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.

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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

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

Diary of an Adventure

Pringle Bay Adventures

Phosphorusene dancing on the waves. The lights of the fishing fleet mesmerising. A beach of soft white sand. Border Collie mayhem. Sea water, far too cold to swim, and even the occasional foot immersion, chills. Montagu, the sheep, who walks on the beach at sunset, incongruous.

My bum stiff from walking on the beach, which is a few steps from the front of the house. Prince wanting nothing more than to spend every minute out playing. If the sea is too rough, the water of the river his play park of choice. Managing a wet, sandy dog a fearsome task.

A series of paintings of this ever changing view in my thoughts, as the wine level drops with the sunset. I have too many ideas. Too few canvases, and this. The first afternoon!

The colour of the beach sand perplexing. Magenta of muscle shells, with the pink shades of clams, flecked with bits of Raw Sienna and the blue-grey of dried kelp. Greens and turquoise for the sea

A splendid braai with a chimney that creates a vortex for the flaming wood. Crayfish tails from Kleinmond that tad special.

A cluster of shops at the village with a good selection of wine, as well as a few unusual bottles. Lemon and Lime, a comfortable deli, with great staff, who call you when fresh produce arrives. Breakfast at the Art Cafe

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 Adventure

Fishing

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Painting of Peter ‘Come Along’ received a Special Recognition Award for ‘Outstanding Art’ at the LST 2019 Figurative Online Exhibition. Amongst the top 15 paintings chosen from 845 entries, from 35 countries.

This is the fifth year in a row that my portraits have received international recognition.

Baked cheesy brinjals, from the latest Taste magazine, must be the most flavoursome brinjal dish imaginable. The fire adds smokiness that transforms the bitter flavours of brinjals, while the cheese filling adds pure deliciousness. Didn’t manage to get the grilled colour on the cheese from the Kamado Jan, and might need to get one of those flame torch things.

Painting of the dueling elephants at Ruha sold and heading to its new home in Ireland. A painting that was originally damaged on the trip back from Tanzania, and one that highlighted the tension of being in Tanzania. Incredible scenery and an impossible work environment. Only a couple of the paintings from that period still available. Another trip needed?

Police here for the break into the studio. Our security guys with CCTV footage identifying the alleged thief. A tad more vigilance needed on my part.

In the novel I’m reading, Stromboli were mentioned. According to google, it’s an Italian-American dish that can have all manner of fillings rolled into a rectangle of pizza dough. Using the mozzarella diabetic base, I did the broccoli as well as a ham and broccoli version. Couldn’t find Provolone so the cheese balance wasn’t quiet correct, but still delicious.

After a few requests recently to package paintings that weren’t my work for shipping, I’m putting together a Professional Painting Packaging Service for both local and international destinations. While styrofoam is recommended as additional protection for the paintings, I’m searching for an environmentally friendly alternative.

Broccoli & Cheese Stromboli

Makes one 12-inch stuffed roll; serves 4-6
From Pizza by Brigit Binns

salt

1 1/2 cups (3 oz) broccoli florets

2/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

2 oz sliced provolone cheese, torn into small pieces

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

1 ball thin-crust pizza dough (recipe follows), at room temperature

all-purpose flour for dusting

salt & freshly ground black pepper

olive oil for brushing

coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 F. Let the pan stone heat for 45-60 minutes.

Fill a saucepan with one inch of water and bring to a simmer. Place broccoli in a mesh strainer or steamer basket and place over the simmering water, not letting the broccoli touch the water. Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes until crisp tender. Remove strainer or basket from saucepan and let cool. Coarsely chop the broccoli and set aside. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, provolone, and basil. Mix well.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet and place the ball of dough in the center. Dust the top of the dough with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out to a 9-by-12-inch rectangle of even thickness. If the dough springs back, let it rest, uncovered, for a few minutes then continue. This video by Peter Reinhart demonstrates how to shape pizza dough for stromboli. Cover the dough rectangle with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 10 minutes.

With the long side of the dough facing you, spread the cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered on all sides. Scatter the broccoli evenly over the cheese and season generously with salt and pepper. Starting with the long edge nearest you, gently roll up the dough, lightly compressing the filling. Crimp firmly to seal, but avoid pressing down too hard. Turn the stuffed roll seam side down, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise for 5 minutes. Brush the roll lightly with olive oil, cut a few small steam vents in the top, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Carefully slide the roll-topped parchment onto the hot pizza stone. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Using the pizza peel or a rimless baking sheet, remove the stromboli from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let the stromboli stand for 15 minutes then use a serrated knife to slice it crosswise into rounds.

https://www.handletheheat.com/brocco

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

Beach walk with wild seas to soothe battered souls. The graveside committal for Dad, simple and sensitive. He rests, overlooking the golf course and across Montagu.

The Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet. Stylish, comfortable, fabulous wines and a tasty cheese and charcuterie platter (the olives were frighteningly salty), with a view to the arched gables of the Cape Dutch Homestead. There is not much to criticize. Particularly, with the excellent service from Leslie, the Lounge Manager.

The gallery space, carved from long buried concrete wine tanks creates a heightened sense of anticipation. The discovery of the amazing. Confined, intimate contact with the artworks.

Marsanne, France. ‘French Door’, a small, acrylic and charcoal on 300gram paper SOLD, amongst a bunch of paintings and scarves on a busy week in the studio. The ‘Pushing out the oars’, scarf sold out.

Our introduction to the trendy ‘Poke’ (pronounced POH-keh), one of the main dishes in Hawaiian cuisine. Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna — which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-packed sauces.

Clare did tuna and salmon, with black rice (carb clever noodles for me), carrots, peas, mushrooms, peppers, onion flakes, spring onion, avocado, pineapple and toasted sesame seeds. A light cerviche of lime and soya for the tuna and salmon bits. Tasty and colourful on a fabulous summer evening. (Photo credit: Craig Smith)

Summer. Haviananas. Cracked heels. A diabetic nightmare. Particularly for one who hates shoes anyway.

French Door

Acrylic and charcoal on paper