Places To Learn

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

The Savvy Painter

Since starting my latest walking programme (I’ve tried a number of times over the years to just have one and keep it going…), I’ve been enjoying discovering different podcasts so that, out on my walks in suburbia (due to a lockdown radius of 5km, currently) I receive some education and inspiration.

The latest one I have come across is ‘ The Savvy Painter’ which is compered by Antrese Wood. It’s in a similar vein to the podcast, ‘Talking With Painters’ that I wrote about recently. ‘The Savvy Painter’ podcast has quickly become a favourite and over the past couple of weeks I have listened to approx. 10 of the shows.

As I’m not a full-time Artist, my day is not surrounded by Art so I appreciate the chance to ‘tap into’ this kind of resource on my walks.

If you would like to check out ‘The Savvy Painter’ podcast here are some links:

There are 252 episodes so I think I have some catching up to do!

Written by David Johnson

26 September 2021

My Photographic Journey – Part 3a – Camera Clubs/Photographic Societies

Camera Clubs/Photographic Societies were such a huge and integral part of my journey in Photography and those experiences cannot be summed up in just one post as there were several facets that I would like to cover.

When I walked into a Camera Club for the very first time, I was an extremely shy 23 year old (I can hear Perc Carter laughing now…). I’ll never forget my early visits to Campbelltown Camera Club in 1986. I joined in June of that year.

Logo from a T-Shirt members proudly wore around advertising our Club.
I still have the T-Shirt, though I doubt it would fit me these days!

Apart from ‘not being comfortable in a roomful of strangers’, as the prints started to go up on the print stands, I felt both inspired and inadequate at the same time.

I had been shooting for about 3 1/2 years and was starting to feel a bit more happy with what and how I was shooting. I knew there was room for improvement though. There always is…much more improvement when I saw what was in front of me!

The images in front of me were awe-striking. I had no knowledge at that time of how long some of my fellow members had been involved in photography. I had arrived as a member just in time for the ‘Top Shot’ Competition. I had never even considered going into a competition with my photography. Photography was just for fun.

Charlie Cowell won the overall Top Shot that year with a Still-Life image that had a background where ‘light just disappeared’ into the background.

I had been trying to shoot various Still-Life scenes but my backgrounds were awful. I sat there wondering how he did it and commented so to another member. The member said, ‘why don’t you ask him?’

Summing up the courage, I did. ‘Black Velvet’, Charlie said & proceeded to tell me what to buy and where to buy etc. I still have that piece of Velvet 35 years later…

I started to enter the competitions about a month later. Club competition entries, if successful, were awarded a Merit or Credit by the visiting Judge who evaluated the images on display and suggested points for improvement.

Myself being presented with a Bronze Medallion for 25 Merits in Monochrome c1990’s by then President, Enid Duncan.. I went on to achieve 75+ Merits in Monochrome; and 205 Merits in Slides which was/is a Club record for that medium. Wish I still had the hair!

I learnt so much going along to Campbelltown Camera Club in many ways, the competitions being just one of them.

It certainly helped build up my ‘photographic confidence’ over time and also, being exposed to a new group of people helped start me on the road to ‘general self-confidence’ too.

Over the next few articles, as I continue write about my Photographic journey, I will explore other facets of my wonderful experience of being a member of a Camera Club/Photographic Society.

A few years back, Campbelltown Camera Club changed it’s name to Macarthur Photographic Society. To find out more about MPS and how being a member can improve your Photography, click on the following link. https://macarthurphotographicsociety.org.au/

Till next time.

Written by David Johnson

27 February 2021

I’m Not Trying To Be Perfect, I Just Want To Be Me…

Last month, I purchased the book, ‘Watercolor 365 Daily Tips, Tricks & Techniques’ by Leslie Redhead. Already, I have seen the benefits of having this book to refer to.

One of the tips within the book is to, ‘stop using a pencil and eraser to draw with and instead use a marker instead.’ 

I wouldn’t call myself ‘naturally talented’ in drawing or sketching. It is a skill I am endeavouring to get better at and so, I have been practicing with ‘a pencil accompanied by a trusty eraser,’ though probably not as often as ought to have been. The thought of drawing/sketching with a non-erasable marker was quite daunting.

Apparently, using a marker instead of the pencil/eraser combination will result in gaining skills in drawing/sketching quicker and these are skills I can build my paintings on.

I took up this challenge this week, grabbing an A5 110gsm sketchbook and started sketching away. It is quite a refreshing experience, I must say. If I put a mark/line in the wrong place, I have to be creative and work out ‘how to save’ the sketch.

When I did a basic drawing course 11 years ago, the instructor looked at my drawings and said that, ‘I was a line drawer, not a tonal drawer and that my lines were so straight they looked like an architectural drawing.’

This is not necessarily bad, though. I guess its a style. One of my goals has been to try to ‘loosen up’ and not draw so many straight lines. I quite enjoy looking at the style of many Artists and hobbyists who draw/sketch/paint in a relaxed style.

We’ve all probably heard the line, ‘practice makes perfect.’ I’m not trying to be perfect I just want to be me’…and I am having fun exploring exactly what that means in terms of drawing, sketching and painting.

I’m practicing my sketching/drawing now more than ever and I am endeavouring to let go of the thought that the lines need to perfect.

It will take time and patience, but I’ll get there.

Written by David Johnson

February 2021

Because Of The Journey

Journey Of A Lifetime!

Now that I have been a member of Toastmasters International for 10 years, it’s a goodToastmastersLogo-Color time to reflect on the experience.

It has been a life-changer for me.

As a born introvert I know only too well the ‘apparent fear’ one experiences when one stands up before a group of people to speak, whether it is in a work or business meeting, or if you are asked to give a speech somewhere.

After 10 years of ‘investing myself’ in the programme, here’s what I have learned:

* The old adage ‘you only get out what you put in’ is totally true.

Out here in Australia, Clubs meet twice a month and I’ve missed perhaps 15 – 20 meetings in those 10 years. I would say that I’ve been to at least 240 Toastmaster meetings if you count the other Toastmaster clubs that I have visited in that time.

* The benefits I have gained/positive impact on my life are immense.

I wrote an article back in 2015 for this blog and will post the link at the bottom for I identified 18 ways my life has benefitted from being involved in Toastmasters.

I’ve even managed to progress from Introvert to Ambivert as well!

* I sometimes get asked, ‘Why do you keep going?’

Simply put, Education, Motivation, Friendship & Fun!

I can’t remember how many times that I felt like just going home and vegetating because I had a hard day at work or whatever. Whenever I went to the Toastmasters meeting, I always came out at the end, revitalised and re-energised.

Every meeting you learning something new, either about yourself or about public speaking/leadership and with each time you do a role and/or speak you grow that little more in confidence.

I’ve made so many great friends who are so supportive, and we have loads of fun.

* It gives you a chance to have a positive impact on other people’s lives

I can easily relate to how other people (especially Introverts) feel and can help them through my experiences. The membership individually and as a whole want people to succeed. We support them through their mistakes, want them to progress and use their skills out in the World at large.

Toastmasters Clubs also run Youth Leadership courses in schools and Speechcraft courses for adults.

I’m really looking forward to the next 10 years and beyond in Toastmasters. Here in Australia, we’ve just taken delivery of the new PATHWAYS Education programme. 10 Paths to transverse. I’ve selected, ‘Presentation Mastery’ as the one I’d like to begin with.

There is another old saying that says, ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…’, well this journey is one that I am ever so grateful for!
David Johnson
17 March 2018

To find out the way 18 ways being involved in Toastmasters has helped me, click on
https://communicatingcreatively.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/why-toastmasters/

If you would like to find out more, click on https://www.toastmasters.org/