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

The Journey Is Victory

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

Journey To 1000!

Last Wednesday, I completed my 1,000th Watercolour Sketch a Day in a row. All of them are posted on one of my Instagram Pages – Communicating Creatively.

When I first started this Watercolour Sketch a Day journey way back in January 2019, it was for the following reasons:

  • I wanted to foster a daily Art practice
  • I wanted to improve my sketching, drawing and painting

It has been a journey of fun, challenges, (lots of mistakes), experimentation, learning and practice, practice, practice!

Day 1 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day – 26 January 2019

I remember completing 7 days straight and I was really pleased…could I make it to two weeks? Throughout the journey, I have just kept my eyes on the current day and aimed to do a sketch a day. Many people have asked me what is the end goal? Is it 1,000, 5,000, 10,000? The answer remains the same, ‘I’m just trying to do ‘a sketch a day and improve my skills’.

About 8 months of the 1,000 days we were in lockdown so I couldn’t get out to sketch en Plein Air so I completed tutorials, mainly by Peter Sheeler and Nil Rocha Art, and used reference photos (some of which were my own) and sketched from my imagination. On business days it normally has to be from the imagination or a reference photo.

It would be great to say that I improved with each sketch but that did not always happen as I felt, at times, that I plateaued for longer periods than I imagined would happen. Somedays it would seem that I was going backwards, too…

It was also a challenge doing the sketches some days due to tiredness from the business of the working day (I co-run a Finance Broking business and have a part-time role as an Entrepreneurship Facilitator, am involved with Toastmasters International and Red Point Art Association) plus more. There have also been health challenges in our family, and extended family to deal with, including losing three of them.

The practice of doing one a day was also quite meditative. More often than not, I would be playing music softly in the background. With all that has been going on in the world at large and our own world it has been quite a calming experience. I highly recommend it!

Day 1,000 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day – 27 October 2021 (Peter Sheeler Tutorial)

Mostly, I did the sketches in the morning as I was fresher. To get this done before the working day started, I rose earlier. Sometimes, I would get the line sketch done and do the painting after the working day was done. During the week, the sketches are A5 size and on the weekends sometimes larger.

One of the challenges I have in front of me is to be able apply the techniques that I have learnt during the tutorials to my own original works so the journey continues.

Today is Day 1,004 so I will leave it there as I hear my Watercolour Sketchbook calling me!

Written by David Johnson

31 October 2021

Learning Into Practice

Over my Watercolour Sketch a day journey, I have done a number of tutorials by Artists such as Peter Sheeler and Nil Rocha Art. These tutorials have taught me a lot about colour mixing, types of brushes to use in different situations, shadows and much more.

During lockdown in 2020, I chose to do a tutorial every day for 120 days straight and it really opened my eyes and stretched me. In hindsight though, I would have been better off do a tutorial a week as it would have allowed me more time to absorb the new information and techniques that I was being exposed to. Since then, I have been doing them sporadically.

For today’s Watercolour Sketch a day, I decided to do a tutorial by Peter Sheeler (see first image below). I have done some Snow-related images before but none this layered. I had a lot of fun doing it.

A5 – Day 942 of a Watercolour Sketch a day.

Armed with some new techniques, I cleared some time this afternoon and completed an A4 (my Watercolour Sketch a day’s are only A5 size) Watercolour as I was keen to try to implement things that I had learnt in this morning’s tutorial. See image below.

A4 Watercolour Line and wash

I’m very happy with the result, acknowledging that I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be with my creations.

Creating Art is not my full-time profession and I embarked on the Watercolour Sketch a day as I wanted to create a daily Art practice so as I can improve quicker. Each day, I look forward to be able to do my Watercolour Sketch. On weekdays I spend up to an 30 minutes to 1 hour maximum, on weekends it is longer.

Along with doing my daily sketch I am planning to do one A4 Watercolour as well, per weekend.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

29 August 2021

Emotions Harnessed

Cast A New Mould