Colours Of Life

Afternoon Delight

Promises

Renew

Echoes

The Journey Is Victory

Oh The Fun!

Last weekend, my Wife and I stayed with our friends at Millthorpe, NSW, Australia as my Wife had been invited to a Baby Shower in Bathurst, about 20 minutes drive away.

Whilst my Wife was at the party, I ventured into the CBD and started to look for a suitable subject to sketch and paint.

I came across a lovely-looking building with a dome which turned out the be the Courthouse however, I chose to sit in the park and view it from behind. I quite liked the busyness of the structures in front of it that were set against the backdrop of the dome.

For me, it was rather a challenging subject as I am still endeavouring to learn ‘how much I want to leave in or leave out?’ One of the other challenges I had on the day was it was quite chilly with a wind blowing. The light was just beautiful though, so I sat there and attempted to sketch and paint it, well my interpretation anyway…

I will definitely have another go at this subject at some point. It was the first time out using my new Winsor and Newton Field Kit which has a mix of Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith paints.

After I finished the sketch, I set off with my DSLR camera and (of course) my Phone camera to see what I could capture in the beautiful late afternoon light. Below is one example from the iPhone camera.

All in all, I had a very enjoyable couple of hours in the late afternoon light.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 May 2022

History Is Revived

On This Island…

A Norfolk Island “Lighter”

Well, the first question you might ask is…’What is a Lighter?’

A Lighter is a ‘shallow-draft boat or barge, usually flat-bottomed, used in unloading (lightening) or loading ships offshore’. Source: Brittanica.com

Norfolk Island has no harbour and the closest cargo ships can moor to it is about 1 kilometre (0.62 miles)

The cargo is lifted onto the Lighters and then the Lighters transport the goods to Kingston Pier. A further challenge is that, even at high tide, the water is only 1 metre (3.2 feet) deep so a high degree of seamanship is required.

We were fortunate even to see this careful practice take place in our second visit to Norfolk Island back in 2007.

I find the Lighters to be a fascinating subject, particularly the ones that are no longer in service. There are 3 at Kingston, placed on land to add to the character of an already stunningly beautiful area. Oh, the stories I bet they could tell!

For me, they are one of my favourite subjects on Norfolk Island and have inspired me in terms of photography, sketching, painting and poetry.

Here are few examples:

Till next time!

Written, photographed, sketched and painted by myself.

23 April 2022

A Chance Today

Golden Glow

No. 7

Relaxation That Follows/Waiting For Inspiration

As my Followers would be aware, recently my Wife and I went to Norfolk Island. Since returning from Paradise it ‘has been all go’ though strangely (but no surprise) I have felt a greater sense of relaxation throughout this busy time. I put that down to the way of life that is Norfolk Island.

Anson Bay, Norfolk Island

I have felt this way before after both our previous trips to the Island. It is hard to imagine unless you have experienced it but as soon as you step off the plane on Norfolk Island a wave of relaxation washes over you. Each time upon returning home, that relaxation has followed me.

We have been very busy since our return (even though the sense of relaxation remained)…

  • Our Finance Broking business is growing more and more/more enquiries since our return
  • I am also part of an emerging BNI (Business Network International) business breakfast referral group
  • Doing training/education associated with both of the above
  • I continue to do my Entrepreneurship Facilitator role (mentoring start-up businesses)
  • My Watercolour Sketch a Day project continues
  • I am gearing up to have a stall for my Watercolours down at Red Point Artist Association in May
  • Still involved with Toastmasters (though have only made it to one meeting)
  • Judging at one of the local Photographic Societies
  • Catching up with Family/Friends

One thing that had not happened since my return was ‘my morning writing time’, or indeed much writing time at all. It is a bit of a culture-shock to come back from such a relaxing holiday and jump headlong into being so busy but ‘life waits for no-one!’ I usually enjoy an hour or two on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning. Sometimes, it is later in the day.

I haven’t put many poems on the blog since my return almost 6 weeks ago. It is probably (since I started writing poetry in 2013) the longest writing break I’ve experienced since then.

For a moment there I started to think that maybe ‘my poetry writing had run its course…’. This morning (Good Friday here in Australia), I finally felt like picking up my trusty Fountain Pen and started to write, inspired by a photo I took whilst on Norfolk Island. A short, twelve-line poem came out, then a sixteen-line one, then an eight-line one, all of which I will upload.

Sometimes I guess, we just have to let ‘Nature take its course…’. The seeds of the Poems were there…I just had to be patient and wait for the inspiration to come…

Till next time!

Written and Photographed by David Johnson

15 April 2022

The Bounty Folk Museum

Norfolk Island has a number of great museums as it has a very rich history, maritime and otherwise.

Of course one of the most famous aspects of its history is the fact that the Bounty Mutineer descendants made their home on Norfolk island after transferring from Pitcairn Island. There also had been a Polynesian Settlement before Captain Cook arrived and two Penal Colonies prior to arrival of Bounty Mutineer descendants.

The Bounty Folk Museum is situated at Middlegate, on the way to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Kingston and Arthur’s Vale if you are heading there from Burnt Pine, the main shopping centre on the Island.

On http://www.norfolkisland.com.au The Bounty Folk Museum is described as ‘A treasure chest of history, an Aladdin’s cave full of fantastic collections, excellent learning resources and inspiring information …’.

We visit The Bounty Folk Museum every time we go to Norfolk Island and each time, we allow 2-3 hours time to explore. It is much bigger than it looks from the outside.

Rather than me try to explain what you will find there, have a look at the images below. It is absolutely fascinating! The following images do not show all the rooms there.

This museum is very much on the ‘must do’ list when you are visiting Norfolk Island!

Till next time!

Written and Photographed by David Johnson

14 April 2022

“A New Heaven – The Norfolk Poems” – Mark Tarren

Regular readers of my blog will be aware of my love of writing Poetry and collecting books on Poetry that inspire and delight me.

On our recent trip to Norfolk Island, I was pleased to not only pick up a copy of Mark Tarren’s latest book but also actually get to meet the Author himself.

I first heard about the book from Mary Beth Tarren (Mark’s Wife) in a chance meeting outside Mary’s “Aunt Mary’s Kitchen” cafe/restaurant. Everyone is so friendly on Norfolk Island so it is easy for conversations to get started.

During the conversation, Mary mentioned that her husband had written a Poetry book relating to Norfolk Island. It wasn’t long before I came across the book as it is in several outlets on the Island.

I was quite impressed with the writing. One can sense the deep emotional impact that living on Norfolk Island has had on Mark and I am very pleased to add it to my collection.

For me (as a 3rd time visitor to Norfolk) it was also another way of ‘taking a bit more of Norfolk Island back home with me…’. Over the three trips we have brought back all sorts of souvenirs from this piece of Paradise, including “Morla el Do” a collection of Poems by another Norfolk Island resident, Archie Biggs.

There are all sorts of souvenirs one can bring home from a holiday to remind us of the wonderful times we have had however, to bring home words written in such fine style by a Poet with images that complement those words, is to bring home something special from the Heart of a resident.

To find out more about the book and Mark Tarren, please click on the following link:

https://www.marktarren.com/a-new-heaven

Happy Reading!

Written by David Johnson

3 April 2022

See a previous article on my blog for the list of Poetry books I have: https://communicatingcreatively.com/2021/11/29/a-growing-collection/

‘Post’ Norfolk Island Watercolour Sketches

A couple of posts ago, I highlighted the sketches that I did each on Norfolk Island using the Sennelier Student Watercolour paints.

Upon arriving home (to presently), all my ‘Watercolour Sketch a Day’ efforts have been from reference photos that I took whilst away on holiday (25th Wedding Anniversary). As you can see, I’m very much in love with Norfolk Island and have been ever since our first visit in 1997 (Honeymoon). This was further strengthened by celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary there in 2007.

At home (currently) I am using Winsor and Newton Artist quality paints and so I thought I would post a few of my Watercolour sketches that I have completed since my return.

It really is a fascinating place, and one I’ll be continuing to use for inspiration for many years to come. We are looking forward to going to other places for sure, like Hawaii and New Zealand, but a 4th trip to Norfolk Island is certainly ‘a given.’

Written and Sketched by David Johnson

2 April 2022

Mother Nature’s Hand

Light That Inspires!

Over the years, both as an enthusiast Photographer (entering competitions up to International level) and Photographic Judge (up to National level), I have been asked, ‘what is your favourite subject?’

I imagine that people are expecting me to say things like, ‘landscapes, seascapes, people, architecture etc’.

My answer is simply, ‘light and its effect on subjects’.

Light of course needs shadow to create contrast so maybe I should say that my favourite subject to photograph is, ‘light and shadow and their effect on subjects’.

Here are a few images of ‘light and shadow’ that inspired me on our recent trip to Norfolk Island.

Till next time!

Written & Photographed by David Johnson

30 March 2022

Holiday Inspiration!

One of the many benefits of our recent trip away to Norfolk Island was the ‘change of scenery’ in regards to the type of subject matter I had been sketching/painting since I started this journey.

I had been doing a lot of sheds, houses, the odd seascape/landscape, farms and trees. Many were inspired by tutorials, (my own) reference photos, free images of my imagination. There were not a lot from ‘plein air’ sketching.

Whilst I was away, I did some rough pencil sketches in an A5 Moleskine sketchbook, took some reference photos and also kept up my Watercolour Sketch a Day practice however, I chose to use a different paint brand/quality. I took away a Sennelier Student half-pan set. It was a bit of a challenge as I limited myself to only 12 colours and they had some different shades to what I was/am using with the Winsor and Newton Artist quality half-pans.

Sennelier Student Half-Pans

It forced me to think differently in terms of mixing eg for shadows. Normally, I would use Ultramarine Blue and Sepia however, I did not have these colours available so I had to work to explore a different option.

Below, I’ve included the Watercolour Sketch a Day’s I did on the trip.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

27 March 2022

Signal

The Old Lighter

Island Fish Fry – A Sumptuous Experience!

There are many interesting tours to do on Norfolk Island. One of our favourites (we’ve done it every time we’ve visited) is the ‘Pine Tree Tours Island Fish Fry’ located at ‘Orn Da Cliff’.

Imagine eating freshly caught fish that is barbecued on a clifftop and served with loads of traditional Norfolk Island food whilst the Sun sets in the background…

All this whilst being entertained by Trent Christian, and 8th descendant of Fletcher Christian (from the Mutiny On The Bounty), singing and playing his guitar and also having a demonstration from the Baunti (Bounty) Beauties performing Norfolk Polynesian dancing.

It is great also to meet other visitors to the Island and share some stories of your trip adventures so far and you will probably run into them from time-to-time through your holiday.

The food was delicious, including traditional desserts washed down with a wine or a beer or non-alcoholic beverages. It’s hard to get across in words so I think I’ll let the images do the talking from here, although one final recommendation is ‘go to Norfolk Island and sample it for yourself!’

Written by David Johnson

12 Mar 2022

Renewal

Outside World, Inside View

Norfolk Island – Paradise!

On 18 February 2022, my Wife, Susan and I headed off to one of our favourite places to go for a holiday, Norfolk Island for 10 nights. It was our third trip there.

View from Queen Elizabeth Lookout over Quality Row (part of Kingston World Heritage site), the Golf course and Nepean and Phillip Islands.

Norfolk Island is located 1,766 kilometres (1,097 miles) North East of Sydney, Australia and there are only two flights in and out per week. The Island itself is an external territory of Australia that was gifted to Australia by the British Commonwealth back in 1913. It became self-governing in 1979 but then in 2015 the Australian Government took over control.

There have been 4 settlements on the Island. Archaeological evidence suggests the the Polynesians were there between (c.1150 and c.1450 AD), then in 1788 the British arrived on Norfolk Island and a Penal colony existed till 1814, then was closed down. A while later, another Penal colony was established and that was closed down in 1856.

Gallows Gate – New Gaol – Penal Settlement

The ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ also had a part to play as, after the Mutiny, Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers ended up taking The Bounty to Pitcairn Island (some 7,000+ kilometres East of Sydney). Descendants of the mutineers then settled on Norfolk Island in 1856 and descendants of the 8 families are still on Norfolk Island to this day.

As mentioned, this is our third visit there, the first being our Honeymoon in 1997, then for our 10th Wedding Anniversary in 2007. This time it was for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and we will definitely be going back again.

Susan and a Moreton Bay Fig Tree
at ‘100 Acres’.

The Island is only 34.6 square kilometres (13.36 square miles) in area and is 8km (4.97 miles) wide and 5km (3.1 miles) long however, in three visits there we have not seen it all or done everything there is to do there. It is such and amazing place that caters for all interests and tastes. Whether you are a history buff, like to relax, sketch, paint, photograph, play sports (including Golf), swim, surf, snorkel, read, kayak, paddle-board, fish, hike, go out to restaurants, live bands or shop, there is something for everyone.

Sunset at Puppy’s Point

Over the ensuing weeks (or longer), I will be writing some articles based on our experiences on this Island paradise.

As the Island’s advertising slogan states, ‘There’s more to Norfolk Island.’

Written by David Johnson

5 March 2022

Norfolk Island Is

Surroundings

Handprints On A Wall

Looking To Stretch Myself!

Aside from doing my Daily Art Practice aka a Watercolour Sketch a Day (mostly A5 size), for a while now I’ve been doing A4 size Watercolours. In my daily art practice I try new things (and make lots of mistakes) and occasionally, I will do one that I would like to do a larger version of. I still make mistakes when I do the larger ones, though. I’ve never agreed with ‘practice makes perfect’, I think it should be ‘practice makes better’. Hopefully, over time I will continue to get better!

I’m looking to stretch myself in my Art-practice at every opportunity.

  • Arto Watercolour Paper 300gsm Cold Pressed Medium Surface – 100% Cotton Acid Free
  • Winsor and Newton Artists paints
  • Neef brushes
  • Manuscript Dip-pens
  • Art Spectrum Artists Pigmented Black ink

These are my latest:

“Reeds In The Snow”
“Barren”
“Coastal Wash”
“Dreaming”
“On The Coast”
“Cliff-face”

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

February 2022

Transformation

A Favourite Spot!

A favourite spot I (we) like to go to relax is only about 8 minutes drive from where we live. The Nepean River wanders through the Camden District (N.S.W. Australia) and it is at its widest going through Camden.

There exists a lot there to please people and caters for a diverse amount of interests. You can:

  • Have a leisurely walk on man-made paths or go off-track
  • Kayak/Canoe up and down the river
  • Go for a quick dip (no sand on the bank, though)
  • Ride your bike along a designated Bike track
  • Sit by the river with a book
  • Sketch, Paint, Photograph
  • Play ball games with your friends and family
  • Exercise in a number of ways
  • Take your children to the permanent Play equipment or kick a ball
  • Just relax

We use it to go and relax, go for a walk and other things. I’ve been down there to sit and read, walk, sketch, paint or just sit and relax. When Susan comes with me she will either take a book or Crotchet.

Our most recent visit was just to sit and relax on one of the benches by the river. We were joined by i/2 dozen Lizards, a few Ducks and cooling breeze on a hot day for an hour or so. We are certainly blessed to have such a place so near to us.

Till next time!

Written by David johnson

16 February 2022

Expressing Oneself

Daily Art Practice Continues…

Since reaching Day 1,091 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day (3 years) recently, I’ve been endeavouring to do less tutorials and using reference photos, i.e. do original sketches. When time permits, I will do ‘on-site’ sketches. Most of these will probably be done on weekends.

Here are a few of my latest sketches.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

13 February 2022

I Climbed Upon A Mountaintop

Time Alone With Books

Horizon

My 1st Junk Journal

Over time, I’ve been using and researching different types of Journals and of course (as many have discovered) have found out that there’s no such thing as ‘the perfect bought journal’.

It seems the best way to is to make your own. I’ve been watching plenty of YouTube videos, looking at examples online etc and recently, decided to take the plunge.

I chose a rather simple version to start and purchased Watercolour paper, card stock, different weights of paper plus I already had some Calligraphy paper. I decided to start off with an A5 Journal made up of 20 folded A4 sheets. For the cover I’ve used the promo backing cardboard from a packet of Certificate paper. I intend on pasting images on the cover later.

Instead of glueing the signature in, I chose to attempt to sew it instead. I haven’t had much practice at sewing in my life and I am reasonably happy with the result, though I think I can do better next time.

I am pleased to have finally made one as I had been thinking about doing it for some time.

The next thing was to decide actually what to put in it as I hadn’t really decided what the Journal was for…in terms of a theme. I write Poetry and do Watercolour and Line and Wash, normally so I thought a good place to start was to include some images related to the tools I use for create images.

I’m really enjoying my 1st Junk Journal and I already have plans to make more, including one with two or three signatures. Till next time.

Keep creating!

David Johnson

January 2022

New Day

1,091 Days and Counting…My Daily Art Practice

Today marks the 3rd anniversary since I started my ‘Daily Art Practice’ of a ‘Watercolour Sketch a Day’. For my 1,091st day I decided to sketch/paint a subject that I really seem to enjoy, a Lighthouse.

“Afternoon On The Coast”

One day, I will gather up all my Lighthouse sketches and put them in a blog post for no other reason than to see them altogether. I think it would be fun!

Looking back, I was pleased to do 7 days in a row and when I reached 1 month I really had no expectations of being able to keep up this daily Art practice for 1 year, yet alone 3.

My goals for the ‘Daily Art Practice’ were:

  • Aim to do one Watercolour Sketch a day (and look no further than that)
  • Be a Sponge
  • Improve my skills through practice
  • Lean from my mistakes
  • Practice, practice, practice!

I don’t believe I am ‘naturally talented’ in sketching and painting. Like all children I did draw at school and at home though I am not one of those Artists ‘who have been drawing/painting all throughout their life’, studied Art and are now full-time Artists. (I’m actually a Mortgage Broker and co-run our business with my Wife, Susan and have an additional Mentoring role for Small Business startups. I’m also involved in Toastmasters {Public Speaking}, and BNI {Business Networking}, as well as two other associations).

From 1982 – 2016 I was firmly entrenched in Photography. In the 1990’s, I briefly had an interest in drawing but that didn’t last long as Photography was ‘still King’. In 2010, I took a basic Drawing course and began dabbling in Watercolour (briefly) before dabbling in Acrylic and Oil over the years. In 2016, I decided to concentrate on Oils but it seemed difficult to find the time, consistently.

In 2018, I rediscovered Watercolour though finding the time seemed difficult again. I had a ‘real desire’ to learn it and started looking for ways to allocate more time to it and was (over the course of time) attracted as well to Line and Wash. On Australia Day, 26 January 2019 I decided to aim to do a Watercolour Sketch a Day.

Along the journey so far I’ve:

  • Learnt about some sketching, drawing and painting techniques
  • Colour mixes
  • Brush use
  • Colour Theory
  • Made an innumerable amount of mistakes
  • Increased my belief in myself that I can do this
  • Sold 3 A4 paintings (unexpected)
  • Joined Red Point Artists Association, Port Kembla
  • Made some great connections through Art groups

What’s next?

Well, I still have a lot to learn (and there’s more fun to have) so tomorrow I’m aiming to a Watercolour Sketch and the day after, another one…

My Daily Art practice with Watercolour has also re-inspired my Oil Painting practice so I am aiming to allocate time to that on a regular basis now and am planning to enter some Art Exhibitions and submit my own Art to the next Members Exhibition of the Red Point Artists Association.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

26 January 2022

My Watercolour Sketch a Day images can be found at:

https://www.instagram.com/communicatingcreatively/

My larger paintings can be found at:

https://www.instagram.com/light.inspired/

Clearing The Cobwebs

Calming Influence

Performances

Some Old Favourites

Although I have been concentrating on Sketching and Painting in the last 3-4 years, Photography remains very dear to my Heart and I look forward this year to upgrading my current equipment etc and going in a different direction, photographically, i.e. away from DSLR’s to Mirrorless, but the first point of call will be a higher end compact. Long-gone are the days when I would carry 2 x SLR/DSLR bodies, 4 lenses and more.

I was thinking about photography today and I thought I would revisit some of my earlier, pre-Digital images. All the images below were taken on photographic Slides, Fujichrome Sensia ISO 100 rated at 125. I hope you enjoy them.

Written by David Johnson

9 January 2022

Mental Holiday

to tweeze or not to tweeze – yes, tweeze!

As mentioned previously on this Blog, I am a Cactus and Succulent enthusiast but certainly not an expert in this area. I was given a Euphorbia Succulent by my Aunt Beryl in 1977, when I was 14 and, if you’ll pardon the pun, my interest grew from there.

A few years back I had a 35square metre Cacti and Succulent garden. Currently, all my plants are in pots as we live in a different place, though when we move in the next two years I feel sure I will have a combination of a garden and pots.

One of the challenges regardless of where they are planted is weeds. Some Cacti (particularly) are harder to weed than others which gives rise to another problem i.e. the enthusiast getting stabbed (usually more than once) with Cacti spines. These spines can range from less than a millimetre or two to over three centimetres long, and regardless of the size, they are all quite painful. Sometimes, you cannot see them with the naked eye.

So, what is the solution or workaround?

Gloves are the obvious thought, however, trust me, they offer little protection against the stronger spines i.e. the spine will go straight through them. Maybe a pair of flexible Kevlar gloves would be good…

I often weed in and around Cacti bare-handed and work slowly, methodically and carefully as I can though even then I still get stabbed and sometimes you cannot see the spine or it may have broken off inside your skin…but you can certainly feel it…

In the event of getting stabbed by a smaller spine, and particularly ones not visible to the naked eye, I have a bottle of Ichthammol 25% w/w Drawing Ointment at the ready. As it says on the bottle, it is a ‘Drawing Ointment’ meaning you apply a small amount to the area where the spine went in and it draws it out overnight. Just pop a bandaid loosely over the affected area and next morning the spine is magically gone!

Not surprisingly, I get a lot of use out of this product…maybe too much!

I have also tried using a pair of Long-Nosed Pliers with varying degrees of success.

This Christmas, my Wife Susan surprised me with an additional mini-present within my actual present and it was a set of unusually long pair of straight and angle ‘Tweezers’ for pulling out weeds around Cacti that she had stumbled across online. There are 27cm in length and made of steel.

I road-tested these last weekend and must say that I am delighted with them. One of the Cacti I have the most trouble weeding is from the Echinopsis family, pictured below. The weeds seem to come up between the ‘Balls’ of Cacti and can be most difficult to remove. Today it was relatively easy.

Obviously, the goal is not to let the weeds get as bad as this but as usual, life gets in the way sometimes or it rains for long periods or we get so busy etc.

Now that I am armed with these tools I just need to ‘get onto the weeds’ before they get too big and unwieldy. At least now, I can look forward to my hands getting punctured less. That is, in itself a great way to start a New Year!

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

What opportunities await

cherished rendezvous

our new campaign

discovery & adventure

One of the presents I was very grateful to receive yesterday for Christmas was the book pictured below. I had spotted it in my local Art store and (as usual) when approaching Christmas, my Wife, Susan said ‘do you have any ideas for presents just in case anyone in the family is stumped for what to buy you?’

I only started keeping a sketchbook regularly at hand in the past 3-4 years and have been searching around for ‘that elusive all-purpose sketchbook’ that apparently does not exist.

We are so spoilt for choice these days in terms of Art supplies, including sketchbooks, not so in days gone past.

The book is beautifully presented and highlights 70 Explorers and what they used to document their journeys and their discoveries. The sketchbooks go back as far as the 1600’s to the 21st century.

I imagine they were ‘not spoiled for choice’ back then in terms of sketchbook and paper types. I think sometimes ‘we have too many choices’ and ‘get too wrapped up’ in the myriad of tools available. Maybe we should apply the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple) method more often?

I am looking forward to diving in to read about not only the Explorer’s adventures but also what they used to record their adventures and discoveries. It is going to be a fascinating journey!

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

26 December 2021