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

Seeking To Engage

First Time at Urban Sketchers Sydney!

Last Saturday-week, I went on my first Urban Sketchers Sydney ‘Sketch-meet’. It was held in Surry Hills, literally 5 minutes walk from the southern reaches of the Sydney CBD.

I had joined their Facebook group late last year after it popped up courtesy of Facebook’s algorithm however, life came up in one form or another between then and this month which prevented me from attending the monthly outing.

Sydney turned on some beautiful Winter weather for the day with 19C/66F forecast and predominantly Blue skies. A warmer day than we can usually expect.

I arrived a bit earlier and met up with one of the sketchers, who had already started sketching. As time went by, more and more sketchers turned up until there were approximately 40 people in attendance.

One of the leaders of the day, Julie informed us where the important things were like local amenities, cafes and pointed out buildings and other places of interest that we might like to sketch.

We are then given 2 1/4 hours to sketch/paint and once finished, we all met as a group and enacted a ‘throw down’ as they call it. This is where everyone puts their creations in a group on the ground so that we can all see the different interpretations of the scenes being sketched/painted.

After that, a group photo is taken and posted on the Urban Sketchers Sydney Facebook page.

I chose a subject with too many windows I think and it was certainly a challenge perspective-wise. It certainly was relaxing, sitting there in the glorious sunshine. One of the attractions of sketching is that it is such a meditative experience.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and I am looking forward to the next one!

Thank you Urban Sketchers Sydney for a great Sketch-meet!

Written by David Johnson

14 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

A Space To Learn, Create & Express!

As I’m not a full-time Artist I need to be organised enough to find those capsules of time that enable me to play and create. From 1982 to say 2014, Photography was my ‘vehicle of creative escape’. In 2010, I completed a 6-week Drawing course and over the ensuing 8 years Drawing/Sketching/Painting (Oils) and Photography jockeyed for the position of my No. 1 ‘escape from life’ method.

In late 2018, Watercolour came storming back (along with Line and Wash) and, they became an increasing part of my existence. With the commencement of my Watercolour Sketch a Day/Daily Art Practice on 26 January 2019, both of these forms are the predominant way I like to express myself in terms of Art.

In-between though, Oils have been present although my Oil habit has been in hiatus this year, until last week. I intend to do more in Oils and have several ideas in mind for paintings.

Back to my initial sentence.

Not only do I need to find capsules of time, I needed to have a proper space. No actual studio here however. Over time, I have been re-purposing our 3rd bedroom.

On Thursday I purchased an Art and Craft desk which has an adjustable drawing surface. I used for the first time today and love it.

I now have a desk dedicated to Watercolour/Sketching, a desk dedicated to Oil painting and my computer desk. No more re-purposing desks/clearing space for something else and wasting time in the process.

Whilst I do most of my sketching/painting on weekends (apart from the Watercolour sketches that are done each day), I am now looking to schedule some nights during the week when I can avail myself of my ‘creative space’.

There is also a comfy 2-seater cane chair where I can sit back, pick up my Fountain Pen and write Poetry, read or just contemplate…

A space to learn, create and express.

Written by David Johnson

4 June 2022

PS: After writing this I came across the following great article about Artist’s Studios by Judith on her site, Artistcoveries.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/45138733/posts/4052582242

Looking To Stretch Myself!

Aside from doing my Daily Art Practice aka a Watercolour Sketch a Day (mostly A5 size), for a while now I’ve been doing A4 size Watercolours. In my daily art practice I try new things (and make lots of mistakes) and occasionally, I will do one that I would like to do a larger version of. I still make mistakes when I do the larger ones, though. I’ve never agreed with ‘practice makes perfect’, I think it should be ‘practice makes better’. Hopefully, over time I will continue to get better!

I’m looking to stretch myself in my Art-practice at every opportunity.

  • Arto Watercolour Paper 300gsm Cold Pressed Medium Surface – 100% Cotton Acid Free
  • Winsor and Newton Artists paints
  • Neef brushes
  • Manuscript Dip-pens
  • Art Spectrum Artists Pigmented Black ink

These are my latest:

“Reeds In The Snow”
“Barren”
“Coastal Wash”
“Dreaming”
“On The Coast”
“Cliff-face”

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

February 2022

1,091 Days and Counting…My Daily Art Practice

Today marks the 3rd anniversary since I started my ‘Daily Art Practice’ of a ‘Watercolour Sketch a Day’. For my 1,091st day I decided to sketch/paint a subject that I really seem to enjoy, a Lighthouse.

“Afternoon On The Coast”

One day, I will gather up all my Lighthouse sketches and put them in a blog post for no other reason than to see them altogether. I think it would be fun!

Looking back, I was pleased to do 7 days in a row and when I reached 1 month I really had no expectations of being able to keep up this daily Art practice for 1 year, yet alone 3.

My goals for the ‘Daily Art Practice’ were:

  • Aim to do one Watercolour Sketch a day (and look no further than that)
  • Be a Sponge
  • Improve my skills through practice
  • Lean from my mistakes
  • Practice, practice, practice!

I don’t believe I am ‘naturally talented’ in sketching and painting. Like all children I did draw at school and at home though I am not one of those Artists ‘who have been drawing/painting all throughout their life’, studied Art and are now full-time Artists. (I’m actually a Mortgage Broker and co-run our business with my Wife, Susan and have an additional Mentoring role for Small Business startups. I’m also involved in Toastmasters {Public Speaking}, and BNI {Business Networking}, as well as two other associations).

From 1982 – 2016 I was firmly entrenched in Photography. In the 1990’s, I briefly had an interest in drawing but that didn’t last long as Photography was ‘still King’. In 2010, I took a basic Drawing course and began dabbling in Watercolour (briefly) before dabbling in Acrylic and Oil over the years. In 2016, I decided to concentrate on Oils but it seemed difficult to find the time, consistently.

In 2018, I rediscovered Watercolour though finding the time seemed difficult again. I had a ‘real desire’ to learn it and started looking for ways to allocate more time to it and was (over the course of time) attracted as well to Line and Wash. On Australia Day, 26 January 2019 I decided to aim to do a Watercolour Sketch a Day.

Along the journey so far I’ve:

  • Learnt about some sketching, drawing and painting techniques
  • Colour mixes
  • Brush use
  • Colour Theory
  • Made an innumerable amount of mistakes
  • Increased my belief in myself that I can do this
  • Sold 3 A4 paintings (unexpected)
  • Joined Red Point Artists Association, Port Kembla
  • Made some great connections through Art groups

What’s next?

Well, I still have a lot to learn (and there’s more fun to have) so tomorrow I’m aiming to a Watercolour Sketch and the day after, another one…

My Daily Art practice with Watercolour has also re-inspired my Oil Painting practice so I am aiming to allocate time to that on a regular basis now and am planning to enter some Art Exhibitions and submit my own Art to the next Members Exhibition of the Red Point Artists Association.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

26 January 2022

My Watercolour Sketch a Day images can be found at:

https://www.instagram.com/communicatingcreatively/

My larger paintings can be found at:

https://www.instagram.com/light.inspired/

a christmas tutorial

This morning, for Day 1,058 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day I decided that I wanted to sketch something Christmas-related and, as I haven’t done a tutorial for a while, I searched on YouTube for just that.

I came across Lois Davidson’s channel and found ‘How To Paint A Beautiful Ink & Watercolour Snow Landscape, loose Watercolor Christmas Card Tutorial’.

Where I live, 60km South West of Sydney, Australia does not see snow at Christmas, in fact temperatures are often in the high 30’s (Celsius)+/ 90’s (Fahrenheit)+ on Christmas Day so the attraction to sketch and paint a subject at the opposite end of the spectrum was quite attractive.

The YouTube tutorials I have done in the past (and enjoyed) have been Peter Sheeler and Nil Rocha Art, though there is no verbal instruction just the occasional writing on the screen i.e. a few tips and colour tips.

It was a pleasant change to hear some instruction and tips in Lois’ tutorial. I believe I will be doing more of Lois’ tutorials and have subscribed to the channel.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Blog followers and visitors a very Merry, Happy and Safe Christmas!

Written by David Johnson

24 December 2021

https://www.youtube.com/c/LoisDavidsonArt/videos

https://www.youtube.com/c/PeterSheelerart

https://www.youtube.com/c/NilRochaArt

Sketchbooks – 2 favourites so far

It’s not so hard to imagine that there is no such thing as ‘the perfect Sketchbook’.

In my Watercolour/Line & Wash journey thus far I’ve tried a few different types and I would like to discuss two of my favourites.

Before I start though, I should mention what I use to do the line sketch as that alone can determine which type of sketchbook I use. I love using Dip Pens and also Pigment liners and as I’ve found, sometimes I have to use one or the other depending on which sketchbook I choose to use.

Moleskine: I’ve enjoyed using both A4 and the A5 versions. Currently, I’m using the A4 version as it will allow me to do 240 ‘Watercolour Sketch a Day’s’ in it. My daily sketches are mostly half A5 in size and the A4 sketchbook has 60 pages. The book is 25% Cotton and 200gsm which allows me to use both the Dip Pens and the Pigment Liners and it will take water, not a huge amount but some.

Winsor and Newton Visual Diary: I’ve only a couple of pages left in this one so I will soon be purchasing another. It is 100% Cotton and 200gsm in weight and so it takes substantially more water than the Moleskine, but interestingly, I cannot seem to use the Dip Pens in it so I use the Pigment Liners.

I’ve also tried the Strathmore Visual Journal in both A4 and A5 in both 90lb/200gsm and 140lb/300gsm and the latter copes with a lot more water but I found the paper doesn’t show the colours off as well as the two sketchbooks mentioned above, to me anyway.

Interestingly, when I use Art Spectrum waterproof ink in the Strathmore sketchbook, it takes longer to dry (up to half an hour) than if I use it in the Moleskine sketchbook.

I would be happy to hear people’s thoughts about any other sketchbooks that they would recommend that I try.

Written by David Johnson

16 December 2021

Time To Challenge Myself more

Since hitting the 1,000 mark with my Watercolour Sketch a day, I’ve been attempting to do less tutorials and also less working from reference photos. I’ve enjoyed doing the tutorials but I thought it was time to start challenging myself more by doing my own original compositions whilst attempting to apply the techniques I’ve been learning within the tutorials.

One of the challenges I have with the daily sketches is that sometimes, I do not get a lot of time to spend on them. Sometimes it can be as little as 15 minutes, sometimes up to an hour. I love doing the daily sketches but am conscious that when time is short, I don’t get the chance to do the multiple layer washes are required.

I still want to do the daily sketches as I want to keep my daily art practice going (Art is not my full-time occupation) as I want to continue to improve and I find the practice quite meditative.

One of the things I am aiming to do is more A4 size Watercolour and Line and Wash paintings. These will need to be done on weekends.

Below are a few of my original sketches since passing the 1,000 day mark.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

November 2021