The Canvas Is Awaiting…

Books, Books, Books – Argyle Emporium

Last Sunday-week, Susan and I made a planned stop on the way to visiting her parents, who live 25 kilometres/15.5 miles outside of Goulburn. Goulburn is about one and three-quarter hours drive from our home.

The planned stop was at the Argyle Emporium, which is located opposite the railway line in Goulburn in an old Police Station. The Argyle Emporium has been a second-hand bookshop for 21 years and houses approximately 500,000 books. ‘Book Heaven’ for book-lovers!

This time we only spent just over an hour there and the good news for other book-lovers is that upon leaving there, I left 499, 496 books at the bookshop…. ­čÖé

The following ones I the books I purchased:

I love books on the Visual Arts that delve into how Artist expresses what they are feeling by using tools and techniques. This one features the thoughts of 20 famous artists. I love this book!

The second book I purchased is a collection that I have been wanting in my Poetry collection for some time but just hadn’t found the right one. Over 1,000 pages of Wordsworth delight!

The third book purchased that day was also Poetry. I enjoy buying collections of poetry. It is true that sometimes the collections overlap with other collections of poetry however, this hasn’t happened too much so far… This collection breaks up the poetry into subjects and includes over 90 Poets. The book was printed in 1957.

The last book purchased that day is from another ‘like’ of mine, and that is ‘tools and techniques that inspire creative writing’. I find them a fascinating read and, by the looks of this book, I won’t be disappointed.

4 more books from from the treasure-trove second-hand bookshop known as the Argyle Emporium, Goulburn, NSW. Australia. Some of the rooms are pictured below.

I can hardly wait until our next visit! ­čÖé

Written by David Johnson

17 August 2022

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

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

Aquawash Rocks

Today, we went out to Lake Burragong, which is approximately 1/2 a hour drive away from where we live. Lake Burragorang, when full (like it is now), holds 4 times the amount of water of Sydney Harbour. We have been there many times and it is a most beautiful and relaxing place.

I took my Winsor and Newton Field kit (which now has both Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith Watercolour paints in it) plus my Aquawash brushes and a small sketchbook.

I wasn’t all that excited about the sketch/painting I did first out there but it did give me an idea to painting a similar subject but in a different way, and more from my imagination.

Day 1,270 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day

I’ve had my Aquawash brushes for a few years now though I’ve only used them sporadically and I need to watch some videos on how to use them with greater effectiveness. I rather like how this sketch turned out, though and I will be using these type of brushes more in the future.

I’m due to go on my first field trip with the Sydney Urban Sketchers next month and I think it would great to take these brushes.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

24 July 2022

Discovering New Places…

I love surprises, particularly when they are totally unexpected and have to do with discovering things that you thought you would have known about, but obviously didn’t…

To explain…

Yesterday, after visiting Red Point Artist’s Association (where I am a member) at Port Kembla, we followed up on a tip from one of the other creatives. They suggested we visit an area of Port Kembla Harbour we had not previously been to.

There is a concrete breakwater that is approximately 1 km (0.6 miles) long at the harbour and I was quite looking forward to seeing and exploring it. When we arrived, the entrance was blocked off as perhaps it had sustained damage in last week’s storms. I took a couple of reference photos and we left as we wanted to take a look at the Port Kembla Heritage Park which was on the other side of the bay.

In the park we discovered Art installation (that relates to industrial action back in 1938), Tank Traps and old Battery Ports.

For me though, the best discovery of the afternoon was yet to come…

I was wandering around the edge of the park, mainly concentrating on looking across to the harbour, the breakwater and a cargo ship that was making its entrance when I turned around and saw some different shaped rocks and started to notice the different shades of colour in them plus I noticed a fair-sized rock pool nearby. It was still overcast at this point so I was looking forward to seeing them with sunlight on the scene. I didn’t have to wait long…this is what I saw.

Needles to say, I could immediately see possibilities for sketching, painting and photography and I am looking forward to going back there on different occasions, in different lighting to interpret the scene via these mediums.

I’ve included some more iPhone images below to give you an idea of just how beautiful an area it is. It is 1 hour’s drive away on a Sunday. How did I not visit there before now!? Sometimes, the best places are ‘right under our noses…’.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

10 July 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

The Journey Is Victory

Oh The Fun!

Last weekend, my Wife and I stayed with our friends at Millthorpe, NSW, Australia as my Wife had been invited to a Baby Shower in Bathurst, about 20 minutes drive away.

Whilst my Wife was at the party, I ventured into the CBD and started to look for a suitable subject to sketch and paint.

I came across a lovely-looking building with a dome which turned out the be the Courthouse however, I chose to sit in the park and view it from behind. I quite liked the busyness of the structures in front of it that were set against the backdrop of the dome.

For me, it was rather a challenging subject as I am still endeavouring to learn ‘how much I want to leave in or leave out?’ One of the other challenges I had on the day was it was quite chilly with a wind blowing. The light was just beautiful though, so I sat there and attempted to sketch and paint it, well my interpretation anyway…

I will definitely have another go at this subject at some point. It was the first time out using my new Winsor and Newton Field Kit which has a mix of Winsor and Newton, and Daniel Smith paints.

After I finished the sketch, I set off with my DSLR camera and (of course) my Phone camera to see what I could capture in the beautiful late afternoon light. Below is one example from the iPhone camera.

All in all, I had a very enjoyable couple of hours in the late afternoon light.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 May 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