The Journey Has Begun…

As long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed looking at Art, particularly Paintings.

Many hours have been spent visiting Art Galleries, viewing books, magazines on Art and Art images on the Internet. I love investigating the different Styles and Movements that have (& are being created).

Prior to 2010 I hadn’t really given much thought to actually picking up a brush, except that I thought I might ‘have a go’ when I retired. ‘Out of the blue’ I decided to take a 6 week drawing course at a small Art Gallery about half an hour from home.

I learnt there that I (apparently) draw by line instead of tone and had a wonderful time drawing on A5 to A2 paper using Graphite pencil and Charcoal on subjects such as Architecture, Head & Shoulder Life Portraits and Nature.

It was after the Drawing course that I started to get interested in actually trying my hand at painting. I started playing around with Watercolour. At this point I did not even realise that Watercolour is considered to be the hardest medium. From there I ventured onto Acrylic and enjoyed playing with that, though after talking to the owner of a local Art store I decided to try Oil painting.

I am enjoying Oil painting immensely! I have not had any lessons at this point in time, just tips from my Brother, my Mother-In-Law and a couple of friends. Other influences are the copious amounts of Art books I borrow from the local library, magazines and You Tube videos.

At some point I do intend having some official lessons but for the moment I am enjoying exploring, experimenting and having fun. Sometimes I try to paint from a reference photo and other times from my imagination. I think the latter is my favourite.

Oil painting has become another ‘escape’ for me, much like the other forms of communication found in this blog. It allows me to leave ‘reality’ and it refreshes me.

Sometimes, I can vividly see the scenes that I would like to create via painting, but my technical skill is a fair way behind where it needs to be to be able to replicate what I see in my mind. In time I hope it catches up! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the place I am at and look forward to the journey of self-discovery and learning.

Here are a few examples of of my paintings thus far…

Written by David Johnson
30 August 2015

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Two More Lessons Learned or ‘How I Managed To Get Through Speech Project #4 Alive!?’

Over the course of my time as a member of Toastmasters International, I have learnt many, many things to help me communicate better in my speeches, presentations, evaluations and endeavour to become a better leader. I still have a lot learn as well.

On joining Toastmasters you receive two Manuals, the Competent Communicator manual (10 speeches) and the Competent Leader manual (10 Leadership Projects).

One of the earlier prominent lessons I learnt was in my fourth speech of the ‘Competent Communicator’ Manual. Speech Project #4 was “How To Say It?

I recall writing a speech called ‘Art, An Anaesthetic To The Problems Of The World.’ Hmmm, yes, it still strikes me as a dry title and speech for that matter!

It was two pages long, in 10 point font and I recall vividly that I memorised the whole speech and forty times I was able to ‘recall it by wrote…’

Come the Toastmasters Club meeting, I was very nervous.

All went well, for the first four lines…then came the fifth line and ‘I was nowhere…’ You guessed it, due to nerves I had forgotten what the fifth line was. Silence, awkward silence followed…

I had notes with me but nerves, being what they are took control and I endeavoured to just read the notes but that was not working and I felt awkward again. Then a thought occurred to me…’you know the speech, just tell them’ and I did.

I was able to finish the speech, not with the words I had written, but words that ‘just came out…’

Two lessons were learnt in this speech project.

  1. Never try to memorise the full speech. Know your Beginning & Ending well and know what you want to say in the middle without memorising it. (This was the kind advice from a DTM {Distinguished Toastmaster}, the highest level achievable in Toastmasters International).
  2. We write differently to the way we speak.

The above lessons have served me well, as in speeches since I have written the speech out but because I know what I want to say, I deliver it without having to go ‘word-for-word’ and this has worked well for me.

In my next article on Public Speaking, I’ll be talking about how ‘My Imaginary Umbilical Cord Was Cut…’

Written by David Johnson
23 August 2015


They ring in the air
With the passing breeze

Stories are told
With consumate ease

Casting the mind back
To days before

Memories fast
Come to the fore

They gently persuade
And settle your mood

Bringing you back
To the present

Leaving your mind

Written by David Johnson
© CommunicatingCreatively/David Johnson 2015

Inspirations… Photography

Whenever we have an interest, be it in Art, Sport, Work or in another area of Life, there are people that will inspire you.

Over time I will be highlighting the men, women and groups that have (or still do) inspire me.

I begin with one of my favourite photographers, Margaret Bourke-White: (1904 – 1971)

Margaret Bourke-White was a pioneer in many ways and her specialties included Photojournalism, Social Documentation, Architectural, Industrial and War photography, working in predominantly Black & White. She was one of LIFE Magazine’s most prolific photographers.

20150820-IMG_2573-1Margaret Bourke-White had a fascinating life full of challenges and adventures. I remain captivated by her imagery and her boldness in overcoming both work-related and personal challenges throughout her prolific photo-taking period from 1920’s through the 1950’s. She was indeed a pioneer.

In photographing in a Steel plant she used heavy equipment (that today would seem antiquated) and experimented with lenses, films, Magnesium flares and her imagination to obtain dramatic Industrial images.

Margaret Bourke-White also worked with Writer, Erskine Caldwell on the ‘You Have Seen Their Faces’ Sharecropper farmers that affected 10,000,000 Southern Family lives in the United States in 1936. The project was approached in a compassionate manner. The images are powerful and depict the farmers’ harsh way of life…

She was a pioneer of the ‘photo essay’ and photographed many of the leaders of her time, including Gandhi, Pope Pius XII, Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill.

I look at her images and can see a great sense of personal involvement from her in them. Immersing herself into her subjects, she was able to bring out graphic emotion and the beauty of light, shape and form. I have two books i.e. her autobiography, “Portrait of Myself” and the book pictured above.

A true inspiration!

Written by David Johnson
20 August 2015

Recommended reading:

When The Student Is Ready…

We’ve probably all heard that quote, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear…’

Over the years (being the Library addict I am) I sought out different books on the subject of Writing, as I kept thinking that I would like to write someday. Time always seemed the enemy, though perhaps it was not high enough on my priority-list… Photography was still my main interest at that time and, in terms of interests, not much else got a look-in.

I purchased the book ‘The Tao Of Writing’ back when I was working in the City of Sydney in 2008. I had a Coffee Table book 20150815-IMG_2510-1called ‘The Tao Of Photography’ which I liked and I thought it would be interesting to read how The Tao applied to Writing.

Commencing the book I found that it ‘did not resonate with me.’ The words were just words on a page that could not seem to hold my interest. It remained in my bookshelves. A couple of years later I tried again. Same result, yet I held onto the book through moving house/book culls.

In 2013 I ventured into my first two Blogs, ‘Light Inspired’ (Photography) & ‘Observations & Other Writings’ (mainly Poetry with a few articles) and over the past two years I have enjoyed writing for both of them.

In May this year whilst scanning my bookshelves, there it was…‘The Tao Of Writing.’

It stared at me and I stared at it. I picked it out and started to read and it began to speak to me in ways that I could not imagine.

It has inspired me to:

  • start to formulate and idea for a reference book. I have the outlines for 2 chapters done
  • progress on my idea of a Short Story book project. I have the outlines of 4 stories
  • think about the way I communicate in various forms
  • develop this new blog, combining my interests

Was this the same book? Indeed it was and I enjoyed each and every page that I read, and the exercises at the end of each Chapter.

Why the difference? I guess I was not ‘ready’ to see and begin to absorb what Ralph L. Wahlstrom had to teach me.

I class myself as a ‘beginner’ in the writing world and have much to learn!

I’m really looking forward to attempting the 70 exercises in the back of the book, and I know I will be revisiting the book time and time again.

Something told me years ago ‘to hang onto that book.’ I’m very glad I did!

Written by David Johnson

Emotional Furnace

Sitting on the porch
Strumming that guitar
Writing about their history
They’ve come so far

From early beginnings
Throughout their youth
Within their songs
They reach for the truth

Hardship, working life
Make up the verses
All the while
In an emotional furnace

Journey’s been hard
Will to win stubborn
Going through their lives
Always been governed

Seeking redemption
Wanting to be free
Listen to their story
To the future, they foresee…

Written by David Johnson

© CommunicatingCreatively/David Johnson 2015