Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘On the estuary’

50cmx60cm

A small painting of a yacht on the estuary. The reflections in the water the focus of the painting. However, the multiple folds of the sails, entrancing. I used an underpainting of Naples yellow, with an initial painting in acrylics, before finishing the painting in oil.

A different perspective walking through town at the start of the day to start my stint at the Old Jail for the Knysna Arts Society new exhibition ‘Woman’. I had one painting in the exhibition ‘Customs Market’, painted during my time in South Sudan.

A homeless man and his dog walking along the pavement, searching through dustbins for food scraps, an all to familiar sight in our town. What was remarkable was that he picking up litter along the way and placing it in the rubbish bins.

‘Saving Kandinsky’ by Mary Basson is a fabulous read into the world of Gabrielle Münter, Kandinsky’s partner for the years he transformed into abstraction. The notes accompanying her paintings are absorbing and inspirational

Freedom! Ortho happy with the healing progress of my collarbone. No sling required, although no cycling, lifting, or anything that requires power, from the shoulder for another couple of months. Physio not required either, which is fabulous. Sleep, still problematical, with sleep time discomfort, exponential.

Cobwebs dusted from my running shoes, an easy 7km jog through the islands to start the day. The first in eight weeks. Mindful of the one-to-three days between running sessions. My wildly fluctuating blood sugars, a complicating factor.

Chef Hirsh did an amazing Kingklip fish dinner, with bacon, chili, yogurt and lemon. The sauce, fabulous. Fingers sufficing in the absence of bread. A starter of labneh and Thai pesto, zucchini spirals with salmon. Terry did a diabetic-friendly almond ice-cream that was definitely moreish.

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘From my bed’

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx30cm

A small painting of a magical view. Where dreams become entwined with your soul. That moment. A breath. A heart-beat. Perhaps?

Incredible sunny weather, with that hint of chill in the wind, a reminder that winter isn’t finished with us yet. First time in seven weeks that with my shattered collar-bone recovering, I was able to put a T-shirt on! However, any ideas I had that I will soon be back running and cycling, rapidly disappearing over the horizon. Shoulder pain. The reality of longer term recovery.

Transported to new worlds. Aromatic star-anise, Illiciim verum, infused broth. Terry’s Navarin of lamb (navarin d’agneau, a French rich lamb stew) with thick slices of aubergine and quickly fried tomato skins. Forget alchemy, this is magical. The cream infused sauce, scrumptious. Forcing that slice of rye-bread, spiraling my crazy blood sugars.

While Julia Child recommended a Bordeaux, or Beaujolais to accompany Navarin, the 2012 Black Rock, and Grace Land from Craig’s cellar, magnificent.

Amongst the under appreciated gems in our small town are the specialist Hardware stores who cling to survival amidst the onslaught of the maga-shops. That they offer fabulous service, don’t sell you anything extra you don’t need and are far less expensive, should mean they thrive. I certainly appreciated being able to buy two stainless steel bolts and penny washers from Tool and Trade in Queen Street.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A bouquet of blue irises and maroon fox gloves to commemorate the life of my sister, the subject of a small painting. Didn’t quite get the blue-purple of the irises correct, but pleased with the movement in the still-life painting ‘The lines remind me of Kandinsky without becoming completely abstract.’ Kirsten

The Kammado Jan out of hibernation. A hunk of pork loin on the bone, from Chelmsford Farm, simply grilled for three hours with fresh rosemary and blue-organic salt. Crispy skin, tender meat and mouthfuls of yumminess.

Inspired by the paintings of Thomas Baines and his travel sketchbook’s, an elephant in the shelter ‘(protection?) of a large iron wood tree. The trees In the Tuli Block, Botswana – particularly next to the Limpopo River – are magnificent.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures 

Cauliflower and goats cheese soup, with pumpkin seed juice, as a starter. Crayfish on the Weber, with Lourensford Viognier and strawberries dipped in dark chocolate the menu.

My shoulder not enjoying my painting antics for some reason. Throwing my body around too much? The new collar bone ‘bump’ an ominous sign that all is not as it should be. Ice and meds back in force to tackle a suspected infection.

Mad scramble to bring cushions in, stack fire wood, ensure cupboards have secure stops and doors are locked in anticipation of the storm front howling towards us.

Apparently, dogs who do not show a ‘paw-preference’ are likely to be noise intolerant making them poor candidates for training. Not sure whether this applies to humans but would be a reason I tend to go bonkers with loud noises? More likely, my trampolining blood sugars!

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

If bending trees weren’t enough of a warning, kite-surfers screaming across the Estuary were. Only hardened cyclists braved the roaring winds for the Oyster Festival races. The Ultimate Fitness Festival?.

Sling keeping my shoulder from moving, too crazily. The blessing of a Mungo, superb woven towel, easing the chaffing. Blood sugars back into their normal range after the trauma, and a couple of coffee walks easing bruised muscles.

Cable ties my new friend holding the canvas against the easel, as ‘wingless’ I can’t catch the canvas as it does it’s bit to escape the abuse of my fingers smearing paint about. The large number of straight lines a tad challenging for my painting of the Norval Foundation exhibition.

While we we had to eliminate the beans from the Pork and Cannellini Bean casserole recipe, the sauce of the dish was sensational. The pork a tad on the dry side, which was disappointing. However, the Eastern flavours worked fabulously with the seared Bok-Choy.

Harbour Town full of athletes as it’s Forest Marathon time. Studio busy with the registration traffic generating its own energy.

Bartinney wine dinner at the Turbine. The lamb bredie, paired with their Cabernet Sauvignon, scrumptious.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Unicorn 2’

Oil on canvas 1,5mx1,5m

A few tweaks, and a couple of significant changes to the composition of the Rhino.

I decided to leave the tempestuous background, with its rough texture alone, as a contrast the smoother dust in the foreground.

Grateful for the collector who commissioned the painting. Loved the opportunity to work at that scale.

I. Remarkably, no blood! Hugh walked my bike out to where Clare could collect me home before Terry could get me casualty and the operation to fix my ‘properly broken’ clavicle. Fortunately, no complications, and while my blood sugars have gone crazy, they have sent me home after overnight observation. Six weeks, or so, my penance.

Hospital is not without its humorous side. The care I received was of the highest standard and professionalism.

A shared ward with a Dutch tourist who tore a knee ligament, and not only was a heavy smoker but had an absolute phobia about needles. Getting him prepped was a lesson in physiological counseling and slight of hand that was the envy of many magicians.

A nonagenarian woman, cranky in the extreme wanted go for walk outside, throwing he walking frame across the corridor as she doesn’t need assistance. Despite her recent knee surgery. She also decided on her midnight stroll, after insisting on coming into the wrong ward that I was occupying her bed and should be removed immediately.

An early morning tussle with e grumpy man who tried to leave the hospital to go home despite not being able to move unassisted and nobody at home to take care of him. Apparently he couldn’t get the USPGA on his TV screen.

I slept a bunch.

Norval Foundation

Brief shafts of sunshine through low clouds, natural spotlights highlighting the colours of ‘Wind Scuplture lll’ in the sculpture garden. Definitely best viewed from the warm comfort of the Skotnes restaurant.

Enjoyed the Collector’s Focus exhibition and wondering through the David Goldblatt exhibition, was transported back to my brief, terrifying, stint working at Grootvlei gold mine. While intrigued by the Yinka Shonibare CBE exhibition, Tradewinds’, I struggled to be engaged.

Scrumptious lunch. Beef bone marrow and sumac salsa, followed by beef flat iron with tomato Brodie and green beans. A glass of Skotnes red blend.

Rowing boats in a clients house

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A dunking in the estuary, on a beautiful autumn evening, not the greatest thing to do to your iPhone. There was, one of those moments, where I had one leg caught on the boat while one tried valiantly to find solid ground. Failed dismally.

Studio after the holiday. A bunch of admin sorted. A bit of blood on a shin that lost a bunch of skin on the step-stool reorganizing paintings. Plasters to protect the linen.

Achilles seemingly content with its gentle jog, bum less sure about being back on the bicycle. At least I didn’t fall off!

Initial stages of the rhino commission, with an under painting of Indian Yellow for the sky of the painting. I’m trying to get the rhino skin texture different to the sky, by using the under painting to add luminescence. Also using Venice Red for one shade of grey and Burnt Sienna for the other. Naples yellow, rather than white for the grey tones. I have a couple of differ turquoise options with the Van Dyk Turquoise Blue (No. 80) completely different to the Charvin Intense Turquoise. Will need to see which works better with the deeper grey’s of the painting.

First outing of a recipe from ‘Plate’, by Marlene van Der Westhuizen. Steak with Gorgonzola sauce, with bok choi the surprise. Scrumptious.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Rose stopped past the studio to see the painting of the Oyster Collectors that I painted from her photograph

Erica’s in purple and pinks between banks of grey salt-bush alongside the paths through the Forest. Enough rain to turn trails into rivers that extra element of fun.

Colours swirling on the canvas for my painting of the Heads. Getting a tad lost in the water of the estuary.

Easter treat damage limitation with a run to the bottom of Phantom Pass. Ile de Pain, hot-cross bun with its apricot jam glaze and icing sugar crust (52grams of carbs) probably wasn’t sensible.

Bunch of people visiting which gave us the opportunity to try a couple of different places in our part of paradise. The late afternoon ferry out to the rebuilt Featherbed restaurant for their forest dinner. The building spectacular, and while the food might not be memorable there was plenty of variety, even for a diabetic.

Parmesan crusted kingklip, with a chilly/butter stuffing at Fatfish, looked amazing and was delicious. No less so than the tempura-prawn salad, with a great selection of wines by-the-glass.

Sold

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Small painting of a rhino at Shamwari, using Indian Yellow rather than Raw Sienna. The warm yellow colour, rather than the earth tone (which I felt was a tad flat), contrasting with Alizarin Crimson adding drama to the painting. Could have used more of the Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna mix to push back the shadows.

Trying to work through my paint supplies and move to the ‘modern colours’ that have higher translucency, hues, chroma and pigmentation, rather than the traditional impressionist colour palette I have been using. Hansa yellows, rather than the Cadmiums.

Le Marquis didn’t disappoint. The terrine scrumptious and the salmon a visual feast. Tender Springbok loin and the coconut macaroons, a perfect ending.

A surprise visit from Kevin Duke in the studio. Botswana days suddenly not so distant.

New Apple Mac a tad frustrating as it has a different range of connectors and doesn’t support older versions of Microsoft office or Photoshop, needing expensive upgrades. This after crashing during the time-machine installation. Going to try using the apple versions for spreadsheets, word processing and presentation for the limited stuff I need to do.

https://www.justpaint.org/color-mixing-you-cant-get-it-unless-you-do-it/

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Cornflower’

Oil on canvas 76cmx102cm

A grey of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna, lightened with Zinc White and then mixed with French Ultramarine Blue for the cornflower colour. The striking architectural forms of the leaves, Green Oxide with the grey and white against the Magenta Grey background colour of the painting.

I used a different technique to keep the petals from becoming heavy blocks of paint, wiping the paint from the canvas with tissues. A tad messy.

After far too long nursing my troublesome Achilles , a run to East Head. Fabulous. Grumpy with my throat closing and a head full of cold.

The mozzarella ‘pastry’ proving versatile for a chocolate French tart crust, as well as an upside down tomato tart. The tarte-au-chocolate, simply scrumptious. Although diabetic-sensitive, seriously good French food, even in small portions.

Opening of the new Philemon Hlungwani exhibition at Knysna Fine Art underwhelming, which made me take a harder look at my paintings. While his craftsmanship has improved over the years, from the raw, hostile charcoal marks on paper, to assured, crafted works, everything looks the same. Same subject. Same technique. Still unique and instantly recognisable, it’s less honest and more contrived. To please the market?

TARTE AU CHOCOLAT

Chocolate Tart, a crisp buttery tart shell made with the mozzarella cheese ‘pastry’, filled with a velvety-smooth dark chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

For the base

170 grams grated mozzarella cheese

1 tbsp butter

½ cup fine almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 large egg

Ganache filling

225 grams (8 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2/3 cup (160 grams) heavy cream

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (30 grams; 1 ounce) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ moist, plump vanilla bean, split lengthwise

For the crust

· Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

· In a large saucepan, melt the cheese and butter together over low heat until they are melted and can be stirred together. Remove from heat and add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.

· Add the egg and stir everything together until a cohesive dough forms. Use a rubber spatula to really knead it up against the sides of the pan. It may still contain some streaks of cheese.

· Transfer to the prepared pan and knead a few more times until uniform. If your dough is very sticky, work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour. Cover the dough with another piece of parchment and roll out to a 12-inch (30 cm) circle.

· Line the pie dish with parchment paper underneath the crust to keep it from sticking.

· Cooking time for the crust 7-10minutes.

· Rest in the fridge overnight if possible.

For the filling and assembly

· Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl and set it aside.

· Ensure that the butter is soft but not oily and set it aside in a small bowl. If necessary, work it with a spatula or the back of a spoon to soften it some more.

· In a small bowl beat 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream with the egg yolks until the mixture is just smooth.

· Place the rest of the cream into a saucepan along with the split vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Remove the vanilla bean and pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces. Let sit for 30 seconds. Using a whisk, delicately blend the cream into the chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool for another minute or so. Add the egg yolks, followed by the butter.

· Pour the mixture into the baked tart shell. Jiggle the crust lightly to even out the filling and leave on counter until mixture is set. This should take around 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the tart in the refrigerator for no longer than 20 minutes, then keep it at room temperature after it has set.

· Serve the chocolate tart at room temperature. If you plan to serve it the next day, store it overnight in the refrigerator and remember to let it stand at room temperature for two hours before serving.

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https://www.thespruceeats.com/chocolate-tart-recipe-1375153