We Stand In Awe!

Witnessing Beauty

Monument To History

Turn On Your Light

Refreshing Moment

Australia Day

Ghostly Gum

Familiar Places – New Discoveries

Last weekend, we visited my Wife’s Parent’s place. They live 25km (15 miles) South East of Goulburn which is approximately 1 3/4 hours drive/166km (103 miles) away from where we live. Quialigo is located in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia.

We have had many visits there over the past 25 plus years and I always find a subject of photographic interest there. This time, even though I had my DSLR with me, I only shot with my phone camera.

I wasn’t out photographing very long and indeed, only went outside because I needed some fresh air as my eyes were starting to close, after lunch, as I did not get a good night’s sleep the previous night.

Mum and Dad have numerous trees on their 100 acre property, however, my attention was drawn to a section of tree that had toppled over.

It was only when you walked up close that the magnificent colours, patterns and detail came to light.

Here is what I saw.

The colours of the Australian Bush never cease to amaze me.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

9 January 2023

A Living Journal

Stillness Of The Morn

A Generous Gift – Italian Handmade Watercolour Paper

Last year, a good friend, business associate and mentor, left for a business trip over to Europe. On her return, She presented me with a gift, a pack of “Amalfi Hand Made Watercolour Paper.” Alison said she saw this paper and thought of me. Thanks, Alison!

I was indeed very grateful as for one, I wasn’t expecting a gift at all and certainly not a pack of fine Italian Watercolour Paper!

Last year was an extremely busy and life-changing year and I struggled (particularly in the latter half of the year) to find, not only quality time but the state I wanted to be in to try the paper.

Today, for my Day 1,431 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day, I thought I would do it. Today, is New Year’s Day Holiday in Australia (as NYD fell on a Sunday), so it seemed like the perfect time to try the paper.

When trying any new paper, I’ve read that it is a great idea to try some small samples so I cut one of the 30cm x 30cm sheets into 6 pieces and I shall use them for my next 6 Watercolour Sketches a Day. This way, I can see how the paper performs, how it takes water and colour etc.

I also thought I would sketch a subject I had done before. It will take time for me to get used to the paper as it is many steps up from what I have been using up till now.

Here is Day 1,431 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day.

Written by David Johnson

2 January 2023

Seeds

Life’s Score

Early Morning Walking

Over the past few days I’ve enjoyed walking down at the Camden Bike Track which is located alongside the Nepean River, not far from where we live. It has broken its banks no less than three times this year. We have recently moved here but we are up higher so hopefully, we are high enough.

It is Summer here in Sydney, Australia and we are located about 60km SW of Sydney. It was a cool December by our standards, and it has only been in the mid 30’s (Celsius) over the past week.

In those two walks, I walked a total nearly 10km and took some shots with the phone camera. I hope you enjoy them.

Written by David Johnson

28 December 2022

Stepping Into The Light

Feather Fountain Pen Set

One of the presents that I was very grateful to receive was a Feather Fountain Pen set. I had looked at these before and thought I might like one but wasn’t sure. They look unique though you cannot really try them in the shop so it seemed a bit of a gamble to buy one. I have two Fountain pens already, and not being a collector, I am very happy with the two pens, a Lamy Safari and a Waterman Hemisphere.

I used it for the first time last night and was very happy with how if felt in my hand, writing, in fact, I wrote a poem with last night. I also like the nib that was fitted to the pen, a Finer point. I love writing with Fine or Extra Fine nibs. As you can see, it comes with a selection of nibs and I am looking forward to trying them out.

There are more expensive Feather Fountain Pen sets available, however, I feel that this will be a great introduction to these type of writing tools. Looking forward to using it again.

Happy Writing All!

Written by David Johnson

26 December 2022

Rainbow Lorikeet

The Path

Natural Desire

Summer Beauties

Well, it’s been the best Spring/Summer for blooming Cacti flowers that I’ve had in quite a few years!

Here are a couple of more beauties…

The series of 3 images is from a Notocactus variation, and the Yellow flower is from an Echinopsis variation.

At the end of the flowering season I shall put together a post showing all the flowers that have bloomed from my Cacti and Succulents this time around.

Looking forward to the next beauty!

Written by David Johnson

15 December 2022

Rediscovery…

Towards Sundown

The Organic Artist

Last weekend on our anniversary celebration, I picked a book at a store in Berrima, N.S.W. called, ‘Six Impossible Things. Last year, I purchased a double-glass inkwell at the store and was delighted to see that they had moved to bigger premises.

Erica owns the store and is very helpful. I picked up a Postal dip pen nib and the book below.

The book seemed way too interesting to leave on the shelf. A few weeks back I was talking to a gallery director in Camden and he gave me a reed and showed me how to cut it so it could be used as a dip pen. Looking at my attempt I think I have more practice ahead of me. Oh well, something is worth doing badly until one becomes better at it.

In my limited look at the book since it appears to go a lot deeper into the technical details of creating such tools. I’m looking forward to exploring it more and having some more Arty fun!

Written by David Johnson

29 November 2022

Orange & Yellow

Say ‘Hello’ to my latest Cacti flowers, from my Parodia Mairanana!

I was walking up the side of the house (that we just moved to) and something caught the corner of my eye…it was the gorgeous colour of these flowers.

My Cacti and Succulents (before we moved) had grown to 160 plants. Some of them were duplicates, most not and I have realised that my hobby was getting out of hand. We intend to buy a house next year, however, after the latest move I have come to the conclusion that I need to downsize my collection.

We had a garage sale before moving and I sold/offloaded about 50 plants, reducing my collection to 110. This is still a lot of plants to move, particularly when you consider the size of some of the plants and the pots.

I am going to bite the bullet and pick out my favourite say, 30 plants and have another garage sale.

I also think that I am going to change direction slightly in terms I what future Cacti and Succulent plants I will buy, i.e., I think I will aim for the smaller, flowering plants. There will still be some columnar plants but mainly smaller Ball-type ones.

Written by David Johnson

28 November 2022

Berkeleouw’s Book Barn Treasure

As part of celebrating the anniversary of the very first time we went out to dinner (19 November 1994), we always pay a visit for a couple of hours to Berkeleouw’s Book Barn at Berrima.

Susan and I are bookworms and there is nothing better for bookworms than visiting a bookshop. Although the Book Barn has some new books, it predominantly has used books, which is part of what keeps us coming back.

This visit saw me purchase the following books:

I always seem to come away with at least one Poetry book, and in the last few years the Poetry books have outnumbered the Art-related books, but not this year.

The two Chinese Art-related books jumped out at me as next weekend, I am attending a workshop that is being run by Jo Wong Artist, who is also the new President of the Macarthur Art Group that will be joining shortly.

‘Poetry Now’ is actually a book of Poems where the authors were born within the first 30-40 years of the 20th Century and /Great Artists Explained’ was simply too good a book to leave on the shelf!

I look forward in the coming weeks to grab a cuppa and sit down and investigate all these books more.

Written by David Johnson

27 November 2022

Serene Green

A Day To Relax…

Today, Susan and I went down to Berrima, which is about 1 hour’s drive South of where we live, to celebrate 28 years since we went out to dinner for the first time way back on 19 November 1994. We were a week late in celebrating as we were moving house last week.

After all that has been happening in the last 4-5 months, it was delightful to get away for the day and relax.

As is normal, the first stop is Berkeleouw’s Book Barn which houses approximately 100,000 books. It used to be, however, the help the business survive, they kept a reduced amount of books and added Wedding Receptions, a cafe/restaurant, accommodation, and wine tasting to the business.

We spent just under two hours there and (in a separate post) I’ll talk about the books I purchased.

After Berkeleouws, we had a delicious lunch at Josh’s Cafe and Restaurant which is located in the actual town of Berrima. We have been eating there for many years and are always delighted with the food, service, and atmosphere.

From there, we ventured into a few shops (as we normally do), including ‘Mrs. OldBucks’ (jams, sauces, honey, teas, etc), ‘Six Impossible Things’ (various boutique items including writing materials, dip pens, ink, journals, books, and other tourist-inspired goodies). Our last stop was ‘Sticky Beaks Vintage Emporium which consists of a number of smaller antique sellers within a larger shop.

All-in-all a very relaxing day that helped us celebrate one of the most special days in our lives!

Looking forward to next year’s celebration!

Written by David Johnson

26 November 2022

Silent Decree

Latest Watercolour Sketches a Day!

Well, moving house is finally over. Now it’s just continuing to open boxes, sort, and set up the different rooms.

I’m a fair bit behind in posts for this month so I had ‘better get my skates on!’

I’ve included a few of my latest Watercolour Sketches a Day. That is all the art-related endeavour I have been able to do lately. Hope you enjoy them.

Day 1,386 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day
Day 1,390 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day
Day 1,391 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day

I’ve been trying to experiment with layers and letting the water do more of the work and I like the effects I am getting so I think I will head more in this direction.

Written by David Johnson

25 November 2022

More Beauties!

It has been a bit of a challenge posting in this past week as we are in the process of moving. Always a fun task, not!

Following on from my last post, I can excitedly report that two more of my Cacti and Succulents have flowered in the past week.

The first is an Aylosteria pulvinosa. It is only a small Cacti plant measuring 5cm across and has had pups and the flowers in the image are (apart from that flowered last week) the first full crop of flowers that this plant has produced.

The second plant to flower this week (in fact it bloomed today), is an Epiphyllum Hybrid which is sometimes mistakenly called a ‘Dragonfruit’ plant, according to the Cacti and Succulent Association of Australia. I joined the Society nearly 12 months ago and am learning a lot.

I love the rich, Red colour of this flower which really contrasts well against the Green foliage of the plant.

Two more beauties from my collection that have flowered so far in Spring.

I am so looking forward to the rest of Spring and Summer!

Written by David Johnson

12 November 2022

A Fleeting Beauty!

One of my other hobbies is Cacti and Succulents. As mentioned previously, I have had them as an interest for the last 45 years (since I was 14).

I’m not an expert by any means and although I collect them I do not regard myself as ‘true collector’, like a lot of the people that are in the Cactus & Succulent Society of Australia, which I joined during the last Covid lockdown in 2021.

I enjoy their uniqueness and beauty.

Yesterday, one of my Ball Cacti, of the Echinopsis variety, flowered for the first time ever and I thought that was worth of a post.

The stem of the flower has been growing for a number of weeks and leading up to the point of flowering, there is always great anticipation, particularly when you don’t know what colour the flower will be. I walked out the side door yesterday and upon walking past our cattery that holds our single Cat, Miri, the flower came into full view.

I never tire of this type of flower’s exquisite beauty! It begins to open nocturnally and we are blessed with its beauty in the morning. The flower only blooms for 24-48 hours, then its gone. A fleeting beauty.

Written and photographed by David Johnson

4 November 2022

Experimenting With Card Stock

Mostly when I do my Watercolour Sketch a day, I will use Watercolour paper (in a sketchbook), mixed media paper anywhere from 200 gsm to 300 gsm.

Occasionally, I’ll try a different type, and recently, I purchased some plain and some textured Card Stock. I intend to use it mainly for some junk journals I want to make however, today, I decided to use the Card stock in my Watercolour Sketch a day.

I quite like the way the paint moves around the paper. Below is Day 1,368.

Written by David Johnson

30 October 2022

Life’s Canvas

Reveal

Things That Attract My Eye – 3

Welcome to my third post of ‘Things that attract my eye’.

All of the images below were taken in the last couple of months on walks, excursions and as I go out my daily life. All were taken on my iPhone 8 Plus.

A famous Photographer was once asked, ‘What is the best camera to have?’ His answer was, ‘the one you have on you at the time…’. That was Chase Jarvis.

My interpretation of this comment is that we all probably wish that we could have our DSLR, Mirrorless or high-end compact camera with us every moment of the day to capture every beautiful image. This is often not possible, nor practical e.g., if I took my DSLR out on my early morning walk before I started running my business that day, my walk would take longer…and thus impact the running of my business.

With the phone camera, I just take a quick snap and I’m on my way as I have a certain amount of time allocated in the morning for exercise. That is the best camera to take the images on, given that circumstance.

Similarly, when I go out sketching, often, I will not take my DSLR with me as it can be a distraction.

Here are the latest things ‘that have attracted my eye’.

Written by David Johnson

23 October 2022

Written On A Whim

Ornaments On A Tree

Emotions React

Urban Sketchers Sydney – October Meet

Last Saturday, I went on my second Meet of the Urban Sketchers Sydney group. This time, the Meet was held in the grounds between the Sydney Town Hall and St Andrews Cathedral.

The main object of the day was to attempt a sketch of a moving subject, the newly built ‘Sydney Light Rail’, a red and deep grey, modern-style tram.

There were 40 or so Urban Sketchers in attendance and most started with the Light Rail as the subject. Quite a few of us went in the other direction and chose stationary subjects i.e. buildings or parts of buildings. I chose the side entrance/steps to the Sydney Town Hall.

Sydney Town Hall

To be honest, I found this subject challenging enough and when it started to rain a little it was even more challenging. After I finished this sketch, I did wander over to the Light Rail and started to sketch it. It was kind of weird how the subject kept disappearing… I didn’t get to finish the sketch at the time but it certainly was an interesting challenge and experience.

We then had the ‘Throw Down’ and once again it was marvellous to see all the different interpretations and styles of those present.

Throw Down

I am so glad that I came across this group on Facebook. Urban Sketchers Sydney is full of friendly and inspirational people and I am looking forward to attending my third Meet in November. I wonder where it will be? 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/groups/usksyd/about/

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 October 2022

Flow Of Life

Places To Learn

Sketching Loosely

The Sydney Urban Sketchers

NB: They are actually known as ‘Urban Sketchers Sydney’ however, Sketchers rhymes well with ‘adventures’
and it is the ‘adventure’ I’m writing about.

Expression

Sentinels In The Distance

The Canvas Is Awaiting…

My Creative Journey In Visual Art

My creative journey
Began with a camera
This went on for many years
I was an enthusiastic amateur

Joining and starting camera clubs
Was so much fun
I made many friends
My creative life had begun

I entered competitions and exhibitions
Sometimes I won
All in all
It was just good fun

Along the way
I became a Photographic Judge
Which gave me a different perspective
It gave my photography a nudge

Briefly, in the Nineties
I started to sketch
Though photography remained King
I felt the itch

I took a basic drawing course
In two thousand and ten
Three years later 
My photography business opened

The business ran 
For a couple of years
Then I decided 
To do something else

In the meantime my love
For sketching and painting had grown
It was battling photography
For the Title and Crown

Oil painting at that time
Was my preferred expression
It became my ‘go to’
My new expression

Joining Art groups
Has helped me to foster
My desire to create Art
They helped my creativity to prosper

Then I returned
To the first painting medium I tried
The one that had captured me 
That reminded me of Slides

Line and Wash 
Then caught my attention
It became part of me
A lifelike extension

A Watercolour sketch-a-day
Would give me loads of practice
It continues to this day
Feeding my Inner Sanctum

Oils too
Remain a passion
For me, I think
They’ll always be in fashion

Photography still
Has a special place in my Heart
It started my creative journey
Of me, it will always be a part

Though at this time
Sketching and Painting are my direction
They will for a long time
Have my attention

Written by David Johnson

22 September 2022

© CommunicatingCreatively/David Johnson 2022

Seeking To Engage

Renewal