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

27 Years since…

Yesterday, we embarked on our annual pilgrimage to Berrima which is a small village in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia. It is approx. 1 hour South of where we live. We drive down there on this weekend every year, sometimes for the weekend, sometimes to spend the day there like we did this year.

Why Berrima? It is the place that my (now) Wife, Susan finally said ‘Yes’ to me asking her out to dinner, after declining me 5 times back in 1994. We were down there as friends collecting some items for a Christmas party that a Dog Club (that Susan was the Social Secretary of) was holding.

We had lunch at The White Horse Inn and it had such a romantic feel that I felt compelled to ask her out ‘just one more time…’. I did and she said yes! 🙂 After that we visited some of the shops (which are tourist orientated) and then went off to Berkelouw’s Book Barn at Berrima, which, back then held about 250,000 books. Unfortunately, the White Horse Inn has not been open for a number of years now.

Fast forward to this weekend, we have to do it in reverse these days as Berkelouw’s had to change to economically survive by reducing the amount of books (to about 100,000) and diversifying into a Wedding Reception venue, a restaurant/cafe and a wine-tasting venue. They close at 3.00pm each day for functions, hence the earlier visiting time. This was a shorter visit for us this time as we both found 6 books each within 1 1/4 hours. Normally it takes us longer.

After that, we took off to one of our favourite ‘Vintage-ware’ shops called “Sticky Beaks.’ We love visiting shops like these as they bring back a multitude of memories of things that were used in the past and one can pick up interesting curios, as we did again today.

Susan managed to pick up a tray that converts into a Grazing platter. Functional and artistic, I’m sure we will pit it to good use.

From there we set off to our lunch booking at Josh’s Cafe & Restaurant for a sumptious meal of Grilled Barramundi (a highly recommended fish in Australia), salad and then we shared a couple of desserts, ‘Pear and Rhubarb Crumble’ and Hot Chocolate Fondant, mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to have. 🙂 Deliciously decadent!

From there we visited Mrs Oldbucks Jam & Food shop and several other shops including a relatively new Berrima shop called, ‘Six Impossible Things’, the name coming from a Lewis Carroll story. It is set in an old Colonial cottage down a short pathway.

Sticky Beaks, Baytree Gallery, The Brown Shutter, Mrs Oldbucks

It was there that I purchased a glass Inkwell and some Calligraphy Ink. I had been looking for one of these for about 18 months. 🙂

It was a tremendous way to celebrate 27 years since we went out to dinner and for us there is no better place to celebrate it than where Susan said ‘Yes’ all those years ago.

Written by David Johnson

21 November 2021

Treasure Acquired 🙂

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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:

Everyone’s A Critic

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered an ABC TV programme called ‘Everyone’s A Critic.’

The programme states that “each week a cross-section of Australians become Art critics as they discuss some of the most renowned art works in the country.”

Some of the critics are avid gallery visitors, whilst others are going into a gallery for the first time…

So far, I have watch four of the episodes and it is thoroughly fascinating to watch.

I’m sure that we are all aware that all of us have:

  • different points of view
  • grown up in different environments
  • have been subjected to different influences
  • Have different belief systems

A single piece of art can effect different people in dramatically different ways and often we judge the image and the artist based on what is there in front of us. How often do we see what we think the image is about, only to find that what the artwork is about (in the artist’s mind) is completely different.

One such image is “The Cripples” Arthur Boyd -1943. Pictured here, most who saw it were aghast that it was an image depicting those with disabilities in an unflattering way.

The Cripples - Arthur Boyd

It wasn’t until they heard the Artist’s backstory and the Artist Statement regarding the painting that they could begin to appreciate and understand why it was painted and what the painting was about. It was influenced by World War II and the fact that they kept sending previously injured soldiers back to fight again.

When I go to a Gallery I will look at the image first and see how it effects me then I will read the Artist’s Statement.

How about you? Do you read the Artist Statement first then look at the Art?

Written by David Johnson
September 2019