Books, Books, Books – Argyle Emporium

Last Sunday-week, Susan and I made a planned stop on the way to visiting her parents, who live 25 kilometres/15.5 miles outside of Goulburn. Goulburn is about one and three-quarter hours drive from our home.

The planned stop was at the Argyle Emporium, which is located opposite the railway line in Goulburn in an old Police Station. The Argyle Emporium has been a second-hand bookshop for 21 years and houses approximately 500,000 books. ‘Book Heaven’ for book-lovers!

This time we only spent just over an hour there and the good news for other book-lovers is that upon leaving there, I left 499, 496 books at the bookshop…. 🙂

The following ones I the books I purchased:

I love books on the Visual Arts that delve into how Artist expresses what they are feeling by using tools and techniques. This one features the thoughts of 20 famous artists. I love this book!

The second book I purchased is a collection that I have been wanting in my Poetry collection for some time but just hadn’t found the right one. Over 1,000 pages of Wordsworth delight!

The third book purchased that day was also Poetry. I enjoy buying collections of poetry. It is true that sometimes the collections overlap with other collections of poetry however, this hasn’t happened too much so far… This collection breaks up the poetry into subjects and includes over 90 Poets. The book was printed in 1957.

The last book purchased that day is from another ‘like’ of mine, and that is ‘tools and techniques that inspire creative writing’. I find them a fascinating read and, by the looks of this book, I won’t be disappointed.

4 more books from from the treasure-trove second-hand bookshop known as the Argyle Emporium, Goulburn, NSW. Australia. Some of the rooms are pictured below.

I can hardly wait until our next visit! 🙂

Written by David Johnson

17 August 2022

Architectural Sketching with Watercolor and Ink – Domestika

Last week as I was scrolling through my Facebook Newsfeed I happened upon a course through Domestika. I had registered an account with them some time ago but never actually purchased a course.

This particular day a course came up called, ‘Architectural Sketching with Watercolor and Ink’. This of course, ‘was music to my ears!’ Amongst other subjects to sketch and paint, architecture is right up there so my interest was piqued almost instantly. Even better, it came up as a ‘Weekend Special’ and was reduced from AUD$79.00 to $12.90 so it was too good not to take advantage of.

The course is being delivered by Alex Hillkurtz, a Storyboard Artist in France who has worked on over 20 Feature films.

At date, the course has been completed by over 114,481 students and has a 99% rating.

Thus far I’m on Unit 2, Preparation and am looking forward to doing more of the course on the weekend. When I finish the course I will post the end project here.

In the meantime, here is the link if you would like to check out the course for yourself.

https://www.domestika.org/en/courses/1092-architectural-sketching-with-watercolor-and-ink/course

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

30 June 2022

Music To My Ears!

The idea for this post came from a post I did on my Facebook Newsfeed some time ago…. I cannot play a note of music but I so love listening to it.

I thought I would expand on my choices on this blog. The following are in no particular order.

THE BEATLES: I was born in 1963 so I was only 7 years old when The Beatles broke up. I have a Sister, Cheryl who is 10 years older than I and Cheryl was 11 years of age when they toured Australia. As you can imagine, Beatles records were played all the time and my young ears heard them ‘all the time’ and I loved their sound and still do to today. The melodies, the voices, the Chuck Berry inspired music still strikes a chord with me.

LEE KERNAGHAN: Lee is one of Australia’s best known Country Music artists and I first started to listen in 1992 when he released “The Outback Club.” Some 17 albums later Im still enjoying his music immensely. I’ve seen him in concert once. I love putting his music when out driving, particularly as we are ‘heading on down the road…

LAMBCHOP: This is a band that I stumbled upon by accident. I was attending a ‘Photo Discussion Group’ session at a friend’s house and there was this music that I had never heard before playing in the background. My friend described them to me as, ‘Lounge Jazz.’ The next day (in the early 2,000’s) I went out and bought the album. I now have 6 albums and they are are favourite that I play when sketching and painting.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & (THE E-STREET BAND): My Brother, Larry was an early fan back in the early to mid 1970’s, having purchased his first three albums. At the age of 12 I heard the Born To Run album and I was hooked. We were thrilled to see him in concert in 1985 (4 1/4 hour concert including 6 encores). I saw him again in 2013 and 2014. I have 20 of his albums and never tire of listening to his music.

AMY GRANT: Back in the early 1980’s I started working in the Sydney CBD and it was a fascinating place to explore and discover things. One lunchtime I remember coming across a Christian bookshop which sold music. LP’s and Cassette Tapes still ruled back then and as I flipped through the Tapes I came across, ‘Amy Grant.’ I hadn’t heard of her before and a discussion ensued with the salesperson who very kindly played part of the Tape for me on a Cassette Deck (boy, am I showing my age)! Out of the Deck came one of the sweetest voices I had heard in a long time. The album was, ‘Amy Grant – The Collection.’ Years later I purchased it on CD. I have purchased more of Amy Grant’s albums since and still find her voice quiet calming.

ELVIS PRESLEY: My Brother, Larry was a big influence here. Four years older than me, he was ‘right into Elvis’ and so (similar to The Beatles), in my younger years, Elvis records were played a lot. I particularly love the period between 1954 and 1961, and 1968 to 1977. The ‘Sun Sessions’ are Golden , as is the period up until 1960. Another artist I never tire of hearing.

BONNIE RAITT: I came across Bonnie Raitt in the late 1980’s and was introduced via the ‘Nick Of Time’ album. I read later that Bruce Springsteen had ‘opened’ for her back in 1971. Her style of R & B really appeals to me and if you get a chance, check out her duet with John Lee Hooker on ‘I’m In The Mood’ on YouTube. Brilliant!

TOMMY EMMANUEL: The Australian Guitar maestro! I first heard his music in 1990 via his debut album, ‘Dare To Be Different.’ Tommy Emmanuel does not sing and doesn’t really need to as the magic he does on his guitar stands on its own. A favourite of mine when I sketch or paint, or am writing Poetry, his music can be calming and also inspirational.

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN: Introduced to his music in the mid 1980’s I have been a fan ever since. His music captures me and his energy and fluent guitar playing, especially in the instrumentals are Gold. Sadly, gone from this Earth too early.

STATUS QUO: Again, my Brother had a bit of influence here as he was already a fan with one of their albums, ‘Piledriver.’ I purchased ‘On The Level’ and I was sold. Their heads-up-all-in-boogie sound has always made me feel great and if I’m feeling a bit down, it raises my mood.

What Bands/Singers can you not do without in your life, and why?

Written by David Johnson

2 December 2021

Berkelouw’s book treasure

As mentioned in the previous post, last Sunday, my Wife and I were down at Berrima to celebrate the 27th anniversary of us going out to dinner for the first time.

One of the places we always go to is Berkelouw’s Book Barn which is located just outside Berrima on the Old Hume Highway. It holds a special place in our Hearts as we went there for the first time back on the 19 November 1994 and whilst browsing, Susan found a book called ‘The Drover’ which was outside the budget. She loved it but put it back on the shelf. I took a mental note of the book (no Smart phones back then to take a picture of it) and the next day, I rang Berkelouw’s and had them put the book aside. I picked it up the next weekend and gave it to Susan as a present. She was delighted and surprised! 🙂

Berkelouw’s used to have about 250,000 books but after diversification, they now have about 100,000 books. Still plenty to tantalise the avid bookworm.

Normally, we would be there for at least two hours, searching, uncovering and discovering book treasure but we both exceeded expectations and walked away with 11 books between us.

Here are my six below:

In all the years we have been going down there I have kept an eye out for writings of Henry David Thoreau and in consecutive years have picked up a book of his. Last year it was a book of his Poetry. It delights me to have picked up the book on some of his ‘meditations’.

I started reading the ‘Discworld’ series some time ago and have been keeping watch in second-hand bookstores so it was great to pick up another couple. 🙂

Am always on the lookout for Poetry books, especially anthologies and specific subject matter. I didn’t have any ‘humour-orientated’ Poetry so I was very pleased to add this to my collection. Anthologies are great, especially if like this one, there are a lot of Poets in it that I haven’t heard of. There a few Poems for each author so the book is a bit of a ‘taster’.

The final book to discuss is ‘New Worlds From Old’ which accompanied an exhibition of paintings some twenty years ago in Australia and the U.S.A. It has some wonderful plates of paintings from both American and Australian Landscape Artists from the 19th Century plus detailed information on the Artworks and the Artists themselves.

I’m looking forward this weekend and/or whenever I get the chance before to grab a cuppa and sit down to enjoy, particularly the Poetry, Painting and meditations books.

Till next time, booklovers!

Written by David Johnson

23 November 2021

Talking With Painters

In Sydney at present, and since 26 June 2021 we have been in our second lockdown. One of the ‘breaths of fresh air’ is getting out for some exercise. My favourite type of exercise is walking. As mentioned in previous articles on this blog, sometimes I listen to the sounds of Nature, sometimes to music and other times to podcasts or short stories.

One of my favourite podcasts is one I subscribed to sometime ago, but only started listening to throughout the latest lockdown. That podcast is ‘Talking With Painters.’

‘Talking With Painters’ features Australian Artists talking to the Host, Maria Stoljar about their life and art. I’ve listened to half a dozen so far and I must say that I find them insightful, interesting and informative.

The podcast is available on:

There are currently 113 episodes available to listen to. I’m looking forward so much to my next walk!

Written by David Johnson

7 August 2021

Creativity Spotlight

My Wife, Susan and I yesterday visited Red Point Artists Association at Point Kembla, NSW, Australia. They were holding their monthly, Art On The Grass event.

Although I had been visiting their sporadically over the past 10 years, I only became a member of this wonderful organisation in July last year. I hadn’t joined previously as I had many things (as we all do on occasions) competing for my time.

Red Point was formed in May 2008 and it’s home is a small precinct of (what were once) retail shops set in a ‘rectangular horseshoe formation’ with a rectangular grassy area in the middle with a few established trees which provides an ideal location for their ‘Art On The Grass’ event.

Within this precinct is a Takeaway Food shop on one corner, a number of Artist studios (some shared), a main Gallery plus a smaller Gallery and a Workshop that is used for demonstrations.

Art On The Grass features Art and Craft that is for sale and the tables are manned by the Artists Craft-makers themselves and there are a wide variety of things to look at and buy.

There are always Exhibitions on from Red Point members in both galleries. The whole atmosphere is relaxing and is often complemented by live music in the form of an Acoustic Guitarist or similar.

From the moment I first visited Red Point Artists, I could feel that there was something ‘special’ about the place, the Art and the people in it. I feel a ‘sense of connection’ down there and never fail to be inspired by something or a Artist when I visit.

I’ve written on my blog previously about visits to Art On The Grass and whilst I was down there this time, I had an idea for a section on my blog that highlighted individual Artists and Craft- makers that I come across in my travels. This would also from time-to-time include Art and Craft associations as well. For more information about Red Point Artists Association, please click on the following link: https://redpointart.org.au/

Why would I do this?

I love Art and Craft and find it very interesting to see what other Artists and Craft-makers imaginations can create. I will always ask their permission to firstly, photograph them at their tables or any of their table setups before posting on this blog. I would like to help them promote their Art and Craft. I receive no monetary benefit for doing this. The benefit I receive is the enjoyment in being able to promote what other people’s imaginations have created. Hopefully, it will help them too.

I will be including their contact details and/or website so that if you like what they do or want to find out more information about what they do, you can contact them directly.

My next article in ‘Creativity Spotlight’ will be about Helen from ‘Wall Art & Resin Homewares’, whose Artistic endeavour is ‘Acrylic Pouring.’ Helen is a member of Red Point Artists Association.

Looking forward to seeing you then.

Written by David Johnson

14 March 2021

Book Treasure Abounds!

Last weekend on our mini-trip to Berrima for our ‘Other Anniversary’, one of the places we went to was one of our favourite bookshops, Berkelouw’s Book Barn. Berkelouw’s is a long-standing business which used to be a second-hand bookshop with approx. 250,000 books.

A few years back the business was converted to become a bookshop/restaurant/wedding reception venue. It now has only approx. 100,000 – 150,000 books.

Every year when we visit we set ourselves a budget and this year came away with more ‘book treasure.’

I was particularly delighted to pick up the following:

‘Artist’s On Art’ From the 14th to the 20th Century

It is an absolutely fascinating book which I am thoroughly enjoying ‘dipping into.’ To read what the Artists thought about Art in general and their own is indeed a delight!

‘Country Verse’ Edited by Samuel Carr

English Country Verse is set against English Country Landscape Paintings and it simply is wonderful to dive into and be whisked away to the English Countryside.

The other four books are novels and I am continuing to build up the library with classic authors of yesteryear:

‘The Black Arrow’ by Robert Louis Stevenson ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘Sweet Thursday’ by Johns Steinbeck ‘The Short Novels by John Steinbeck’ – ‘Tortilla Flat; ‘The Red Pony’; ‘Of Mice and Men’; ‘The Moon Is Down’; ‘Cannery Row’ and ‘The Pearl.’

Our trips to Berkelouw’s Book Barn never disappoint and we are looking forward to our next visit!

Written by David Johnson

25 November 2020


A First For Me!

Last month I achieved a First with my painting!

I had the pleasure of seeing one of my paintings on a gallery wall for the First Time Ever!

The opportunity came via a local Artist, Kerrie Abello who had recently set up the ‘Dragonfly Community Gallery in Campbelltown, NSW, Australia which is about 15 minutes drive from where I live. Campbelltown is a City situated approx. 50kms from Sydney in the Macarthur Region.

The Dragonfly Community Gallery is the first of its type in the area and hopefully, not the last.

Kerrie is looking to give local Artists a chance (just like myself and others who were part of the gallery’s First Exhibition) an outlet to show off their talent.

IMG_2178
Kerrie being interviewed – Dragonfly Community Gallery, Campbelltown

The painting I chose was one I had finished painting in 2017, an Acrylic and Oil called “Abundance of Joy” 90cm x 30cm and can be seen below.

IMG_2029
“Abundance Of Joy” – David Johnson

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed at the Gallery by Brian Laul and Frank Michel, two local businesspeople who video interview local businesspeople and identities in the Macarthur Region for the “Good Morning Macarthur” Facebook Page, an initiative they set up. Thank you, Brian and Frank.

IMG_2203
Brian Laul and Frank Michel from “Good Morning Macarthur”

I’m not a full-time artist and had thought that (apart from wanting to enter the local Art Prizes for fun), it would be a while before any painting of mine would grace the wall of a gallery.

It was an amazing experience sharing the wall with other Artists, some of whom are part-timers just like me. It has now inspired me to think about having my own exhibition or having one in conjunction with one or two other people.

IMG_2182

I would like to thank Kerrie Abello for the opportunity, not only for accepting my painting as part of the Dragonfly Community Gallery’s 1st Ever Exhibition, but for inspiring me to expand my thinking around my Art.

Written by David Johnson
12 October 2019
Good Morning Macarthur interview: Kerrie Abello followed by myself (@15 minute mark)
For more details about the Dragonfly Community Gallery:

Imprinted On The Surface

Imprinted On The Surface