Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

 

Small painting of the Knysna Seahorses heading to its new home.
Chocolate Easter egg and red wine in a spot of sunshine, hiding from the wind that carries the cold of snow on the mountains.

My portrait of the ‘Herdsman’ not behaving. Colours that shade of muddy, without the lightness I was looking for. Giving it that overworked, flat look, rather than being fresh and dynamic. Perhaps, also the perspective of working on a large canvas?
A wine evening on Leisure that had Jan Boland Coetzee (Springbok rugby legend and wine master) from Vriesenhof as the speaker. It was fascinating to hear him talk about the French Huguenots who were resettled in the Cape (my Mums ancestors) from Holland as there were too many of them for Holland to absorb and they needed skilled people in the Cape.
Once the settlers knew they were coming, it still took 2 years for the ships to be built before they could leave Holland. During this time, they rooted fig, pomegranate and quince trees which they brought with them. Hence, many of the original Huguenot farms have orchids of fig, quince and pomegranate and they are busy looking at the DNA of old trees in the farms to try and trace where they originated.
The wines were excellent!
Finally sorted the shipment of paintings for China. Going to absorb the cost and at least know they will be delivered by professional art couriers. If there is a repeat order, ill manage that separately.
A tad chilly out of the sun and heading out for a jog was a much better idea than freezing on the bicycle. I can see my rides are going to be moving to the warmer afternoons.
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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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.
http://www.knysnaplettherald.com/news/Arts–Entertainment/Entertainment/186600/Artist-puts-heart-into-Knysna-community
Pincushion and Sugarbush Protea

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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


Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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. 

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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. 

Diary of an Adventure

Cape Town Adventure

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.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16188719


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.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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.


Amazing that a year has already passed in the studio!

Small paintings from the studio, ‘ Malachite sunbird’

Diary of an Adventure, Messing About with Paint

Harbour Town Adventures

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.

Raw Sienna mixed with rose and a touch of Naples yellow gold as the base colour for the portrait, with shades of Indian Red and Cobalt Blue grey.

My elbow complaining at the contortions.

Early summer days. Beach walk at first light. Paddling, with blue herons watching, in pure stillness. Feet pounding the brick paving alongside the lagoon. Braai fire creating a glow, adding to the fiery sunsets across the water. Owl hooting its greeting to those who pause long enough to listen. Pin-tail Whydah’s filling the air with attitude.
osbloodLimited edition, hand-crafted wines from Osbloed winery in Somerset West. Each with its unique story, and intriguingly different to those we normally drink.
The Knysna River glowing in the sunset. Red-bridge a shadow. A question, as to how would Jackson Pollack paint such a scene? Did his paintings have any compositional strategy (He famously said: “I don’t paint from nature, I am nature.”), or were they a random splattering of paint, without an underlying concept? “When I paint, I have a general notion.” Jackson Pollack 51. Colour as shape.
Can his ‘action technique’, as manifested in ‘drip painting’, be applied to my style, which is neat and compact (His were none of those things!)? Ever mindful of the person who came through the studio exclaiming ‘Thank goodness, not another #¥@! landscape!’.
The river, the flow between past, present and future. ‘The River does not flow, but the bridge does.’
Terry’s dinner menu full of Mediterranean flavours. An instant transportation that made one want to head off to Greece, Turkey or Morocco. Salmon ceviche starter (lime, orange, chilli and red onion), followed by grilled leg of lamb with roasted bringel and a yogurt sauce infused with turmeric, paprika, and mint.
Diary of an Adventure

Wilderness Adventures

 

Roger here from Switzerland and Dad and Mary down from Montagu for a family get together in Wilderness. The house in the nature reserve well appointed and spacious. The covered braai area perfect in the damp weather.
Pharaoh gallery, the paintings humming with energy from the walls. Bold sweeping strokes from the pallet knife on the large canvases, applied with precision, create minimalist portraits full of movement. The use of bright, surreal colours serve to arrest the eye and emphasis the beauty of the women in the paintings.
With rain threatening we stopped at Pomodoro for a light lunch. We could only manage to share the cheese and meat Antipasto, which the knowledgable, and attentive waiter, assured us would be perfect. The relaxed atmosphere ensured that a second glass of their generous house wine became necessary.
Face pink, sunny day exploiting my sunscreen lapse.
An unusual painting commission for the Knysna Antique Wooden Boat Festival poster, with precise guidelines that didn’t easily fit into my impressionistic, finger painting, style. The colours, vibrant. The setting, with the Knysna Yacht Club as a backdrop, special. The painting, challenging.
My painting, ‘Walking with Giants’, selected for the South African Charity Auction in London, crated and ready to be collected. My DIY limitations being tested as I look to keep the crate light but ensure the safety of the painting.
The studio has received 17 excellent reviews on TripAdvisor pushing us closer to the top 10 ranked attraction (ranked 17 out of 77) in Knysna. Currently, we are ranked 3rd out of 17 best shopping destinations, with the number 1 and 2 both in Sedgefield.