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

Artists Adventures

The Zeitz MOCAA

See for yourself. All things being equal …

I was expecting the sensational architecture, but not the genius of contrasting raw concrete and polished edges. While the ‘rawness’ of Africa is palatable throughout the museum exhibits, the quality, craftsmanship and creativity of the artists, sensational.

Nothing restful. Death. Mayhem. Despair. Greed. Exploitation. In abundance. Strength, there is. Wisdom? Not sure. Colour, everywhere!

Perhaps, I have spent too long in the Africa where a child soldier holds an automatic weapon in your face, or men are pulled from a vehicle and beaten with rifles, boots and clubs because he is the ‘wrong’ ethnic tribe.

Yet. A woman sits in quiet contemplation in one of the most arresting galleries. Evocative, black and white, photographic portraits by Zanele Muholi – The South African artist and activist.

Loved, the sculpture garden. That spot of magenta inside a rusted pipe. Gazillion reflections in the iconic multifaceted windows. El Loki’s ‘Now and Then’. Nine discs forming the roof of the silos, and floor of the sculpt garden. Covered with his ‘cosmic alphabet’. Amazing.

Lucky enough to stumble across a young performing poet (To the lost??) standing amongst Kendell Greer’s Hanging Piece (consisting of an entire room filled with clay bricks hanging from bright-red ropes, tied noose-style, from the ceiling). Quite brilliant.

Too much for one visit.

See for yourself. All things being equal …

Fleurs de La Motte

Paula van Coller-Louw

Deceptive simplicity that I so admire in Japanese art. Something that in my paintings, I strive to achieve and fail at, miserably.

Compositions crafted by the delicacy of the wild flowers that are the subject of each work. The use of tonal shadow creating sculptural elements from the flowers that resonates with the central sculpture in the gallery.

Captivating.

Clos Malverne

A starter of smoked salmon terrine and orange glazed prawns followed by prawn bisque cream, line fish, salt and pepper calamari, salmon caviar and baby marrow spaghetti.

Dishes that were exquisitely crafted and delicious, with amazing service.

Still, a favorite

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

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

Flame Lilie

Oil on canvas 76cmx102cm

An abstract approach to the painting of summer flowers in Steenbok Park. Responding to the abstract painting that Kirsten is doing that buzz with vitality.
The flowering coral tree reminiscent of Klimt’s painting with his ‘waterfall’ of blooms down the canvas, I struggled with dull, flat red colours on the canvas. The yellow of the hibiscus gave way to the orange-red curves of the flame-lily flowers. I softened the painting with the gentle colours of the agapanthus flowers.
Enough.
One of those perfect mornings for a run, winding up through the forest with a light rain falling. Even the hills felt manegable.
Vietnamese food preparation. Oodles of time needed for all the fiddle bits. Terry modified the pork stuffed squid to account for my diabetic restrictions. Eliminating the sugar and first reducing the pineapple and tomato sauce to a tasty gooiness that also looked amazing.
The Pho was delicious, and much easier to eat at a table with decent sized chairs on a cool day, rather than the humidity of Saigon. Tasty fried Spring Rolls (using the air-fryer rather than oil) with crab, pork and prawns. A dry version of the ‘dipping sauce’ with crushed seeds and peanuts. The first of the recipes for the Diabetic Sensitive cookbook.
Knysna Art Society. Loved the clean, simplicity of the revitalized Old Goal space. Wondering how I can replicate the feeling with the modifications planned in the studio to create a larger area, and still manage all my stuff. Far too much stuff!
Somewhere I missed recording the sweet potato gratin recipe.
Sweet Potato Gratin

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 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

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk together the cream, cheese 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 minutes before serving.

 

 

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Boug blossoms.jpgSundowner open evening at the studio, as the holiday season gets underway. Terry organized a large bowl of olives and hunk of cheese, their own focal point in the studio and excellent with our sponsored Steenberg Chardonnay. During the evening, I did a small painting of bougainvillea flowers that will be auctioned for charity.
Pestle and mortar for grinding pepper corns for the Vietnamese Steak au Poivre. The steak sauce, scrumptious. Mayonnaise dressing for the salad, a tad too rich for the dish and it didn’t have the clean, crispness of Vietnamese dressings. Will try again using the classic Vietnamese dressing. Carbonara, with spinach and cauliflower noodles and the leftover Vietnamese Steak au Poivre.
7km jog around Thesen on the time-trial route that Craig has set up, with Prince in a cool overcast day. His first run on the lead, managing cars, other dogs, kids, bicycles and my lack of coordination. The water bowls along the route helping him to cool down.

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Blue-black agapanthus flowering on the back patio garden. Indigo blue from Van Dyk the tonal colour with Ultramarine blue and permanent Megenta. Light lemon yellow against the pale grey background. Fighting to achieve lightness.

Orthopod happy with how Terry’s wrist is healing. No change to the cast, which will stay on until the 16th January. Christmas dinner could be a test of my dubious cooking skills!

Vietnamese Steak au Poivre

This fish sauce–spiked steak au poivre is chef Chris Shepherd’s nod to the French influences in Vietnamese cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  1 large onion, thinly sliced
  •  2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  •  One 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  •  1 star anise
  •  2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  •  1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  •  2 cups beef stock or low-sodium broth
  •  1/2 cup heavy cream
  •  2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
  •  Kosher salt Pepper
  •  1 1/2 pounds small heads of broccoli, cauliflower
    and/or Romanesco
  •  3 tablespoons canola oil
  •  1 cup mayonnaise
  •  1/4 cup yellow mustard
  •  1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •  1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
  •  1/2 medium red onion,
    thinly sliced (1 cup)
  •  2 tablespoons roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  •  Four 6-ounce center-cut beef tenderloin steaks

How to Make It

Step 1

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add the cinnamon stick and star anise and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes.

Add  the cream and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes longer. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl; discard the solids. Return the sauce to the saucepan and stir in the crushed peppercorns. Season with salt and keep warm.

Step 2

Heat a large cast-iron skillet. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli, cauliflower and Romanesco with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Working in batches, cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over and crisp-
tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool. Cut into bite-size pieces and wipe out the bowl. In the bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the mustard, vinegar and hot sauce until smooth. Fold in the charred vegetables, the red onion and sunflower seeds and season the salad with salt. Wipe out the skillet.

Step 3

In the skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125° for medium-rare, 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a work surface and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the peppercorn sauce and the charred-vegetable salad.

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

SOLD

Wild Garden

Oil on canvas 50cmx90cm

Reflections on the water at first light. Ripples of colour drawing you into their depths. Reminiscent of the blinding light and vibrant colours in the paintings of Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Bold minimalist strokes of energy. My painting of the paddle boat, a metronome of the day past the studio, stilted. Waiting for the reflections to bring it to life?

After the rain, mud to squelch through. Gardens green, flowers preening in the sunshine. Forests vibrating with life. Burnt areas cleared. Openness that breaths.

That jolt of panic, as the tyre grips soft sand, throwing the bicycle towards the drop-off, and feet loosing touch with the pedals as I get my balance wrong over a bump in the road. Faster, further, lungs heaving, legs complaining. More fun, more often.

Weather variable enough that a fire is welcome, the comfort of an extra rug. Laughter, chardonnay days.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

 

Seductive winter, well sort of, days. Knees that purplish tinge in my shorts, with the studio a tad cooler than being in the sun.

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‘Brothers’, painting of the returning boys Odyssey team. A loose approach to the ‘Impressionistic Smearing’, building tension within the painting, keeping the details to a minimum to reinforce that these are boys in their formative years, as well as the collective ‘Band of Brothers’, where there aren’t individuals. Thrilled that its also sold!
Jog around the new 5km loop on Thesen Island that Craig has put on strava. A few tricky turns, with the bridges a tad slippery from the wet mist. The sound of the sea breaking at the Heads quite amazing.
StudioJune17
A new exhibition of paintings, ‘The City and Flowers’, up in the studio. With our Tuesday movie, ‘Georgia O’Keeffe flowers and the city dominated her oeuvre, with colour the link to my paintings. “Whether the flower or the color is the focus I do not know.”

 

‘Sundowners’, Artist Print and oil on canvas. Transforming an emotionless print into an original, and unique, art work. Paint colours behaving differently on the printed canvas. Defining areas, while maintains simplicity. Particularly important, as I will be using acrylics for the trip to Vietnam and finishing the paintings with oils when I’m back in the studio.

Staggered at the price of artist grade acrylic paints, which I expected to be much less than artist grade oil paints. Fortunately Aly is happy to bring my Charvin paints from France.

AvoPommeThe Creative Hub have opened a new gallery space. It’s a great venue in that it allows one to approach the art from a distance, which isn’t possible here in the studio. An intimate space, within the larger building. Looking forward to seeing how my paintings look there.

Don’t seem to getting any quicker on the hills. Still have that ‘wounded buffalo’ sound, fighting the bicycle to keep moving forward. Only made bearable by the fabulous ride through the Gouna Forest. Breathtaking.