the rain. Sock dye. Black nails. Heart rate marginally elevated. 12km easy fun alongside the estuary with the rising sun

Discussing composition, tone and the use of technology to untangle the frustration when a painting isn’t working. Art teacher looking for inspiration and assistance for his art class heading into a new semester.

Spectacular sunrise. Skirting the magical forest at Bibby’s Hoek. Tearing down sharp descents, powering up the steep inclines. Or at least until my legs faded. Body bounced into jelly.

‘Blue House’, an acrylic and marker pen illustration on paper of one of the houses in old town Hoi-An, Vietnam. The blue startling amongst the yellow which dominates the town.

Rain. Diabetic sensitive bobotie from Coreta’s kitchen. Three Graces, oozing grape berries. Prince squirming himself into the contours of the sofa.

‘Monochromatic’ exhibition at the old jail complex gallery. A couple of amazing works amongst the conservative. My painting ‘Boudoir Study 2’, fabulously positioned.

Porchetta

Like many traditional Italian foods, porchetta is prepared differently from region to region but is generally defined as a dish of boneless roast pork stuffed with filling and then rolled and roasted, usually over wood. In the town of Ariccia in the Lazio region of Italy, porchetta restaurants abound, leading to a close association with the dish, though variations of it are made across the country.

Add, a twist with the melting pork belly and blue cheese combination invented by Iain Graham of Urban Caprice to go with Mumm champagne.

Pork Belly and Pork Loin

• 1 piece pork belly with skin, about 10-by-20 inches

• boneless pork loin

Pork Roast

• 1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more

• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more

• Pesto

• 12 smashed garlic cloves

• 12 fresh sage leaves

• Herbs (recipe below)

• Blue cheese

| Preparation – Pork Belly and Loin |

With the pork belly skin-side down, score meat in a cross-hatch pattern. Turn pork belly over, and using a sharp knife, score skin deep in a cross-hatch pattern. Turn, skin-side down, and set aside.

Place the pork loin skin-side down. On the tapered side of the loin, make a cut about 1-inch deep and then cut straight across to butterfly, continuing to make 1-inch cuts until the loin folds open like a book. Set aside.

| Preparation – Pork Roast | Season skin side of prepared pork belly with salt. Turn belly skin-side down and place flat on a cutting board with the short end facing you. Season with pepper and more salt.

Spread half of the pesto over the belly, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides.

Lay butterflied pork loin in the center of the pork belly and spread remaining pesto over loin. Arrange garlic and sage on top of loin. Season with salt and pepper.

To roll the roast, begin at the end of the pork loin where you finished the initial cut, slowly rolling and packing ingredients in tightly. When finished rolling the roast, use butcher’s twine to tie roast at 1-inch increments so it will cook evenly. Set roast on a platter and refrigerate overnight.

| To Cook | Remove roast from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking.

To estimate the cooking time, measure the roast through its thickest part, and cook for 1minute per millimeter. Hence if it’s 90mm thick, cook for 90 minutes.

An indirect fire (two equal piles of coal on either side of the charcoal grate, with a drip pan in the middle to catch the rendering fat), topped with a couple of pieces of hard wood.

Place roast on the grill, turning every 10 minutes until the skin is browned and crisp.

Reduce the temperature (325ºF) by closing the vents halfway and leave until the loin reaches 140 degrees. (1½ to 2½ hours)

Remove and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Just before serving, top with a sliver of blue cheese and a tiny button of redcurrant jelly.


Herbs

• 2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves

• 1 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves

• ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

• 3 tsp roughly chopped fennel fronds