Bumboras Beach – Norfolk Island

In February this year, Susan and I visited Norfolk Island for the 3rd time, this time to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

The first 2 times we went there (1997 & 2007), I was deeply entrenched in Photography. Whilst I took photos again on my DSLR, I also took a lot of reference photos on with my phone camera for when I returned.

The image below is one such image.

On Saturday last, I chose this image as my reference photo for Day 1,220 of a Watercolour Sketch a Day.

Bumboras Beach – Norfolk Island

In 3 visits to Norfolk Island, this was our first visit to this popular picnic spot. The island in the distance is Phillip Island.

Materials used:

  • Moleskine 200gsm Sketchbook
  • Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.05
  • Winsor and Newton Artist Quality Paint
  • Neef Watercolour brushes

I think I am getting better with my sketching/painting of rocks/boulders and am happier with the bottom half of the image than the top half.

I will have another attempt at this on a small scale and then would will aim to do an A4 size.

If you are ever on Norfolk Island, don’t wait until your 3rd visit to visit this beautiful spot.

Till next time!

David Johnson

6 June 2022

Mental Transfusion

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

Golden Glow

Relaxation That Follows/Waiting For Inspiration

As my Followers would be aware, recently my Wife and I went to Norfolk Island. Since returning from Paradise it ‘has been all go’ though strangely (but no surprise) I have felt a greater sense of relaxation throughout this busy time. I put that down to the way of life that is Norfolk Island.

Anson Bay, Norfolk Island

I have felt this way before after both our previous trips to the Island. It is hard to imagine unless you have experienced it but as soon as you step off the plane on Norfolk Island a wave of relaxation washes over you. Each time upon returning home, that relaxation has followed me.

We have been very busy since our return (even though the sense of relaxation remained)…

  • Our Finance Broking business is growing more and more/more enquiries since our return
  • I am also part of an emerging BNI (Business Network International) business breakfast referral group
  • Doing training/education associated with both of the above
  • I continue to do my Entrepreneurship Facilitator role (mentoring start-up businesses)
  • My Watercolour Sketch a Day project continues
  • I am gearing up to have a stall for my Watercolours down at Red Point Artist Association in May
  • Still involved with Toastmasters (though have only made it to one meeting)
  • Judging at one of the local Photographic Societies
  • Catching up with Family/Friends

One thing that had not happened since my return was ‘my morning writing time’, or indeed much writing time at all. It is a bit of a culture-shock to come back from such a relaxing holiday and jump headlong into being so busy but ‘life waits for no-one!’ I usually enjoy an hour or two on a Saturday and/or Sunday morning. Sometimes, it is later in the day.

I haven’t put many poems on the blog since my return almost 6 weeks ago. It is probably (since I started writing poetry in 2013) the longest writing break I’ve experienced since then.

For a moment there I started to think that maybe ‘my poetry writing had run its course…’. This morning (Good Friday here in Australia), I finally felt like picking up my trusty Fountain Pen and started to write, inspired by a photo I took whilst on Norfolk Island. A short, twelve-line poem came out, then a sixteen-line one, then an eight-line one, all of which I will upload.

Sometimes I guess, we just have to let ‘Nature take its course…’. The seeds of the Poems were there…I just had to be patient and wait for the inspiration to come…

Till next time!

Written and Photographed by David Johnson

15 April 2022

Norfolk Island Is

I Climbed Upon A Mountaintop

Music To My Ears!

The idea for this post came from a post I did on my Facebook Newsfeed some time ago…. I cannot play a note of music but I so love listening to it.

I thought I would expand on my choices on this blog. The following are in no particular order.

THE BEATLES: I was born in 1963 so I was only 7 years old when The Beatles broke up. I have a Sister, Cheryl who is 10 years older than I and Cheryl was 11 years of age when they toured Australia. As you can imagine, Beatles records were played all the time and my young ears heard them ‘all the time’ and I loved their sound and still do to today. The melodies, the voices, the Chuck Berry inspired music still strikes a chord with me.

LEE KERNAGHAN: Lee is one of Australia’s best known Country Music artists and I first started to listen in 1992 when he released “The Outback Club.” Some 17 albums later Im still enjoying his music immensely. I’ve seen him in concert once. I love putting his music when out driving, particularly as we are ‘heading on down the road…

LAMBCHOP: This is a band that I stumbled upon by accident. I was attending a ‘Photo Discussion Group’ session at a friend’s house and there was this music that I had never heard before playing in the background. My friend described them to me as, ‘Lounge Jazz.’ The next day (in the early 2,000’s) I went out and bought the album. I now have 6 albums and they are are favourite that I play when sketching and painting.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & (THE E-STREET BAND): My Brother, Larry was an early fan back in the early to mid 1970’s, having purchased his first three albums. At the age of 12 I heard the Born To Run album and I was hooked. We were thrilled to see him in concert in 1985 (4 1/4 hour concert including 6 encores). I saw him again in 2013 and 2014. I have 20 of his albums and never tire of listening to his music.

AMY GRANT: Back in the early 1980’s I started working in the Sydney CBD and it was a fascinating place to explore and discover things. One lunchtime I remember coming across a Christian bookshop which sold music. LP’s and Cassette Tapes still ruled back then and as I flipped through the Tapes I came across, ‘Amy Grant.’ I hadn’t heard of her before and a discussion ensued with the salesperson who very kindly played part of the Tape for me on a Cassette Deck (boy, am I showing my age)! Out of the Deck came one of the sweetest voices I had heard in a long time. The album was, ‘Amy Grant – The Collection.’ Years later I purchased it on CD. I have purchased more of Amy Grant’s albums since and still find her voice quiet calming.

ELVIS PRESLEY: My Brother, Larry was a big influence here. Four years older than me, he was ‘right into Elvis’ and so (similar to The Beatles), in my younger years, Elvis records were played a lot. I particularly love the period between 1954 and 1961, and 1968 to 1977. The ‘Sun Sessions’ are Golden , as is the period up until 1960. Another artist I never tire of hearing.

BONNIE RAITT: I came across Bonnie Raitt in the late 1980’s and was introduced via the ‘Nick Of Time’ album. I read later that Bruce Springsteen had ‘opened’ for her back in 1971. Her style of R & B really appeals to me and if you get a chance, check out her duet with John Lee Hooker on ‘I’m In The Mood’ on YouTube. Brilliant!

TOMMY EMMANUEL: The Australian Guitar maestro! I first heard his music in 1990 via his debut album, ‘Dare To Be Different.’ Tommy Emmanuel does not sing and doesn’t really need to as the magic he does on his guitar stands on its own. A favourite of mine when I sketch or paint, or am writing Poetry, his music can be calming and also inspirational.

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN: Introduced to his music in the mid 1980’s I have been a fan ever since. His music captures me and his energy and fluent guitar playing, especially in the instrumentals are Gold. Sadly, gone from this Earth too early.

STATUS QUO: Again, my Brother had a bit of influence here as he was already a fan with one of their albums, ‘Piledriver.’ I purchased ‘On The Level’ and I was sold. Their heads-up-all-in-boogie sound has always made me feel great and if I’m feeling a bit down, it raises my mood.

What Bands/Singers can you not do without in your life, and why?

Written by David Johnson

2 December 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

renewed focus