I’ve commented a couple of times on this Blog about my love for Cacti and Succulents. It was an interest that started when I was 14 years of age when my Aunt Beryl gave me a Succulent on one of the family visits to our place. It was (as I later found out) from the Euphorbia family.
Over the years my liking for Cacti and Succulents increased to the point where I had a small, shallow pot with about 5-6 small Cacti plants in it. I used to dream of the day when I would have a big garden. That came when I got married and moved onto an acre and a quarter of land. I built a 35square metre garden. All up, I had 120 plants in it and in pots around the yard.
Sadly, we don’t live there any more, we moved after 16 years there and are currently on a residential block. What happened to the plants? I brought them all with me didn’t I! They are currently all in pots of various sizes which is not quite the same but it will have to do until we make our next move.
This week, I was accepted as a member into the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia which is the oldest Cacti Society in Australia. My first meeting (this week) was on Zoom. They usually meet face-to-face in another State (Victoria) but even then have a ‘Zoom-room’ for people that are too far away. There are lots of benefits for being a member of the Society, including a 32 page quarterly magazine which I’m quite looking forward to receiving. They have a Facebook group, library etc so I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge of this wondrous species of flora that captured my imagination at the age of 14, some 44 years ago.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Society, I’ve included some links below to their website and Facebook page and also some other links if you feel you are in any way curious about this species of plant.
Written by David Johnson
30 September 2021
Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia:
Other useful links:
One of the ways I’ve been ‘escaping’ in this current lockdown environment is my walks which are allowed, currently within 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from home. We are blessed to have access to the Nepean River at Camden which is a beautiful spot to walk through (and picnic in normal times).
During lockdown and due to time constraints of the working day, I only get to go down to the Nepean River, Camden on a Wednesday and on the weekend. On other days, I just walk around the suburb. This may sound quite boring, and it could be if not for my nearly 40 years training my eye, firstly via photography and now via sketching and painting as well.
By ‘training me eye’ I mean looking within the scene and the way light interacts with a subject. There is just so much beauty around in seemingly mundane surroundings.
The following images are taken within the suburbs of the 5 kilometre radius we are are restricted to at present.
There are many benefits to be obtained from walking, with exercise being just one of them. I get ideas whilst I walk, for paintings, photos, poetry, articles and business. I either listen to Mother Nature, podcasts or music.
It is quite an immersive experience and a perfect way to ‘escape lockdown.’ I get to walk more days than not during the month. I’m not a good ‘cold-weather’ walker normally so to know that I commenced my latest walking programme in July, which is the middle of Winter in Sydney, was quite pleasing for me.
In programmed walks I have walked 51 kilometres (31.6 miles) in July, 72 kilometres (44.7 miles) in August and am around the 40 kilometre (24.8 miles) mark in September so far. In Winter I walked more towards the middle of the day and as it heats up during Spring/Summer I will walk earlier or later in the day.
Once lockdown is over I shall continue my walks and continue to view the beauty that surrounds!
Written by David Johnson
19 September 2021
As those of you would know who follow my Blog regularly, one of my interests (dating back to 1982 when I bought my first serious camera) is Photography.
Whilst I still enjoy photographing with a DSLR, many photos are taken also with my iPhone. Currently, I possess an 8Plus which is getting a bit dated now but is still handy to have when I don’t have my DSLR with me.
My aim within the next 12 months is to purchase a high-end compact from the Sony RX range for the type of photography below and I’m also looking to say goodbye to me DSLR and go Mirrorless, but that’s another story.
As we have our phones on us nearly all the time these days it is very easy and convenient to photograph interesting things we have come across on a daily basis.
In the past couple of weeks, I started a new album on my Facebook page called, ‘Things That Attract My Eye.’
Here are the first 9 images in the album.
The images were taken when visiting the local Hospital, in my backyard, on walks, waiting for a Take-away food order, visiting an Art Gallery and whilst doing a ‘driver changeover’ on a motorway. All would have been missed were it not for the trusty phone camera.
Over time, I will put up more images.
I hope you enjoy, ‘Things That Catch My Eye!’
Written and Photographed by David Johnson
28 June 2021
Being still (what I would call) relatively new to Watercolour, I am still exploring the types of subject matter that I would like to paint. Predominantly, I have been painting landscapes, seascapes, sky-scapes with a few buildings thrown in here and there.
I hadn’t really thought of painting flowers. They always looked rather challenging (and still are) and I have so much still to learning about painting them.
Recently, I purchased the book, ’The Watercolour Flower Painter’s A – Z’ An Illustrated Directory of Techniques for Painting 50 Popular Flowers.
Thus far, I have attempted 3 of the exercises 1) Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise); 2) Freesia and 3) Petunia and found the exercises easy to follow, offering detailed instruction and a delight to read.
Under ‘Essentials’ in the front of the book it covers nearly 30 essential techniques to learn that will aid the aspiring Artist in artistically reproducing the subjects.
If you are looking for an easy to follow book that will take you out of your ‘painting comfort-zone’ then I would highly recommend you take a look at this book.