Diary of an Adventure

Pringle Bay Adventures

Our time here as suddenly come to an end. Days governed by endless beach walks, and the mesmerising movement of the sea outside the window.

With the arrival of the storm front, the water of the huge seas is dark and threatening. Gone are the gentle turquoise blue swells. The wild weather an opportunity to indulge in the heady aromas of citrus, cloves, red wine and deliciousness. Terry’s oxtail in a three-day stock of yumminess. Fresh bougette irresistible for the last spot of juice.

‘Storm’ Acrylic on canvas 60cmx90cm. Frenetic strokes on the canvas to catch the energy, anger, of the seas as they hurtles against the outcrop of rocks. A grey green for the dark waves, with a hint of turquoise and blue. Magenta touches for the shadows of the waves.

A large (2mx0,7m) canvas spread across the kitchen counter for an abstract seascape. Painting quickly to get soft edges before the acrylic paint dries. A trip through to Gordon’s Bay for a resupply of white paint. Rockfalls making the journey a tad perilous.

My blood sugars have been unbelievably stable with the more moderate exercise of walking on the beach for half an hour a gazzilion times a day, rather than my usual run or cycle in the morning and a couple of short walks during the day. Or perhaps, it’s that glass of wine at lunch time? (BG Ave 5,5 with a Standard Deviation of 0,8). And that was with a blood sugar spike (7,6 mmol/L) after a breakfast out, which included crumbed pea croquette’s.

Diary of an Adventure

Pringle Bay Adventures

Thrilled that portrait of Peter ‘Come-Along’ received an Honorable Mention at the 2018 London International Creative Awards, the Professional Painting Category. This to go with its Special Merit Award for Outstanding Art from the 2019 Figurative Art Competition.

Surfers, dolphins, paddlers, sup’s, runners, fisherman, walkers, families and dogs. The beach on a glorious day. The fishing fleet moving in at sunset.

For my painting of the surfer, I used the knuckles of my hand to create the ‘lumpy’ affect of the water below the breakers, and the edge of my hand for the breaking wave. A line of slightly darker toned water leading to the surfer which I painted with quick strokes, the black of the wetsuit against the water, enough of a contrast.

Prince up at first light for one of his multiple excursions to the beach. Seaweed, the game of choice as he hurtles after thrown pieces. My arms haven’t worked so hard since Polly chasing seaweed at Milnerton beach. The light providing different colours for a painting of the walkway to the beach. The mountains above Simons Town across the bay.

Holiday routine of a walk at first light, breakfast at the La Galerie, shopping in the village for firewood, wine, veg and braai bits, before heading back to the comfortable beach house to paint, read and watch the endless waves.

Sea-sand sweeping, never ending!

‘From the waves’

Oil on canvas 121cmx41cm

Messing About with Paint

Station 12

Oil on Canvas 90cmx60cm


From a photo by Berend, of the NSRI boat waiting to pass through the Heads.

To highlight the bravery of the NSRI crew, and the enormity of passing into unknown seas and storms, the waters of the lagoon are an unsettled platform. The clouds and seas a maelstrom.

I used an under-painting of Cobalt Blue, Venice Red and Permanent Magenta, which as a tad magenta heavy. For the seas, the grey of Cobalt Blue and Venice red was supplemented with Mediterranean green, and a hint of Phthalo Blue. For the sky, I used zink white with turquoise, cobalt blue and the grey mix. I ended up with spots of Indian Yellow as my finger brushed it while being charged with the blue mix. It added a bit of mystery to the painting which I left.

Messing About with Paint


An abstract work of the sea looking down from the cliffs of East Head. Done as a study for a larger canvas I have.

Not sure I will be able to replicate it given that I have no idea what I was doing.

Indian yellow, with Turquoise Blue, Phthalo Green and Cobalt Teal rubbed into each other. A spot of Transparent Gold Ochre and Primary Magenta for the patterns.

As it was looking a tad bland, I used thick ridges of Phthalo Green and Cobalt Teal.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Wind buffeting the studio. Canvases dancing against the walls. Storm tossed seas. Polly hiding. Her agitated state compounded by kids letting off fire crackers under the covered walkway outside the studio.

The view to East Head from the western side of the lagoon dominated by the tunnel of the old railway at Featherbed. I pushed the composition lower on the canvas to give space for the East Head against the sky.

Paddles sorted, and with the sun out we headed down to the Yacht Club to try various surf-ski options. The lifting and carrying boats to and from the water didn’t leave much energy to paddle!

Something magical about a simple meal of green beans, corn on the cob and lamb chops on the braai. A DreamWorks moon over the lagoon. Owl chicks screaming for their mother to feed them.

First light, the waters of the lagoon buzzing with sports boats taking fishermen out to sea. Rails of fishing rods, with their multi-coloured line glinting in the sunlight.

Anniversary dinner at Die Gieter, one of the few serious food restaurants in Knysna. Perched high above the lagoon, the restaurant feels like being inside a conservatory. There is an art to simplicity, which when combined with passion and good ingredients, creates superb food. Particularly, French country cooking.

These aren’t small, delicate meals, artfully arranged on a plate, but massive portions full of flavour that demand serious attention. Scallops slow cooked in Chardonnay with cream and saffron. Hot whole Camembert in filo with honey, pecan nuts and honey. Duck fillet and entrecôte with fries were more than enough for four people. However, we left our plates clean! 

We didn’t look at the wine list, as the generous corkage meant that we could enjoy our own Atarazia Pinot Noir, and Colmont bubbly. 

First Light

Oil on canvas 20cmxcm  

Harbour Town Adventures

Diary of an Adventure

Leisure Island Adventures

The last of the apartment walls that need to be removed is a pile of rubble, opening the apartment onto the new terrace above the garage. The tiling has started and the kitchen extension is sorted. We visited our cupboards, which are still shells. The craftsmanship, remarkable. Unlikely that they will be ready when we move in the middle of Oct.

A small painting of the Forest. Escapist as the daunting 1.7 m canvas I ordered confronts me each time I walk down the stairs. No idea what I will use it for and I feel a bit like Michelangelo starring at a block of marble waiting for the figure to emerge. “The best artist has that thought alone which is contained within the marble shell; The sculptor’s hand can only break the spell to free the figures slumbering in the stone.”


I stumbled across the work of the American Impressionist artist, John Henry Twachman, which so breathtaking. His seascapes feel as though they have the key elements of what I have been trying to capture in my paintings. His wildflowers, stunning works.

Storm tossed surf breaking at the Heads. Salt laden air. Roads flooded. Fireplaces, red wine and wet dogs. I did manage to break another of our few picnic Riedel glasses. Not clever, but no blood.

Awake in the early hours, something I can’t even blame on the red wine monsters. Being the driver, saved me from compounding the overindulgence the previous evening at Mario’s. In all fairness, the additional wine was a result of the salt grinder top breaking (not me this time) over Craig’s meal and he had to wait for a new dish to be prepared. Terry drove us home.

‘Beacon’, oil on canvas 60cmx90cm. Sunset from the Heads. The beacon that marks the entrance for ships. Phosphorus waves lapping at the beach.


Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923)

The white boat, Javea – Joaquín Sorolla

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923), a post-impressionist artist from Spain, who had two passions in his life – his family and his art.

He began to study painting at the age of fifteen in his native Valencia, Spain. At the age of eighteen, he went to Madrid, where he copied Old Master paintings in the Museo del Prado. Four years later, Sorolla won a grant to study painting in Rome; there he developed a distinct ability for depicting the effects of light. 

When Sorolla returned to Madrid, his paintings were in great demand. Most of his pictures were painted in from four to six mornings, many in one or two.

He painted very, very fast. “I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly,” he once said. “Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted.” In the studio Sorolla would sometimes use a palette the size of a grand piano lid and 3 foot long brushes to allow him to stand back from his painting.

In terms of colour, from about 1900 onwards for outdoor work (as opposed to studio portraits) Sorolla’s palette consisted of cobalt violet, rose madder, all the cadmium reds, cadmium orange, all the cadmium yellows, yellow ochre, chrome green, viridian, Prussian blue, cobalt blue, French ultramarine and lead white. 

For studio portraits, he changed his palette entirely to one that included black, burnt umber, raw umber, rose madder, burnt sienna, raw sienna, yellow ochre, Naples yellow, vermilion and cobalt blue. Occasionally Sorolla would add orange, pink or purple, but he usually emphasized strong tonal contrasts over ambitious color effects. [source 1=”Charles” 2=”Sovek” 3=”Light” 4=”&” 5=”Colour” 6=”Sorolla” 7=”Style” 8=”-” 9=”see” 10=”links” language=”:”][/source]

Sorolla’s widow left a large collection of his paintings to the people of Spain. The collection is now a museum, the Museo Sorolla, in the artist’s house in Madrid.

Messing About with Paint

Wild Side

Oil on Canvas 90cmx60cm

Seascape on the easel. Mocking me to convey the power, complexity, serenity, and endless moods of the sea, on canvas. It’s as if, by its changing, it defies representation. I looked at the Land-art of Andy Goldsworthy, and some of the Abstract stuff, but didn’t see anything illuminating.

The beach at the Goukamma, a marine protected reserve, at Buffels Valley, Knysna. The big surf made too much noise for Polly. Rocks and sea, amazing colours, as the sun came out through the clouds.

I used touches of turquoise as a rebellious colour. With a loose, flowing feel for the painting. Made possible by the creamy texture of Charvin white. Transparent Gold Ocher (Utrecht), a rich base for the beach.