Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Princesses for a day’, oil on canvas 60cmx90cm in its new home.

The wonder of cortisone that enabled me to run at times that were maddingly quick. Scary. Blood sugars surging into the stratosphere. For now, sticking with the low insulation dosage, with copious amounts of water and exercise to bring them down into something mangeable.

A small study of a Springbok, the scale of the Etosha commission. If not quite the abstract effect I had in my head. Also managed to get the painting of Hana on Onrus beach finished, before head into Jozie to see my Mum.

Jenny did a delicious diabetic-friendly zucchini noodle and halloumi stroganoff, with a spicy cream sauce, cashews for that bit of crunch, and served with a green salad. A light Italian style wine ‘Bella Vino’ perfect on a warm evening.

Modderfontein hills run with the sunrise glinting off the hurtling Gautrain. A carpet of purple Jacaranda blossoms. My shoulder a tad unhappy with the effort of getting me up the hills to say nothing of my wobbly legs.

The ‘Cornerdeli’ in Modderfontein definitely worth a stop. You do have to get past the tempting pastries that showcase their Portuguese heritage to get to the mouthwatering cheese and charcuterie selection.

Learned that the wax bit of the Parmesan cheese should be included in the food dish and the wax falls a small lump that can be removed while the cheese melts into the dish.

‘Springbok’

Oil on canvas

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Builders, and my shoulder being out of action, turned the patio garden into a sad, neglected, forlorn bunch of pots. Water pond cleaned out. Jasmine balls pruned into shape. Old plants replaced with new herbs. Transformed.

Rowing Boat

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm

In the studio, a canvas for the larger painting of irises and foxgloves. A peach colour underpainting of Indian Yellow and Quinacrine Rose, with touches of Permanent Carmine, in bold sweeps. The blue of the Iris flowers seemingly beyond grasp. In my box of magic paints, Indigo Blue. (Van Dyk Ferrario No. 57) and Mineral Violet Deep (No 47) that touch of inspiration. For the foxgloves, I used a mixture of Alizarin Crimson (Winsor&Newton Artists) and Violet Rose Madder (Ferrario No 48)

Some dishes are surprisingly tasty. Certainly, the Yotam Ottolenghi Eggplant, Lamb and Yogurt Casserole is one such meal. ‘ … noisy yet peaceful, lip-smacking yet warm, simple yet daring.’ The flavours, definitely moreish. Particularly on a chilly evening, with the wind still howling. The heavily wooded Chardonnay from Constantia Uitsig a much better food companion than the young red I had.

With the sunrise, first 10km run after the collar-bone surgery. Nothing too crazy.

Yotam Ottolenghi Eggplant, Lamb and Yogurt Casserole

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 2 hours

For the eggplant and lamb mixture:

2 or 3 eggplants (aubergines) (about 1 1/2 pounds/680 grams), cut into 1-inch/3-centimeter cubes

1 pound/450 grams ground lamb (lamb mince)

1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 cup/15 grams fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped

1/3 cup/80 milliliters olive oil

1/4 cup/65 grams tomato paste

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 (14-ounce/400-gram) can whole, peeled plum tomatoes with their juices

3 cups/700 milliliters chicken stock

1/3 cup/20 grams roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the topping:

2 cups/450 grams plain Greek yogurt

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 lightly packed cups/70 grams finely grated Parmesan

1 cup/100 grams roughly crumbled feta

Scant 1/3 cup/40 grams pine nuts

2 packed tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/240 degrees Celsius.

2. Add the eggplant, lamb, onion, oregano, oil, tomato paste, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, red-pepper flakes, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt and a good grind of pepper to a 10-by-13-inch/26-by-34-centimeter (or similar) roasting pan (tin) and mix well to combine. Bake until the mixture is well browned, stirring twice throughout and breaking apart the meat with a spoon, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven and continue to break apart the meat very well (don’t worry if you break apart some of the eggplant, too). Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, lightly crushing the tomatoes by hand. Stir in the chicken stock and parsley then return to the oven and bake for another 35 minutes, stirring twice throughout, until the sauce is thick and rich and the eggplant is very soft. Remove from the oven and turn the oven temperature up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit/250 degrees Celsius.

4. While the casserole is in the oven, prepare the topping: Whisk together the yogurt, yolks, flour, garlic and half the Parmesan with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Once ready, spoon the yogurt mixture over the lamb and eggplant, gently spreading to cover. Top evenly with the remaining Parmesan, feta, pine nuts, parsley and red-pepper flakes.

5. Bake until golden and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

And to Drink …

This variation on moussaka calls for a lively red wine that won’t be drowned out by the dish’s assertive flavors. Why not a Greek red, like a xinomavro, if it’s not made in too oaky and tannic a style? Limniona is a rare red grape that’s been resurrected; from a producer like Zafeirakis, it would be ideal. You could try a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from the Adriatic coast of Italy, or a frappato or Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Sicily. If you happen to have an older Château Musar around, from the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, this may be an ideal time to serve it. Or, if you want to be bold, why not try one of the new wave of retsinas, Greece’s traditional white infused with pine resin?

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A bouquet of blue irises and maroon fox gloves to commemorate the life of my sister, the subject of a small painting. Didn’t quite get the blue-purple of the irises correct, but pleased with the movement in the still-life painting ‘The lines remind me of Kandinsky without becoming completely abstract.’ Kirsten

The Kammado Jan out of hibernation. A hunk of pork loin on the bone, from Chelmsford Farm, simply grilled for three hours with fresh rosemary and blue-organic salt. Crispy skin, tender meat and mouthfuls of yumminess.

Inspired by the paintings of Thomas Baines and his travel sketchbook’s, an elephant in the shelter ‘(protection?) of a large iron wood tree. The trees In the Tuli Block, Botswana – particularly next to the Limpopo River – are magnificent.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A Precious Life

Oil on canvas 50cmx50cm

In the stormy, chilly weather. My smashed clavicle aches. As do my diabetic toes. Yet, this seems trivial. Compared, to the unfathomable, concept. Reality. That my sister Is gone. From, this world. Impossible.

The paintings from Pringle Bay are back after being put onto stretchers. Grouped together, they create a wall of tumbling energy. Radiating heat from sun warmed beach sand. Hip, knees and elbows employed in holding the canvases against the wall easels for one handed securing.

East Head Cafe, on a stunning day the best spot imaginable to reflect on the privilege of having had an angle amongst us, even if she has gone too soon. Sunset champagne to celebrate her life.

Ortho still not thrilled with the healing of my shoulder. Antibiotics for the infection and more time for the bones to knit. Blood sugars adding complexity.

‘Where Travel and Trade Meet’. A frenetic, 6 minute, speed collision. The challenge, ‘I’m not done yet!’. The opportunity to engage with tour operators and destinations in, this, our part of paradise.

It’s Iris time of the year, and although I can’t manage the large canvas I have in my head for a painting, I’ve settled for a manageable size. A touch of inspiration from the magnificent Irises from our trip to Japan. The purple-blue petal colours, elusive.

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

‘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

Harbour Town Adventures

‘At the Norval’ Oil on Canvas 90cmx60cm. A moment at the Collector’s Focus: Nudes in the Sanlam Art Collection’ at the Norval Foundation.

‘….a refined elegant woman appreciating the gallery’s exhibition on the eastern wall. She must have looked at the main frame ….and asked if she was in that scene somehow….. somewhere.. lost in motion for a moment …’

The depiction of the work taken from Irma Stern’s ‘Sleeping Nude’, wasn’t part of the collection. However, I wanted the simplicity, and lines of the painting to increase the focus on the woman in her yellow dress. Didn’t manage the lighter, sketching style of painting I had in my head, making it a tad busy in places.

Marathon day. Harbour Town crazy busy with the registration of over 7000 athletes. Studio, amongst the building site, it’s own chaos.

Sensational flavours from the kitchen of Chef Hirsh. A chorizo and fish soup starter, before grilled lamb ribs with sliced cucumber and a yogurt and mint sauce. Grilled lamb with sweet potatoes done two ways and a green salad. Terry made her chocolate mouse. A cheese board with that last glass of wine. A magnum of ‘06 De Toren Fusion V from Craig’s cellar, scrumptious.

Bruised ribs and back muscles eased to the point that I was able to get down on the floor to finish the last bits on the Rhino Commission, which was greatly admired by the large numbers of people here for the Knysna Oyster Festival.

Wasn’t expecting the Orthopods diagnosis of another six weeks of my arm immobilized and three months for recovery. Properly smashed collar bone and almost ancient bones needIng time to settle

https://www.foodsunearthed.co.uk/recipe/fish-soup-chorizo/

SOLD

‘Storm Tossed’

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm

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