Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Women in the Waves’

Acrylic on Canvas 200cmx70cm

Too many conflicting ideas messing about with my painting of the ’Women in the Waves’. Decided to stop smearing paint in the canvas. Happy with areas of the painting, while other bits are a tad overworked.
Summer. Visitors fleeing to confront the start of the new job year. Weather  switched to glorious. If a tad stifling. Early Steenbok walk to get Prince wet enough to manage the hot weather.
Super yacht Katherine heading out to its next adventures. It’s stay at Thesen Harbour Town attracting a more of visitors.
Otto Lingi Simple. Nothing about Ottolenghi is ’Simple’! Preparation. Shopping. Chopping. Cooking. Exhausting. Delicious! Terry did a cauli-rice, infused with mint and parsley. Perfect with the slow-cooked lamb ribs. French-inspired slow-roasted tomatoes (with the jalapenos magic ingredient) and spinach dish, with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Looked  amazing and packed with flavour.
Homtini Pass ride, with fabulous sightings of Knysna Louries. Even more amazing give the sweat stained glasses, and heavy breathing as I laboured up the pass. Senses overpowered by the ’honey’ scent. Sage wood plant? 

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Chubby Unicorn’

Oil on canvas 80cmx80cm

Submission for the David Shepard Wildlife Artist of the Year finished. A dramatic gold background that contrasts with the turquoise in the painting. Will be interesting to see how the jury reacts.
Year end. Holiday season. Delish food. Great company. Laughter. Rest demanded of my abused body. A tad too much wine, probably not helping.
On the easel. Riotous friendship. A sea-scape of ‘Ladies in the waves’ on the beach at Sedgfield. Trying hard not to go down the path of the successful painting of the ‘Wild Oyster Collectors’, or the more abstract Pringle Bay sea-scape. Rather letting the painting dictate its own path.
The ’creative theater’ of the studio, part of the holiday business, with holiday browsers, returning collectors and fellow artists.
“As per your wonderful sense/insight of humanity Jan, you have captured emotive images of the human spirit; universally speaking your mind by way of canvas, paint, & fingers. Many of us could learn to not just “look”, but to “see” as well, by taking notice of the message you have implored here within these works.”

Robyn Heenan

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Chubby Unicorn’s’ (Thank you Kirsten), the commission and Wild Life Artists of the Year submission, on the easels in the studio. The fiery, Indian Yellow background to the paintings generating a host of comments. Particularly as it relates to the – ongoing – destruction of rhino’s, and their extinction, which the paintings signify.  

Delicious chevre and Proscuitto. For out 36th Wedding Anniversary, Terry made her ’Terrine de Campagne’, which, with a salmon main made for a scrumptious dinner. Phillepe Mallet, Cuvee prestige brut champagne and Crozes-Hermitage, balanced with Black Rock and a delicious Cederberg Blanc de Blancs MCC.
Happy, family holidays with sticky fingers across the studio windows. The thunder of powerful engines for the inevitable drag racing between speed humps. Early morning revealers driving Prince crazy. Cyclists and runners everywhere, and – fortunately – sales from the Studio.
My father’s Olympic athletic career was ended by a combination of a broken foot from running on a cinder track, and being declared a ’professional’ for accepting payment for transport to the Olympic trials. Certainly, I have no Olympic career, and sponsorship is the cornerstone of successful athletes, yet – while I have struggled with a trashed Achilles interrupting my running enjoyment – I’m facing my fathers foot weakness. In my case, arthritis. At least it’s not in my hands, so it doesn’t impact my painting!
For now, it’s summer. Endless days, of beach, forest, sea, wine, food and laughter.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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’Oyster Pickers,

Acrylic on canvas 200cmx70cm

Bum and legs, stiff after a Buffs beach walk, between rain showers. Of more probably, from all the bending down to find stones for Prince to chase through the surf. Shoulder screaming at the abuse.
Stellakya wine dinner evening, with large quantities of red wine to replace the blood I lost from the scratch on my arm. The lamb main dish was a tad disappointing and the dessert out of the question. However, the Springbok carpaccio was delicious and the snoek spring rolls tasty.
I have started a small rhino painting, based on my painting ’Unicorn’ in preparation for the large commission work. The last tube of Ferrario Turquoise Blue (No 80), from my magic paint ox, is almost finished, adding uniqueness to the works. Certainly giving my shoulder a workout, covering the large areas of the big canvas

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Etosha Study’

Oil on canvas 45cmx25cm

Greenish, white clay of the ‘Great White Place’. Pale-golden colour of the grasslands against blue skies. The green-grey from Cobalt Blue and burnt Seinna, mixed with Cerulean Blue. The white-grey a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber. Also the grey mixture I used for the elephant.

Chef Hirsch crafted (another) fabulous dinner. Avo, pea, mint with smoked salmon, blue cheese crème fraîche and capers. Followed by ‘moqueca’, a Brazilian fish stew, served with spinach-cauli noodles and crusty bread for the delicious ‘soup’. Which I did manage to mess down my shirt and trousers. Something I couldn’t even blame on diabetic ‘shakes’, as my sugar levels weren’t totally crazy. Fryers Cove Pinot Noir served with the moqueca.

Owls hooting before dawn. Seagulls screeching in alarm. Gentle rain for my morning jog up the Welbedaght hills. Coucal’s calling encouragement from the bushes

Rump skewers with Smokey béarnaise sauce. Simple. Deliciousness. A green salad of gem-lettuce, avo, parmesan shavings and pine nuts. Added crunchiness. Perfect.

Orthopedic Surgeon happy with how the bones in my clavicle are healing. A complication with a bursa on my elbow that needed draining and is now trapped in a compression sock for three weeks. The cortisone injection a tad painful. Messing with my blood sugars.


Moqueca (Brazilian fish stew)


INGREDIENTS

1kg skinless firm white fish fillet (such as snapper), pin-boned, cut into 3cm cubes

1/3 cup (80ml) lime juice

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 green capsicum, thinly sliced

1 red capsicum, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 short red chillies, finely chopped

2 cups (500ml) fish stock

400g can chopped tomatoes

270ml can coconut milk

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (see note)

6 large green prawns, peeled (tails intact), deveined

Coriander leaves, to serve

Spinach-cauli noodles, to serve

METHOD

Step 1
Place fish in a large ceramic dish and toss with 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Chill for 30 minutes to marinate.

Step 2
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes or until softened.

Step 3
Add capsicum, garlic and chilli, then cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until capsicum is softened.

Step 4
Stir in stock, tomatoes, coconut milk and coconut oil. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes until slightly reduced.

Step 5
Add prawns, fish and marinating juices, then cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the seafood is just cooked. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and season to taste.

https://www.taste.c

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘View to the Heads’ 20cmx20cm

It’s been awhile since I did the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. Normally a calendar month thing, a middle of the month start doesn’t seem to be too out of place. The focus, the popular 20cmx20cm canvases, which have my fingers in weird contortions. However, I’m happy to let each day dictate what gets painted.

While my visit to Mossel Bay, and the gardens of Protea and Cape Sugarbirds provided the initial inspiration, I’m going to try to produce a series of black and white paintings that mimic charcoal sketches, with hints of colour. The works of Michèle Nigrini my reference point.

Fun movie outing that included a surprisingly good salad lunch at Mugg&Bean, of all places. The glass of wine was generous, and the helping enormous. The movie, ‘Fiela se Kind’, slow and achingly beautiful.

Spinach and Ricotta gnocchi. Diabetic-friendly, and tasty on their own, Scrumptious with a bolognaise sauce. If not what a traditional Italian would associate with gnocchi.

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients

2 cups Spinach cooked

1 cup Ricotta cheese

2 Egg yolks beaten

6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F degrees.

Cut the stems off the spinach and cook in a large pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and plunge into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Drain the spinach leaves well, and squeeze out any excess water. Chop the leaves very fine.

Put the spinach, Ricotta,Parmesan cheese, egg yolks and seasoning into a bowl. Mix well.

Shape the mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. Or make them gnocchi shaped.

Lightly butter a casserole dish and place the gnocchi in it.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve with your sauce of choice.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Irises and Foxgloves 2’

Oil on canvas 72cmx72cm

Thrilled to be part of the Winter One Fly Anti Rhino Poaching Charity event held in Dullstroom, where my painting of the rhino ‘Unicorn’ was part of the auction. The auction alone, raised R390,000.00 for anti-poaching support. Based out of Skakuza, in the Kruger Park.

I have finished fiddling with the second of the ‘Irises and Foxgloves’ paintings. Abstract swirls through colour spaces, that captivate. Although it felt like I had done a tad too much, it retains the delicate, simplicity of the composition I was striving for.

Interesting to read that Van Gough’s painting of Irises, which now looks like blue Irises, was originally purple. The red pigment in the paint having faded, leaving us with the blue we now see. Hopefully, the Artists Oil colours I have used for the purple won’t do the same over time! The key colour was Mineral Violet Deep (Van Dyk Ferrario No47) from my magic paint box.

One of those fantabulous sunrises. Perfection, for the run out to the Leisure Island loop. While none of the graceful movement in my mind, I did try to limit the jarring of my still delicate shoulder. Limited by my ‘wounded buffalo’ heaving. A shoulder, seemingly frozen in time.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Irises and Foxgloves 1’

Oil on canvas 76cmx104cm

Stopped fiddling with the first painting of Irises and Foxgloves. Wiped some of the paint from the canvas where it felt too heavy, and darkened some of the edges of the various shapes creating the journey through the composition.

Sounds of Spring while out jogging. Burchell’s Coucal calling from the bushes, and Fish Eagle’s against blue skies. Not that the rain has forgotten us, the wind continually trying to tear the doors from the studio.

A dash up to PE to deliver the painting of the Montagu Wild Garden. Stopped at Brioche for breakfast, which was every bit as good as the recommendation. A pulsating atmosphere that has you feeling as though you are in the heart of the kitchen, surrounded by happy, smiling faces. My shoulder not particularly happy with the five hour road trip and I was glad that Craig was with me to drive.

With the new work Terry has taken on for Madison, our days are starting much earlier, which Prince isn’t that thrilled about.

A serious J9 dinner

Eben Sadie Skerpion (Chenin) served with chili salmon, grilled halumi and spek boom

Grilled rashers with hand selected wild rocket, bocconcini and cherry tomatoes with Eben Sadie Pofadder (Cinsaut) 2015

Grilled fillet steak, sweet potato gratin and green salad with Black Oyster Catcher Triton

Almond and orange diabetic chocolates with Black Forest 2014

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.

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.