Sentinels In The Distance

Things That Attract My Eye! – 2

One of the types of subjects that I have always enjoyed photographing since I took up Photography in 1982 is the ‘everyday things’ that we come into contact with.

Prior to taking up photography, I certainly was not aware how beautiful mundane subjects were. Photography created a new awareness within me and since I took up sketching and painting, this awareness of my surroundings has deepened.

It really is amazing at just how many beautiful subjects there are if we only would take the time to notice.

I’ve included some images below that I hope you will find as interesting and as beautiful as I do. All were taken in 2022.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

3 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

Winter Sun

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

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

Moments – The Car Wash

Are we grabbing opportunities when they arrive?

In our lives, there are many ‘moments’ that we have the opportunity to do something different with that moment, but we don’t think of ways how we can use those moments better. I’ve been thinking over time ‘how I’ve used some of my moments?’

I’m talking about those moments when you are waiting… it might be for an appointment, waiting to go somewhere or sitting in your car in a car wash, like I was on late Sunday afternoon.

To be sure, we could just sit and think and watch the spray etc. Instead, I used the opportunity to explore the car wash with my phone camera. I did this before, many years ago with a car wash that used brushes however this was a brushless car wash.

Below are the results.

Next time you are sitting in a car wash, pull out your camera and see what interesting images you can come up with.

Looking forward to my next visit to the car wash!

Written & Photographed by David Johnson

31 May 2022

On This Island…

Light That Inspires!

Over the years, both as an enthusiast Photographer (entering competitions up to International level) and Photographic Judge (up to National level), I have been asked, ‘what is your favourite subject?’

I imagine that people are expecting me to say things like, ‘landscapes, seascapes, people, architecture etc’.

My answer is simply, ‘light and its effect on subjects’.

Light of course needs shadow to create contrast so maybe I should say that my favourite subject to photograph is, ‘light and shadow and their effect on subjects’.

Here are a few images of ‘light and shadow’ that inspired me on our recent trip to Norfolk Island.

Till next time!

Written & Photographed by David Johnson

30 March 2022

Signal