Shadows & Light

Walking towards the light

The Savvy Painter

Since starting my latest walking programme (I’ve tried a number of times over the years to just have one and keep it going…), I’ve been enjoying discovering different podcasts so that, out on my walks in suburbia (due to a lockdown radius of 5km, currently) I receive some education and inspiration.

The latest one I have come across is ‘ The Savvy Painter’ which is compered by Antrese Wood. It’s in a similar vein to the podcast, ‘Talking With Painters’ that I wrote about recently. ‘The Savvy Painter’ podcast has quickly become a favourite and over the past couple of weeks I have listened to approx. 10 of the shows.

As I’m not a full-time Artist, my day is not surrounded by Art so I appreciate the chance to ‘tap into’ this kind of resource on my walks.

If you would like to check out ‘The Savvy Painter’ podcast here are some links:

There are 252 episodes so I think I have some catching up to do!

Written by David Johnson

26 September 2021

A Way To Escape!

One of the ways I’ve been ‘escaping’ in this current lockdown environment is my walks which are allowed, currently within 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from home. We are blessed to have access to the Nepean River at Camden which is a beautiful spot to walk through (and picnic in normal times).

During lockdown and due to time constraints of the working day, I only get to go down to the Nepean River, Camden on a Wednesday and on the weekend. On other days, I just walk around the suburb. This may sound quite boring, and it could be if not for my nearly 40 years training my eye, firstly via photography and now via sketching and painting as well.

By ‘training me eye’ I mean looking within the scene and the way light interacts with a subject. There is just so much beauty around in seemingly mundane surroundings.

The following images are taken within the suburbs of the 5 kilometre radius we are are restricted to at present.

There are many benefits to be obtained from walking, with exercise being just one of them. I get ideas whilst I walk, for paintings, photos, poetry, articles and business. I either listen to Mother Nature, podcasts or music.

It is quite an immersive experience and a perfect way to ‘escape lockdown.’ I get to walk more days than not during the month. I’m not a good ‘cold-weather’ walker normally so to know that I commenced my latest walking programme in July, which is the middle of Winter in Sydney, was quite pleasing for me.

In programmed walks I have walked 51 kilometres (31.6 miles) in July, 72 kilometres (44.7 miles) in August and am around the 40 kilometre (24.8 miles) mark in September so far. In Winter I walked more towards the middle of the day and as it heats up during Spring/Summer I will walk earlier or later in the day.

Once lockdown is over I shall continue my walks and continue to view the beauty that surrounds!

Written by David Johnson

19 September 2021

Are You Aware?

I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog my love for walking and the reasons I enjoy it, namely:

  • Exercise leading to increased health
  • Idea generation
  • Relaxation
  • Listen to music, podcasts of Nature
  • Time out to think
  • Photographic opportunities

I’m located approximately 60km South West of Sydney, Australia and as I sit here today, we are entering week four of the latest lockdown, this time for the Delta strain of Covid-19.

Walking is a fairly regular activity for me and I generally see a few people out walking in normal times, however, as a friend posted recently on Facebook, ‘nothing spurs people more than a lockdown to take up exercise…’. As a result of the lockdown, there are many more people out exercising.

Whilst it is great to see more people out and about exercising, it’s a shame that it takes a lockdown to ‘spur them on’.

It probably goes without saying, but I carry my phone with me with to:

  • Measure the distance walked
  • Listening activities
  • Photography

Today, I will focus on the photographic opportunities.

As we all know the ubiquitous mobile phone has become an indispensable tool in modern life, sometimes too much so. People seem to be slaves to them. One of its most usable features for me is its camera.

I have an iPhone 8 Plus which is probably getting ‘long in the tooth’ now, technology-wise and we will probably update them in the coming twelve months. There are better camera phones out there for sure but this one is doing ok at present.

The camera I would really like to be taking on my walks is one I haven’t bought yet as I have had other priorities. More on that in a later blog.

For the time being I will make do with the phone camera.

Taking up photography in the early 1980’s increased my awareness of what is around me in terms of beauty and design. Taking up sketching, drawing and painting I believe has increased my awareness even more.

Below are a few examples of the things that attract my eye as I go walking. When I go walking, I seldom see other people taking photos on their walks. I wonder if they are aware of the the beauty and design that surrounds them?

Are you?

Till next time…

Written by David Johnson

19 July 2021

A Trip To The Country – Part 3 – Millthorpe

We have ventured up to Millthorpe a number of times since 1995 as it is the home of one of our great friend’s ‘the Dixons’, in fact Susan and Diane have been great friends since their school days.

This time, we were up there for the Wedding of their eldest son. I’m going to leave the wedding to another post, in fact, I will wait till the official Wedding photos arrive.

Millthorpe is a historical village classified by the National Trust and was originally called, ‘Spring Grove.’ More details about the name change and further detail about the town can be found in the link below.

Even though we have been going up there for a many years it is really only in the last two or three visits that I have actually been able to walk around the Town. Mostly, we have been up there for Family celebrations of one type or another.

A rather strange thing happened this time…My DSLR did not come out of the bag. Instead, armed with a small sketchbook, three pigment liners and just my phone camera, I took the chance to do some rough sketches and took many reference photos.

Millthorpe’s buildings are older ones and have a lot of character and I seem to love sketching and painting architecture. I’ve come back with quite a few ideas for sketches/paintings and the camera phone is good enough for reference photos for the moment.

As with any town there are a few Churches as well. I can see myself tackling these types of buildings as well.

I didn’t get a chance to go into the Museum this time around but was delighted to see some Art forms and industrial machinery on the outside.

The weather this time was beautiful and sunny on the Friday and Monday, however, Saturday and Sunday were very cold with single digit temperatures in Celsius.

Usually, we stay with the Dixons, however this time they had a full house so we stayed at a local Air BnB, ‘Millthorpe on Morley.’ It was the first time staying via Air BnB and it was extremely comfortable and very friendly.

The view from the front verandah below (where I was able to sit and journal) on the Saturday morning was very beautiful.

As always, I look forward to our next visit to Millthorpe!

Written by David Johnson

18 April 2021

For more information about Millthorpe, visit:

Mother Nature – Artist

Walking is something I love to do, however, unfortunately, it is something that has only happened intermittently of late due to all sorts of reasons and maybe a couple of excuses.

What better time to restart the activity than the time between Christmas and New Year.

Unlike last year here in Sydney Australia (when bushfires and thick smoke continued for months and 40C/104F+ temperatures), this Christmas has seen downpour after downpour and (so far) cooler temperatures 23C/73F – 33C/91F for Summer.

This morning I walked approx. 3km/0.62miles just ‘as a starter’ as it has been nearly 2 months since the last one. With cloudy skies and recent rain it was ‘cloudy bright’ overhead which delivered nice, even lighting.

On my travels today, I found some interesting tree bark patterns and thought I would share them. Mother Nature certainly provides us with a range of designs and colours. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Written by David Johnson

29 December 2020

Listen, Learn and Be Inspired!

As I set off on my walk this morning, I cued up one of my favourite podcasts, ‘Sketching Stuff’ by Charlie O’Shields, activated RunKeeper and off I went.

I currently live in the suburbs, approx. 60 kilometres (37 miles) South-West of Sydney, Australia and about 20 mins walk away there is a river with natural bush alongside of it.

If I walk early enough, ie before the traffic starts, I can listen to Nature. If I walk later in the day, it’s a podcast followed by music (if the podcast finishes and I haven’t finished my walk).

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Upon my return today, I started thinking about my podcast library and looking at the number of podcasts that I had subscribed to over time…(a lot), it seemed to me that I needed to do some culling.

In no particular order, these are the ones that are left:

Sketching Stuff
Steal The Show
Clear & Vivid with Alan Alda
The Thriving Christian Artist
Plein Air Podcast
The Art Show
Business Coaching Secrets – Karl Bryan
Liron Yanconsky – Art & Creativity
The Mentor – Mark Bouris
Bradbury 100 (Ray Bradbury – Author)
Talking With Painters
Kerwin Radio
Conversations
Poem Of The Day

Daily Breath With Deepak Chopra

Some of these go from as little as 2 minutes to just over an hour. Some I listen to on a regular basis, others, now and then.

There is such a wealth of inspiration and knowledge at our fingertips. I am so grateful that they exist.

What podcasts do you listen to?

Written by David Johnson
18 July 2020

The Key

‘Not So Hidden Gems…’

I love to walk and it’s my favourite exercise.

Now it is more important than ever in this current world climate where we can only go out for ‘essential’ reasons and fortunately, one of those reasons is exercise.

There is no better time (if you are able) to start a walking programme as it will not only help your physical fitness, it will help you mental health as well, I believe. Staying cooped up in a house all week can be challenging, whether you are an Introvert, Extrovert or if you are like me, an Ambivert. I started off life as an Introvert.

Even before the COVID-19 crises, I loved to walk. I find it relaxing, fun and great way to clear my mind. I get many ideas on my walks for paintings, photos, articles for my blog, poems and even business ideas. It is also great for physical fitness.

I usually start off listening to a podcast e.g. usually something to do with creativity and once that finishes, some music or if I am walking in natural surroundings I will just listen to the sounds of Nature.

On Easter Saturday, I set off for one of my walks at about 6.30am and finished up walking 5km (3.1miles). The Sun was not yet up but light had started emanating from the horizon. It’s a beautiful time to begin a walk.

I love sighting ‘not so hidden gems’ on my walks. These ‘not so hidden gems’ are often in plain sight, we are just not always aware they are there. I credit my awareness with taking up Photography in 1982 and Painting in the last few years. Both disciplines force you to look at the detail and help you become more aware of your surroundings, in particular the way light interacts with things.

Below is a selection of ‘not so hidden gems’ that I discovered on my walk yesterday.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Written by David Johnson
13 April 2020

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