Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Radically changed exercise routine. Standing up. Getting dressed. That, one handed button fastening. Pulling on socks. A shirt. Shoes. Bathroom contortions. Exhausting.

No surprise that my body, under stress after surgery, has my blood sugars dancing on the ceiling. Medication adding its own complexity.

‘Let me tell you about a man I knew’, by Susan Fletcher is a delightful book about Vincent Van Gogh’s time at Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum. Words are brush strokes, woven through some of his well known paintings, framed within the factual accounts from his letters to his brother Theo.

Rich and indulgent. Beef fillet steak with Roquefort and port sauce, a recipe from the French countryside. With both Coreta and my shoulders trashed, Craig stepped in as Terry’s Sous-Chef de cuisine.

‘Luncheon at the Boating Party’, by Renoir, at the Phillips Collection, in Washington DC, is magnificent. My first visit, I was acutely aware of a woman standing entranced. Captivated by the power of the painting. My painting of ‘Collector’s Focus: Nudes in the Sanlam Art Collection’ at the Norval Foundation, captures a moment of captivation. The deep blue walls, a foil for her yellow dress.

Harbour Town buzzing with cyclists for the start of the Oyster Festival. Senses tuned to the vibrations of the approaching storm.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Oyster Festival, the studio busy with people wondering about. Good news that Steenberg are going to sponsor wine for the studio movie evenings and are happy to link their brand to the studio activities. Of course, this would happen as soon as I’ve been banned from drinking wine!

I have the blood sugar measuring stuff all sorted and am able to make holes in my finger without leaving a trail of blood everywhere. My eye sight all over the place making reading difficult and the insulin injections a bit of a lottery. Fortunately my painting are smears of paint that contain few details.

On the easel an underpainting for ‘Phantom Ride’, the approach to Phantom Pass at first light. 

Following the fires, we have seen an increase in the bird life on Thesen Island. The amethyst sunbird has been a frequent visitor to the flowers of the coral tree, and now to the bird feeder that Terry has setup on the back patio. Perfect for a series of small paintings.

My submission to the National Portrait Award has been handed in. From the sample of submitted work I was able to see there are some exceptional entries. No idea what criteria the judges will be using, however, the results should be exciting. Interestingly, mine were the only landscape oriented portraits that I noticed.

Drinking tea with the sunset somehow doesn’t have the same appeal as that glass of wine.

Short ride out to the Red Bridge. Amazingly tough for such a short ride. No blood and no impact on my blood sugar levels.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Adrenalin infuses each breath of Knysna as the Oyster Festival kick starts. Overboard for 29 hours, and surviving (a talk by Brett Archibald), seemed to make our 2 hour cycle insignificant. Although my sensitive bum might not agree!

Somewhere between, storms and sunshine. Pizza. Red wine and laughter. Glowing fires and freezing hands. Worlds collide. This one. Gentle. 

Lights in the studio changed to LED tubes that have a better colour temperature than the old fluorescent tubes. Significantly lowering our electricity usage, increasing sustainability by not having to dispose of gaseous tubes and improving light quality. Minor security upgrades installed that will hopefully deter passing vagrants while not annoying people coming into the studio. 

Full studio for the Artist Tuesday movie. Herb and Dorothy challenging notions of what art is, and highlighting how much of the development process (which formed a large part of their collection) of the final art piece, is being lost in this digital age. 

My morning as a ‘Waste Warrior’. Artful Waste Challenge to bring awareness of the junk being washed into the estuary as part of the Oyster Festival done in a howling gale. Fortunately the rain stayed swayed for the window we were out walking collecting junk. The pile, and nature of which, was astonishing. The artworks, despite the wind were original and spectacular. 

A couple of small paintings sold, with a bunch of traffic through the studio as Oyster Festival reaches its peak. Envious of the runners that seem to be everywhere as the town fills for the Forest Marathon. 

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

The forest run, not an option, as I hobble about the place with my Achilles a bother.

The light in the picture of Tlotlo, reminiscent of a Rembrandt portrait. The composition gave me a tough time as it didn’t seem to sit comfortably on the canvas. I changed the orientation of the painting to give the portrait more space to breath.

It seemed appropriate to use the last bit in the tube of Rembrandt Madder Deep. A magical paint colour that I have managed to use for the last umpteen years. I used it for the underpainting of the portrait. A tad radical, however, I read somewhere that Rembrandt used red underpainting for his portraits.

Rembrandt had a Bold Free way, colours layd with a great Body, and many times in old Men’s Heads extraordinarily deep Shaddows, very difficult to Copy, the colours being layd on Rough and in full touches, though sometimes neatly Finished.

-Marshall Smith, Art of Painting 1693

Van Dyk brown over the red, rubbed back to the canvas so the rough weave would refract the light to the smooth blending of the portrait. Burnt Sienna and Yellow Ochre for the skin tones, with Indian Yellow in the highlight areas. A grey of Venice Red and Cobalt Blue for highlights.

Jazz, sushi and a bit of wine on a Sunday afternoon next to the water. With boats going past, on which, excited Border Collies eagerly awaited their adventure, we chatted about getting a new puppy. Not yet. This despite the wine!

A colourful new exhibition of scenes of Knysna in the studio. Interpretations of the forests and lagoon.

Artful waste collection along the lagoon, as a trial run for the challenge next week. We collected a fair pile of plastic, bottles, sweet and crisp packets and the odd beer can in a 20 minute walk. Doing something with it a tad more complicated.

A day of ‘Work-shadow’, with a young artist trying his hand at finger painting with oils. His interest, portraits. It sure can be a messy business if you don’t have a system that keeps everything separated and spotless, with an understanding of how the paint colours work with each other. Good fun.

A couple of small canvases sold to a collector in Holland. 

Start of the Oyster Festival and the weather has arrived with a vengeance. Rain turning the trails into slush. Glad I’m inside with red wine and a fire.

Diary of an Adventure

Leisure Island Adventures

Knysna Oyster Festival. Ten days of adventure racing, food and wine. 

Bubbles, chocolates and oysters at Villa Castollini, with its view over the lagoon. Wild, cultivated, strawberry, smoked cheese and tomato oysters were paired with different bubbles. Some combinations worked better than others with the smoked cheese the most disappointing. While they were generous with the bubbles, and all were bubbles we didn’t normally drink, none of them stood out. There was a good Merlot for the non bubble types like me.
A big title, for a small painting of a rowing boat on the beach, with the tide out.
My fingers struggling with the touches needed to define the rowing boat. A touch of blue linking the boat to the sea beyond.
Flavours of Knysna provided another opportunity to top-up the wine levels to accompany all sorts of creative oyster dishes by the restaurants of Knysna. The honours taken by Butterfly Blu with a toasted coconut and Malay curry oyster, followed by a tropical banana shot and coconut foam. Lethal!
Outside the burnt remains of Ile de pain, the wooden security board have been decorated by shops that are still operating from the Boat Shed building. Against this orange backdrop, a pop-up coffee shop has opened, bringing life back to a spot where people walked in some trepidation. The inspiration for a painting, of a pavement café a tad stylized by one of the shops, French Kisses.
Leaden skies, with winds full of mischief, disturbed nights, unsettled days. Timed perfectly for the X-Terra at the Pezula Field of Dreams. I slipped, waded, and sploshed my way around the trail running course, with Craig handling the MTB section like a machine. My fitness trashed in the first mad km. Tons of mud filled fun.
Bashing and crashing continues at the apartment. The new ceilings are in. The walls for the garages are up and the electrics are progressing. 
One of my larger paintings, The Light In Between, sold to a collector in Brisbane. A run around the village to find shipping quotes for the painting that also deals with the Australian fumigation requirements.