Things That Attract My Eye! – 2

One of the types of subjects that I have always enjoyed photographing since I took up Photography in 1982 is the ‘everyday things’ that we come into contact with.

Prior to taking up photography, I certainly was not aware how beautiful mundane subjects were. Photography created a new awareness within me and since I took up sketching and painting, this awareness of my surroundings has deepened.

It really is amazing at just how many beautiful subjects there are if we only would take the time to notice.

I’ve included some images below that I hope you will find as interesting and as beautiful as I do. All were taken in 2022.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 August 2022

Watercolour Canvas

A little while ago I stumbled across a ‘Watercolour Canvas’ product in Spotlight, a material and craft store in my local area. Not that I’m all that experienced in Art but I didn’t know there was such a thing called Watercolour canvas. I thought canvas was for mediums other than Watercolour.

It is made by a business called ‘Semco’ and although it is branded ‘Artist Quality’ I’m not sure you would class it as such bearing in mind where it is being sold, the minimal cost and the fact that the term, ‘Artist Quality’ seems to get put on a lot of materials regardless of whether it is or isn’t ‘Artist Quality’. It comes in a range of sizes just like normal canvas and is available in a board or in stretched form.

My first attempt on a board is below, an image using a reference photo I took on our third trip to Norfolk Island, earlier this year. I did a light sketch of the image in pencil, then sketched over the pencil with pigment liners then started painting. The paint sticks sometimes and glides across other times and I used about 3-4 layers in some areas.

I particularly liked the painting in weathered boat areas.

“Old Lighter” – Norfolk Island

My second attempt on the board is below, a rather simpler, straight Watercolour image. Painting the ocean was particularly challenging as the paint hardly seem to stick to the canvas with the first attempt to apply paint. After letting it dry, I applied more paint and the original paint seemed to get disturbed so, in the end, I used less water and a bit more paint and painted very lightly.

“Feeling of Summer”

I have a few more boards left and look forward to experimenting with them, though I might apply some Gesso first to see what that does. I also have a couple of stretched Watercolour canvas 8×10’s here, one of which I’m experimenting with.

All good fun!

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

31 July 2022

Day 1,249 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day! – “Boat Detail” – Norfolk Island

For my daily Art practice today, I chose to do another interpretation of a previous sketch that I had done, which was based on a reference photo that I took on Norfolk Island on our holiday, earlier in the year.

“Lighters” (wooden boats that up until recently were used to unload to, from cargo ships) continue to be an endless source of fascination to me.

Day 1,249 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day

Today I used the following materials:

  • Canson 300gsm Watercolour paper
  • ArtSpectrum Waterproof Pigment ink
  • Manuscript Dip Pen with Mapping nib
  • Winsor and Newtown Artist quality paints
  • Neef brushes
  • Perylene Maroon
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Sepia

I seem to have an attraction to peeling paint and rustic subjects in terms of sketching and painting, which is really not surprising as in my enthusiast photography days the same sort of subject matter attracted me, particularly in early morning or late after night.

Day 1,151 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day
My reference photo

I look forward to doing another version of this as I feel I would like to do one that is somewhere ‘between’ the two sketches above.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 July 2022

History Is Revived

A Norfolk Island “Lighter”

Well, the first question you might ask is…’What is a Lighter?’

A Lighter is a ‘shallow-draft boat or barge, usually flat-bottomed, used in unloading (lightening) or loading ships offshore’. Source: Brittanica.com

Norfolk Island has no harbour and the closest cargo ships can moor to it is about 1 kilometre (0.62 miles)

The cargo is lifted onto the Lighters and then the Lighters transport the goods to Kingston Pier. A further challenge is that, even at high tide, the water is only 1 metre (3.2 feet) deep so a high degree of seamanship is required.

We were fortunate even to see this careful practice take place in our second visit to Norfolk Island back in 2007.

I find the Lighters to be a fascinating subject, particularly the ones that are no longer in service. There are 3 at Kingston, placed on land to add to the character of an already stunningly beautiful area. Oh, the stories I bet they could tell!

For me, they are one of my favourite subjects on Norfolk Island and have inspired me in terms of photography, sketching, painting and poetry.

Here are few examples:

Till next time!

Written, photographed, sketched and painted by myself.

23 April 2022

No. 7

‘Post’ Norfolk Island Watercolour Sketches

A couple of posts ago, I highlighted the sketches that I did each on Norfolk Island using the Sennelier Student Watercolour paints.

Upon arriving home (to presently), all my ‘Watercolour Sketch a Day’ efforts have been from reference photos that I took whilst away on holiday (25th Wedding Anniversary). As you can see, I’m very much in love with Norfolk Island and have been ever since our first visit in 1997 (Honeymoon). This was further strengthened by celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary there in 2007.

At home (currently) I am using Winsor and Newton Artist quality paints and so I thought I would post a few of my Watercolour sketches that I have completed since my return.

It really is a fascinating place, and one I’ll be continuing to use for inspiration for many years to come. We are looking forward to going to other places for sure, like Hawaii and New Zealand, but a 4th trip to Norfolk Island is certainly ‘a given.’

Written and Sketched by David Johnson

2 April 2022

Light That Inspires!

Over the years, both as an enthusiast Photographer (entering competitions up to International level) and Photographic Judge (up to National level), I have been asked, ‘what is your favourite subject?’

I imagine that people are expecting me to say things like, ‘landscapes, seascapes, people, architecture etc’.

My answer is simply, ‘light and its effect on subjects’.

Light of course needs shadow to create contrast so maybe I should say that my favourite subject to photograph is, ‘light and shadow and their effect on subjects’.

Here are a few images of ‘light and shadow’ that inspired me on our recent trip to Norfolk Island.

Till next time!

Written & Photographed by David Johnson

30 March 2022

Holiday Inspiration!

One of the many benefits of our recent trip away to Norfolk Island was the ‘change of scenery’ in regards to the type of subject matter I had been sketching/painting since I started this journey.

I had been doing a lot of sheds, houses, the odd seascape/landscape, farms and trees. Many were inspired by tutorials, (my own) reference photos, free images of my imagination. There were not a lot from ‘plein air’ sketching.

Whilst I was away, I did some rough pencil sketches in an A5 Moleskine sketchbook, took some reference photos and also kept up my Watercolour Sketch a Day practice however, I chose to use a different paint brand/quality. I took away a Sennelier Student half-pan set. It was a bit of a challenge as I limited myself to only 12 colours and they had some different shades to what I was/am using with the Winsor and Newton Artist quality half-pans.

Sennelier Student Half-Pans

It forced me to think differently in terms of mixing eg for shadows. Normally, I would use Ultramarine Blue and Sepia however, I did not have these colours available so I had to work to explore a different option.

Below, I’ve included the Watercolour Sketch a Day’s I did on the trip.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

27 March 2022

The Old Lighter