A still evening after a few days of storms, including lightning and thunder as the gods threw a hissy. The rain ensuring that I had puddles to splash through on my jog.
Bouquet garni, with herbs from the small patio garden pots, for the lamb shanks in anticipation of cold, rainy weather. Red onions with Gorgonzola cheese and broccoli. Crôzes-Hermitage from the cellar at J9 scrumptious!
The moon, full and clear over the waters of the estuary, with the owl hooting. The Forest ensnared in mist, amongst which giants lurked. Mud replacing the soft sand, making for fast, breath catching, cycling. Cleaning the bicycle almost as much effort as the cycle.
While I struggle to find an inexpensive way to send a shipment of paintings to China by sea, my new portrait, the Herdsman, on an intimidating large square canvas is taking shape. Probably need to rethink my canvas sizes to make shipping less expensive and cumbersome. I did manage to complete a small painting of Sugarbush and Pincushion Protea that I had originally thought would go onto a larger canvas.
Moulin-a-Vent, a Beaujolais crus was sublime. Particularly in front of a cosy fire on a stormy evening. Despite the strong flavours in the chorizo and bean soup that Hirsh served, the deceptively robust Gamay grape held its own.
Great article (written by Marielle) on my Homeless of Knysna series of paintings. Particularly important as with winter approaching, the feeding scheme that supports the homeless, and where I get many of my subjects needs increased publicity and support.
Pincushion and Sugarbush Protea
Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm
Golden sunsets. A chill to the air. Heralding a hint of summers end. The wind, exhausted by summer. Content to rest early. Red wine and pizza. The fire stirring.
But for now, it has a bird trapped behind the glass. Yelling it’s indigence when the door is opened and it flits to freedom. Perhaps a nest in the chimney, not the best idea?
The climb out of from the river crossing over the Gouna Pass, testing strength and bike handling skills, with the surface loose and the gradient, that touch, beyond steep. Fortunately, the reverse climb from the river up to Simola, through the indigenous forest, was spectacular.
My new DMR flat pedals have been delivered. The anodized blue lugs not quite in keeping with the red of the super-fast hardtail that I ride. Menacing, the large surface area means that if you do let your feet bounce from the pedals, they connect your shin on the next revolution.
Portrait of the ‘GuitarMan’, dark and somber. The lightness of the Sunshine Coast not, at this point, coming through the painting.
I used a ‘scratching’ technique for the beard of the portrait. My fingernails tearing chunks out of the paint layers. An abstract interpretation for the guitar neck so as not to distract from the portrait.
There is a whisper of moon in the evening sky. An early evening after a fabulous rack-of-lamb braai, and a great Shiraz from Graceland. The smooth spicy flavours waving their magic through the smoky lamb.
For the lamb, after the fire in the Weber was ready, I put the lid on and heated the Weber for 15 minutes before putting in the rack. 5 minutes on direct heat with the bones down, before turning them onto their fat edges over the coals for a further ten minutes. Another five to ten minutes on the bones (depending on how pink you want the meat) and they were ready.
My muscles slowly stiffening after a tumble on my jog. Tripped while heading out and not paying attention to where I was putting my feet. Skinned my knee and trashed my phone, which was in my hand. In mitigation, the morning was cool and my ankles were stiff at the start of my jog. Not much of an excuse, I know. Fortunately nothing broken. Other than my phone!
Knysna Seahorse Series
Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm
The combination of an oxygen high at first light dashing through the forest, combined with the smell of freshly cut pine and red wine still pumping through your veins must be close to the ‘Exilir of Life.’
On a perfect evening the ‘Open Studio’ brought a bunch of new people to the studio, with lively discussion on technique, subject matter, material and the dichotomy of creating and selling art. We made a great deal of noise far into the night.
The studio has been a tad hectic, with paintings needing to be wrapped, shippers organised, invoices sorted amongst the seemingly endless flow of wine. With a bunch of the small paintings having been sold, I’m painting a new series of elephants from the Knysna Elephant Park, as well as Knysna sea-horses. In addition, I’m getting my head around the portrait of the Guitar Man. Cool colours of Cobalt Teal, Rose Madder Carmine and Cerulean Blue for the background, with the warmer Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna as a dark brown for the eyes.
A bunch of Chinese in the studio looking for artists for an art exhibition that is being planned for China later in the year. With the increase in Chinese tourists and their culture of bargaining everything to death, they have been difficult to deal with. Hence, anything I can learn about such a different market will be useful.
I’ve also been sloppy about keeping an email list updated and active, which was a problem for the Open Day, as there have been a number of people who have purchased my work who did not know about it.
Somehow the evening of Wine Tasting resulted in a fair bit of blood during the short night, getting to bed a touch before midnight with the rain teaming down. Woke a bit before the alarm and decided I didn’t want to brave the mud up Phantom. It was tempting as I have a pair of flat-pedals and ‘five-ten’ shoes to try. I put the pedals on the bicycle and whizzed about a bit. They look impressive and are a big improvement on the ones I had. Haven’t tried the shoes yet. My jog was enjoyable, with only a few squeaks from my Achilles.
Friday Market. Flavoursome, spicy curry with a fabulous chocolate roulade starter.
Blood. Seemingly a standard at the end of each ride. The bouncing across corrugated roads throwing my feet from the pedals. Sudden stops caused by that unexpected rocky incline and the wrong gear selection. Loosing concentration at the end of a ride while parking the bike. A gazillion reasons that have me searching the ‘flats’ vs ‘clipless’ pedals debate.
First jog after shredding my toe. The storm keeping me cool. The wind, hectic. My bothersome Achilles mostly behaving
The waters of the lagoon, an armada of sails, as the annual regatta gets underway. The wind, playing with the yachts as they fight to stay upright in the squalls. Rescue boats buzzing about catching the drifting boats.
My painting confined to bits of wood to build a picket fence. Storage for the fireplace wood the objective. Carpentry skills not my best.
Studio busy. A new series of small elephant paintings, based on the Elephant Sanctuary. Most of the small elephant paintings have sold as have a couple of bigger paintings. Memories heading to new homes, which is both special and a tad, nostalgic.
After a couple of gentle cycles, I headed out on Hirsh’s route. Simola as a starter with the Gouna Pass as desert and a nasty climb towards Kom se Pad in between. Exhausting. A tad much for my fitness levels. Made enjoyable by the beautiful forest after the rain. That the last bit is downhill certainly helps.
Ashton, outside the Route 62 Station where we stopped to peruse the Robertson wine selection (Balthazar Wild Yeast Chardonnay bubbles – outstanding, Du Von old vine Chenin – excellent value, and Lord’s Pinot Noir). Our car-gaurd, John Terblanche, unflinching in the searing temperatures, toughened in the diamond soils of Kimberly. He was happy to pose for his portrait, which I hope to have on the easel soon.
Early walk in the mountains behind Montagu. The cloud cover keeping the heat from broiling us as we made our way along the contour path to Piet se Pad. Fires have destroyed much of the vegetation, which also cleared the views across the valley.
Schoone Oordt Country House with a cup of tea after an earlyish swim. It’s one of those grand old Georgian houses that has an annex of new rooms that are carefully designed and cater for every comfort. The white everything a tad uncomfortable for my ability to get blood and red wine on things! The duo of lamb, scruptious.
Ile de Pain has braai wood bundles with proportions of different wood types for that perfect braai fire. The fire roared, which brought the security guards running thinking I was burning down the apartment. However, it settled down into red coals that not only did our fillet but could have been used for a dozen braai’s.
Waking to the ringing of church bells, after the evening call to prayer ended the day. Soulful comfort carried on the wind lowing out of clear skies.
Our Airbnb accommodation in Fishhoek, spotless and comfortable. Within easy walking distance of the beach and a short commute to Lesa and Alan’s new home in Kommetjie. Special times, particularly with the changes ahead.
Kalkbay. Unexpected installation art of butterflies against the wall at the Olympia Cafe. Flights of fantasy. The art galleries less exciting.
Good food at Live Bait, the sea at our feet with a spectacular sunset. The service beyond terrible.
Hole in my hand trying to catch a wine glass that I somehow managed to knock over. One of those, double bounces that ended up in spraying glass shards across the floor. At least there wasn’t wine in the glass, and the blood didn’t add to the mess.
Newstead Wine Estate on a day of storms. Blazing fire that touch of magic. The meticulous vineyards evident in the delightful Sauvignon Blanc and the bubbles full of joyful abandon. Fresh bread, cheese and a crispy walnut and pear salad made for a fabulous lunch.
Van Gogh sitting on my shoulder as I fought with the sunflowers in my painting ‘Sunday Commute’ of the old man on his bicycle. Thrilled that it’s Sold and will be heading to its new home in France, together with the painting of the Irises.
Squeezed between ‘Very Sexy’ and ‘Nudity’, was ‘S&M’! Such, the wines of our Shiraz tasting, on a long hot summer day, with a cooling breeze. Exactly, the conditions for savoury, rich, intoxicating Shiraz. Spicy pulled-pork, served with gnocchi and an avo, salsa salad, the carefully thought out meal from Suyenne. While at the Kleine Zaltze family reserve was the star, the Very sexy Shiraz from Cloof was the easiest drinking and outstanding value.
The sun called us out to play on the beach. The first footprints of the day as the tide left behind its pristine playground.
Whole grilled pumpkin on the Weber was a bit of a disaster, as it was actually a big squash, that disintegrated into a pile of watery mush when I tried to take it off the grid. Coreta rescued it by taking the flesh out, mixing it with feta and putting it in the oven. So delicious after all! Clare did a berry, mango, cream and yogurt dessert. Perfect after the fillet.
We moved the table onto the patio as the sunset and watched the lights come on over the water. Very special and quite unbelievable. The owl stopping past to join the fun.
Fighting with my painting of an elephant herd heading to the water at Addo. The smaller canvas size making it difficult not to have rock-type blobs, rather than elephants. The background, overpowering the composition.
Small paintings from the studio, ‘ Malachite sunbird’
Portrait of ‘The Fisherman’ finished. Tossed on the sea of life. His hoody, a halo of protection, insulating him. Retreating into the anonymity of its darkness. Within which his eyes stare unwaveringly at the hostile environment within which the homeless exist.
My elbow complaining at the contortions.