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

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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.

.

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

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

Our part of paradise being transformed with building next to us undergoing a massive rebuild. A modern update to what has, to-date, been constrained architecture along strict low-impact guidelines. As with the rebuild of Ile de Pain, the building itself is set to become a destination. A year of chaos and noise ahead!

Not the best, for a sensitive Border Collie.

Stopped playing with the portrait of ‘Ben’, the racehorse. The muscles of the horse a guide for the direction of my finger strokes to add power and breath life into the painting. Constrained by the small 50cmx60cm canvas.

Ben is beautiful mixture of dark brown, gold and red. Indigo (Ferrario No.57) for the iris of the eyes with Mineral Violet Light (Ferrario No.46) highlights. Raw Umber (Ferrario No.76) for the dark brown. Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Orange for that touch of sparkle.

A gap before a world turned crazy. Storms ripping across the estuary. Insides turned to mush on Homtini Pass cycle. Not much time to enjoy the stunning indigenous Forest, as keeping going forward was all consuming.

Small elephant painting sold, and the new silk scarf samples of the dolphins and King Protea have been shipped. While most are already pre-sold, it will be fascinating to see how they have turned out

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The chance to do a commission of ‘Ben’, a beautiful retired racehorse, immediately making me think of the equestrian art of Alfred J Munnings. However, in portrait format, a contemporary composition for the painting rather than the landscape format that characterised his paintings.

Croustade de Canard with blueberries on the menu with eggplant and a herb and Parmesan flat bread starter.

Slow roasted the duck on the Kamado Jan for a 7 hours, which was a few hours too long. Fortunately it wasn’t dried to leather and fell apart which was perfect for the pie filling. Didn’t read the recipe correctly either, so had to cook and add the bacon at the end. The cheese-based flatbread made a great topping for the pie. Logistical juggling to get the chargrilled eggplant ready, made easier by crisping the duck pies in the oven.

The annual Art Society ‘Unblocked’ Exhibition opening. 20cmx20cm wooden blocks on which to create anything that used the Pantone colour of 2019 ‘Coral’. I used my silk scarf for my submission, which was displayed by Ricardo on a stand in the center of one of the galleries. As has become the norm, the curating was professional and the exhibition engaging.

When risotto is good, it’s delicious. A pea and mushroom risotto with lamb the highlight of the Baleia wine pairing evening at the Turbine. Served with their Pinot, it might not have been the best course for a diabetic, but at least it was delicious.

Croustade de Canard

INGREDIENTS

• 1 whole duck, deboned

• 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil

• 1 red onion, sliced

• 6 strips rindless back bacon, chopped

• 250g portobellini mushrooms, sliced

• 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh thyme, chopped

• 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock

• 60ml (¼ cup) port (optional)

• 410g blueberries

• salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

In the studio, a mush of paintings. A small painting of the yacht opposite the studio, while the underpainting for the painting ‘Princesses for a Day’ dries and the wooden block gets its gesso primer.

Sugar levels too high. The Achilles reappearance cause? Wine season? Summer dehydration? The riding and running seeming to keep them from blowing into the stratosphere. Summer temperatures keeping the chilled fingers and frozen toes manageable. The higher levels also reducing the persistent headaches. However, the trend a concern. Eliminating the after insulin berries and yogurt and increasing the amount of water I drink during the day to see the impact on fasting blood sugars.

Despite the wind, a fabulous ride through the farmlands above Phantom Pass. The wind bringing a cooling, salt laden, boost of marvellousness.

Cola beach, Sedgefield with its weathered sandstone cliffs. Endless miles of blue seas, skies and soft sand. A play ground for dogs designed in heaven. An instant holiday vibe at Pilipili for breakfast, where it doesn’t matter that the coffee isn’t the best in the world, or that the service was a tad slow. Even the specks of sea-sand on the plate felt acceptable. Great service and we left with a smile.

Wind howling. Grated Parmesan spread across the four corners of the earth, as I tried to put the toppings onto the mozzarella focaccia on the Kamado Jan.

Border Collie with an upset stomach, in an apartment, not the easiest to manage.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A series of small paintings of various rowing boats, yachts and fishing boats against the backdrop of the Knysna Heads to replace those that have been sold.

A pleasant lunch under umbrellas, protected from the wind, at the Girls on the Square, in Wilderness, before taking Kirsten to start her long trip back to the States. The wine list takes a bit of time to sort through as it’s interesting and extensive. While many of the dishes aren’t suitable for a diabetic, we shared a bunch of stuff from different parts of the menu. Interesting flavour combinations and delicious.

New Year celebrations in China. The new sample designs from my paintings of the King Protea and dolphins now only expected towards March. A tad frustrating and something I will need to factor into our unpredictable tourist season.

Achilles sort of behaving. Zooty red Kinesiology Tape stripes up my leg that sort of mach my running shirt, holding things together. Bunches of overnight rain making for fresh, beautiful rides through the Forest. A gazillion shades of green between sweat, and mud stained glasses.

From Lucy’s kitchen, roasted nutmeg cauliflower from a Levi Roots cookbook, with a surprise delivered by the addition of chilli powder. Served with Filet Au Poivre (the bacon tied with nifty silicon ties) and oodles of wine. Mouthwatering

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Terry’s dad, and my friend, passed away in the Montagu hospital he once was so passionate about and worked so hard to restore.

He was in such pain and the relief for him was prayed for.

He died, at a similar hour, in the same hospital, and on the same day, as Mum Sterley’s Birthday. I’m sure she called him home.

The number of lives he has impacted, almost impossible to imagine.

I remember when my Dad died and I was stuck amidst the evacuation of Jalalabad. Touched by the number of my Afghan staff who came into my office to pray for the soul of departed. Whom they had never, known, but still respected.

‘King’ acrylic on canvas 2mx0,7m A soft approach for the painting of a King Protea and Cape Sunbird

Summer visitors in the studio. Roger and Marie here from Switzerland. Kirsten here from the States and Aly heading back to France

One of my favourite paintings, ‘Dancing Zebra’s’ from Botswana sold and heading to its new home in Switzerland.