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

Reveal

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

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

Practice, practice, practice!

I’ve recently started another sketchbook and as mentioned in the previous article on this thread, I am using a Moleskine A4 200gsm where the pages are made up with 25% Cotton.

I haven’t found one yet, but I would love to find a sketchbook where the pages are made up with 50% Cotton. Judging from my experiences so far with 100% Cotton and 25% Cotton sketchbooks, 50% would be ideal.

I’m still enjoying Line and Wash. Today is Day 1,055 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day and am still posting them each day on Instagram. It is fascinating to look back at where I’ve come from, acknowledging though, that I still have a long way to go in terms of where I want to be. I’ve also been pushing myself to do mainly images from my imagination and the occasional reference image, rather than tutorials.

I have included some of my recent Watercolour Sketches a Day below, done in the Moleskine.

Have a great day!

Written by David Johnson

21 December 2021

Journey To 1000!

Last Wednesday, I completed my 1,000th Watercolour Sketch a Day in a row. All of them are posted on one of my Instagram Pages – Communicating Creatively.

When I first started this Watercolour Sketch a Day journey way back in January 2019, it was for the following reasons:

  • I wanted to foster a daily Art practice
  • I wanted to improve my sketching, drawing and painting

It has been a journey of fun, challenges, (lots of mistakes), experimentation, learning and practice, practice, practice!

Day 1 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day – 26 January 2019

I remember completing 7 days straight and I was really pleased…could I make it to two weeks? Throughout the journey, I have just kept my eyes on the current day and aimed to do a sketch a day. Many people have asked me what is the end goal? Is it 1,000, 5,000, 10,000? The answer remains the same, ‘I’m just trying to do ‘a sketch a day and improve my skills’.

About 8 months of the 1,000 days we were in lockdown so I couldn’t get out to sketch en Plein Air so I completed tutorials, mainly by Peter Sheeler and Nil Rocha Art, and used reference photos (some of which were my own) and sketched from my imagination. On business days it normally has to be from the imagination or a reference photo.

It would be great to say that I improved with each sketch but that did not always happen as I felt, at times, that I plateaued for longer periods than I imagined would happen. Somedays it would seem that I was going backwards, too…

It was also a challenge doing the sketches some days due to tiredness from the business of the working day (I co-run a Finance Broking business and have a part-time role as an Entrepreneurship Facilitator, am involved with Toastmasters International and Red Point Art Association) plus more. There have also been health challenges in our family, and extended family to deal with, including losing three of them.

The practice of doing one a day was also quite meditative. More often than not, I would be playing music softly in the background. With all that has been going on in the world at large and our own world it has been quite a calming experience. I highly recommend it!

Day 1,000 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day – 27 October 2021 (Peter Sheeler Tutorial)

Mostly, I did the sketches in the morning as I was fresher. To get this done before the working day started, I rose earlier. Sometimes, I would get the line sketch done and do the painting after the working day was done. During the week, the sketches are A5 size and on the weekends sometimes larger.

One of the challenges I have in front of me is to be able apply the techniques that I have learnt during the tutorials to my own original works so the journey continues.

Today is Day 1,004 so I will leave it there as I hear my Watercolour Sketchbook calling me!

Written by David Johnson

31 October 2021

5 Minute Sketching Techniques

As I write this, here some 60km/37miles South-West of Sydney, Australia, we are in week 9 of the latest lockdown (with another, hopefully, only 5 weeks to go) due to the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Like many millions of people around the world, to put it simply, ‘we are over it’ and we are constantly looking at ways to keep one’s sanity (or as they call it these days, our mental health) afloat.

Fortunately, I have a wide range of interests and am particularly glad that a couple of years or so back I took up sketching along with Watercolour. It really has been a life-saver for me. Whilst I sketch and paint, my Wife continues her Crotchet journey she started a year ago.

These interests are a huge help when we are not building our business. I also have a part-time job share where I mentor people who want to start a business.

Within the last month I spent some money at the Book Depository via a gift voucher to further my study of sketching. The books below are just two of a series of books tasked with providing the willing student with ‘5-Minute Sketching Techniques.’

I possibly will buy one or two of the other books in the series but right now (as far as Watercolour is concerned), I am aiming to improve my skills in Architecture and Landscape.

I am enjoying the books immensely and cannot wait for lockdown to finish so I can sketch and paint en Plein Air once more. Till then I have to make do at home.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

25 August 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

Are You Aware?

I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog my love for walking and the reasons I enjoy it, namely:

  • Exercise leading to increased health
  • Idea generation
  • Relaxation
  • Listen to music, podcasts of Nature
  • Time out to think
  • Photographic opportunities

I’m located approximately 60km South West of Sydney, Australia and as I sit here today, we are entering week four of the latest lockdown, this time for the Delta strain of Covid-19.

Walking is a fairly regular activity for me and I generally see a few people out walking in normal times, however, as a friend posted recently on Facebook, ‘nothing spurs people more than a lockdown to take up exercise…’. As a result of the lockdown, there are many more people out exercising.

Whilst it is great to see more people out and about exercising, it’s a shame that it takes a lockdown to ‘spur them on’.

It probably goes without saying, but I carry my phone with me with to:

  • Measure the distance walked
  • Listening activities
  • Photography

Today, I will focus on the photographic opportunities.

As we all know the ubiquitous mobile phone has become an indispensable tool in modern life, sometimes too much so. People seem to be slaves to them. One of its most usable features for me is its camera.

I have an iPhone 8 Plus which is probably getting ‘long in the tooth’ now, technology-wise and we will probably update them in the coming twelve months. There are better camera phones out there for sure but this one is doing ok at present.

The camera I would really like to be taking on my walks is one I haven’t bought yet as I have had other priorities. More on that in a later blog.

For the time being I will make do with the phone camera.

Taking up photography in the early 1980’s increased my awareness of what is around me in terms of beauty and design. Taking up sketching, drawing and painting I believe has increased my awareness even more.

Below are a few examples of the things that attract my eye as I go walking. When I go walking, I seldom see other people taking photos on their walks. I wonder if they are aware of the the beauty and design that surrounds them?

Are you?

Till next time…

Written by David Johnson

19 July 2021