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 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

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.

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

Illuminate!

A local Festival not far from us that has been going every year since 2016, (except for the Covid-19 years in 2020 and 2021) is the Illuminate Festival.

It is held in Picton, New South Wales, Australia which is located 90 kilometres/56 miles South West of Sydney. Picton is about 10 – 15 minutes drive from where we live.

You may have heard of or seen the Sydney Vivid Festival, where works of Art are projected onto buildings and other structures at night.

Picton is a much smaller version of that, and it also has Art and Craft market stalls, food stalls and all manner of other stalls plus live bands and the Annual Wollondilly Art Exhibition. It is held late May and Susan and I attended it recently.

The Art Exhibition and the projected lights are the biggest drawcard for me however, on the day/night a live local Blues group called, ‘Monkey’s Uncle’ was a definite delight!

Here are some iPhone images from the Festival.

Written by David Johnson

3 June 2022

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

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

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