I Was Led…

I Was Led...

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A First For Me!

Last month I achieved a First with my painting!

I had the pleasure of seeing one of my paintings on a gallery wall for the First Time Ever!

The opportunity came via a local Artist, Kerrie Abello who had recently set up the ‘Dragonfly Community Gallery in Campbelltown, NSW, Australia which is about 15 minutes drive from where I live. Campbelltown is a City situated approx. 50kms from Sydney in the Macarthur Region.

The Dragonfly Community Gallery is the first of its type in the area and hopefully, not the last.

Kerrie is looking to give local Artists a chance (just like myself and others who were part of the gallery’s First Exhibition) an outlet to show off their talent.

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Kerrie being interviewed – Dragonfly Community Gallery, Campbelltown

The painting I chose was one I had finished painting in 2017, an Acrylic and Oil called “Abundance of Joy” 90cm x 30cm and can be seen below.

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“Abundance Of Joy” – David Johnson

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed at the Gallery by Brian Laul and Frank Michel, two local businesspeople who video interview local businesspeople and identities in the Macarthur Region for the “Good Morning Macarthur” Facebook Page, an initiative they set up. Thank you, Brian and Frank.

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Brian Laul and Frank Michel from “Good Morning Macarthur”

I’m not a full-time artist and had thought that (apart from wanting to enter the local Art Prizes for fun), it would be a while before any painting of mine would grace the wall of a gallery.

It was an amazing experience sharing the wall with other Artists, some of whom are part-timers just like me. It has now inspired me to think about having my own exhibition or having one in conjunction with one or two other people.

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I would like to thank Kerrie Abello for the opportunity, not only for accepting my painting as part of the Dragonfly Community Gallery’s 1st Ever Exhibition, but for inspiring me to expand my thinking around my Art.

Written by David Johnson
12 October 2019
Good Morning Macarthur interview: Kerrie Abello followed by myself (@15 minute mark)
For more details about the Dragonfly Community Gallery:

Backroad Nation

Last night, my wife Susan and I went to see Lee Kernaghan on his ‘Backroad Nation’ Tour backed by The Wolfe Brothers at the Evan Theatre, Penrith Panthers Club approx. 60km away in Western Sydney, Australia.

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Lee Kernaghan OAM* has been one of the shining lights of Australian Country Music for the past 27 years and we’ve been fans for nearly that long, though this is the first time that we have ever seen him in concert. We always seem to have had something clashing on the dates when he was playing near Sydney prior to this.

Lee Kernaghan OAM is an Australian Country Music singer, songwriter and guitarist. He was the 2008 Australian of the Year, in recognition for his support of rural and regional Australia. He has  numerous awards including 37 ‘Golden Guitars’ at the world famous Australian Tamworth Country Music Awards, an event where accomodation is booked out years in advance.

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He was being backed by long-term friends, The Wolfe Brothers who hail from Tasmania, Australia and have been producing albums in their own right since 2012. In 2019, they won 4 ‘Golden Guitar’ awards including, including the coveted Album Of The Year honour with their critically-acclaimed fourth album, Country Heart.

Also accompanying the band were, Christie Lamb, Country Female Artist of the Year in 2018, who was in turn accompanied by Jonathon English (who is the son of the late, legendary Jon English, a star of stage, screen and music in Australia).

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The atmosphere was intimate (the theatre holds only 900 people), electric and a celebration of not only Australian Country Music but as Lee says, “It’s about feeling that good vibration when you get off the beaten track and the country wraps itself around you.”

The concert and the performances within met and exceeded the expectations I had for it.

There were the poignant moments of ’The Spirit of the ANZACS’ when Lee asked us all to stand during the song to pay tribute to Service Men and Women past and present; the tribute to Slim Dusty**, Australia’s King of Country Music, ‘Flying With The King’ to the rollicking moments when songs that celebrated iconic Country Australia with songs such as ‘Backroad Nation’, ‘ Beautiful Noise’, ‘She’s My Ute’***, ‘Waitin’ On A Mate’ and ‘Let There Be Cowgirls’ and ‘The Outback Club.’

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Also of note was a brilliant version of ‘Great Balls Of Fire’, one of the songs, Lee remarked that he played early on in his career when he didn’t have enough of his own songs to get through a set.

Am looking forward to picking up some of The Wolfe Brothers albums as I really love their sound. Am also keen to explore more Jonathon English’s music. I am a huge fan of his Father’s music and it was plain for all to see and hear that his son has all the makings of being a star in his own right.

We are certainly looking forward to the next time we can see Lee Kernaghan in concert!

Written by David Johnson
14 September 2019

Footnotes:

*     OAM – Order of Australia Merit
**   Slim Dusty – Australian cultural icon with a career spanning 70 years
***  Ute – Short for Utility. A term used in Australia to describe vehicles with a tray behind the passenger compartment

Everyone’s A Critic

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered an ABC TV programme called ‘Everyone’s A Critic.’

The programme states that “each week a cross-section of Australians become Art critics as they discuss some of the most renowned art works in the country.”

Some of the critics are avid gallery visitors, whilst others are going into a gallery for the first time…

So far, I have watch four of the episodes and it is thoroughly fascinating to watch.

I’m sure that we are all aware that all of us have:

  • different points of view
  • grown up in different environments
  • have been subjected to different influences
  • Have different belief systems

A single piece of art can effect different people in dramatically different ways and often we judge the image and the artist based on what is there in front of us. How often do we see what we think the image is about, only to find that what the artwork is about (in the artist’s mind) is completely different.

One such image is “The Cripples” Arthur Boyd -1943. Pictured here, most who saw it were aghast that it was an image depicting those with disabilities in an unflattering way.

The Cripples - Arthur Boyd

It wasn’t until they heard the Artist’s backstory and the Artist Statement regarding the painting that they could begin to appreciate and understand why it was painted and what the painting was about. It was influenced by World War II and the fact that they kept sending previously injured soldiers back to fight again.

When I go to a Gallery I will look at the image first and see how it effects me then I will read the Artist’s Statement.

How about you? Do you read the Artist Statement first then look at the Art?

Written by David Johnson
September 2019

Creating New Habits, Not Resolutions – Part 2

Back in January this year, I published a post on this blog titled, ‘Creating New Habits, Not Resolutions.’

I related how that there were certain positive changes that I wanted to implement in my life. I set up a spreadsheet, listed the new habits and proceeded to (over time) introduce new habits one-by-one, so as not to overload myself. Each day, I checked the ones off I had done.

It seemed like a great idea at the time, however, as life does (when you set goals) all sorts of challenges came up, notwithstanding the biggest which was family related involved the health of my wife’s parents (which is ongoing).

By the time all 11 new habits were in play, I only managed to achieve all of them done, 5 times i.e. there were 5 days when all 11 habits were checked off. The rest of the time some were and some weren’t…

Some of the new habits were, meditation, walking, exercising, watercolour sketching…

By the time June 2019 arrived I began to realise that it just wasn’t working. One of the problems was that I seemed to be ‘just checking them off to say that they were done…’ and it became a chore rather than the seamless inclusion in my life that I was expecting.

Watercolour sketching was the only habit that I checked off every day. As of yesterday, I have completed a Watercolour Sketch 228 days in a row.

Observations from this exercise are:

  • I was putting too much pressure on myself
  • Watercolour sketching is now my meditation
  • I’m now aiming (one at a time) to add 3 new habits into my life
  • I believe there is enough pressure in life without us putting more upon ourselves.

We are a week into Spring in Sydney, Australia. It is starting to warm up a little so I think regular walking will be the next habit I introduce.

Keep smiling!

Written by David Johnson
11 September 2019

Creative Noon

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of experiencing my first ‘Creative Noon’ event.

Creative Noon is a gathering of ‘creatives’ at a Cafe/Restaurant in Campbelltown, which is situated approx. 60km South West of Sydney, Australia and is approx. 10 minutes drive from where I live.

It was started by two ladies, Sandie O’Neill (Licence to Create) & Janeen Harris in conjunction with Sonya Moluang who owns and operates ‘Bar Centrale’, the cafe/restaurant.

The idea was simple. They wanted to create a non-competitive environment in which creatives of all types could gather for 2 1/2 hours on a Saturday afternoon to create, chat and enjoy a refreshment or two.

We each did a quick introduction, saying our name and what types of creativity we are involved in. There were about 10 people there this time and it seems multiple people are into multiple types of Artistic endeavours including: Photography; Writing Poetry; Oil Painting; Watercolour Painting, Sculpting; Soft Pastel, YarnBombing (never heard of that one before), Crocheting, Drawing, Sketching, Mixed Media, Stained Glass, Mosaics to name but a few.

I had a wonderful time meeting and chatting. Yesterday, I took my Watercolours and the resulting creation can be viewed at the base of this article. Other art forms represented yesterday were Soft Pastel, Drawing, YarnBombing, Crocheting.

Insights and inspiration can come from anywhere. Mixing with other creatives can open the door to other views, other opinions of your artistic creations. It can help you see things different ways and can help you grow in your artistic journey.

Am very much looking forward to the next ‘Creative Noon!’

Written by David Johnson
4 August 2019
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Sketchbook Revival 2019

A couple of months ago, when visiting doodlewash.com (one of the blogs I follow on WordPress), I came upon an event called, “Sketchbook Revival 2019.” Sketchbook Revival (as I found out) was in its second year and was started by Karen Abend and her team.

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It began in late April and the organisers invited 25 Artists to give an instruction via a 25 – 50 minute video which was recorded live then emailed (or accessed via the schedule page) to eager participants like myself.

A wide range of mediums were covered including pencil, pen, Watercolour, Acrylic, Mixed-Media, Charcoal, Digital and a host of others.

Each participant received 2 videos daily over 13 days and then we all had another 14 days to access the videos for free. Some of the topics included: “Portrait Party”, “Sidewalk Cracks”, “Whimsical Buildings”, “Sketching Like A Kid Again”, Sketching Our Intuition”, “Object Observation” and much, much more.

As the video played, you could ‘tag along’ and paint, sketch, draw etc with the Artist. It was a great chance, not only to use mediums that you are used to using but also try out some other mediums whilst being guided.

After each video we were invited to share our creations in the closed Facebook Group so that everyone could see and comment on them if they wished. The Artists gave feedback as well.

I’ve included some of my creations below.

Each Artist also gave participants a free gift to encourage them on their creative journey and there were also links to the Artists’ websites where there more free resources plus paid courses to investigate.

Overall, I found it to be a most rewarding experience. It has certainly changed the way I think about producing creative works, particularly in my sketchbook.

I am so looking forward to Sketchbook Revival 2020!

Written by David Johnson

3 June 2019

Here is the link to the Facebook Group.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/SketchbookRevival/

 

Watercolour Sketch A Day Continues…

Back on Australia Day, 26 January 2019, I decided to do a Watercolour Sketch a Day, mainly because I was inconsistent in getting to actually paint. I wanted to learn Watercolour and would do a small one, then life would intervene and before I knew it, another couple of weeks had passed and so on…

As of today (Day 127) I have done 127 Watercolour Sketches in a row. It continues to be fun and has become a kind of therapy and it helps me escape into my own little world and away from digital technology, as digital seems to have pervaded into most areas of our lives. I find it quite meditative and am thoroughly enjoying this journey of fun and learning!

Currently, I have about 3 sketchbooks going. One is a Paper Mill A4 heavier Ivory paper (that sadly the manufacturer has advised is now unavailable), a Moleskine Watercolour A5 Journal (200gsm) and an A4 (120gsm) hardcover Journal.

With the Paper Mill Journal being unavailable, I think that I will have a go at building my own. More on that in another post.

I use Cotman Watercolour Half-Pans, Aqua Wash (mainly) and some conventional brushes and Staedtler Pigment Liners and Derwent pencils.

For now, here is a selection of my Watercolour Sketches since Day 67.

Written by David Johnson
1 June 2019

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Day 67 – Peppers Manor House Woodshed
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Day 72 – Bark
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Day 84 – Contemplation
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Day 86 – Paperbark & Grass
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Day 91 – Park Stairway
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Day 92 – Afternoon Church
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Day 100 – Gouldian Finch
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Day 110 – Wyangala Waters
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Day 114 – Erosion
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Day 119 – Point Pigeon Lighthouse
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Day 124 – Lighthouse
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Day 127 – River Reflections

Opportunity Knocks!

Last month I had the opportunity to speak at my very First conference. It was held at the Pepper Manor House in the Southern Highlands of NSW. A beautiful, grand old house in quite a picturesque location.

I was invited to speak at ICCare (formerly known as Wollondilly Support and Community Care Inc) which is based in Picton, NSW but its coverage also extends to the Camden, NSW region.ICCARE LOGO

ICCare provide quality, professional service/support to people who are frail, aged, people with a disability and their carers.

My topic for the presentation was, “Public Speaking” and I was advised that I would be speaking for an hour and then there would be time for questions.

As with many of the general population, some of the staff have had challenges with public speaking and this is how the presentation came about.

Although my presentation was by PowerPoint, I was careful not to present too many slides with bullet points only, as this can be quiet boring for an audience.

Instead, (on some slides) I used images to represent ideas that I was talking about.

During the presentation, I gave tips on overcoming nerves, preparation, speech structure, public speaking techniques and also gave a demonstration of ‘Impromptu Speaking’ or “Thinking On Your Feet’ as it is sometimes known.

I then invited a member of the audience up and another member of the audience gave them a topic to speak on for one minute.

After that, I invited 4 members of the audience up to participate in a ‘Round Robin’ which is another Impromptu Speaking exercise but much more fun.

After a 20 minute question period we adjourned to lunch and shared a few stories.

Thank you to Lisa Smith, CEO of ICCare for this opportunity.

I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience and can’t wait for the next public speaking opportunity!

Written by David Johnson
16 May 2019

For more information on the services provided by ICCare, please click on the following link: http://wsacci.org.au/

A Charming Old Shed

Yesterday, I delivered a presentation at a conference at Peppers Manor House, Sutton Forest in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia.

Peppers Manor House was built in 1878 by Henry Edward Kater and was the rural retreat for the Kater family for almost one hundred years.

In the grounds there are a few buildings, one being a charming old shed that caught my eye. I snapped an image with my phone as I was keen to use it as my ‘Day 67’ Watercolour Sketch inspiration.

Both images are below. I’m thinking of doing a larger version of it, in time.

Written by David Johnson
3 April 2019

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The Journey Continues…

On 26 January 2019, I decided to do a Watercolour Sketch a Day.

This is the second article devoted to this. Today is Day 37 and I am happy to report that I have not missed a single day thus far.

Am having a lot of fun and hopefully learning a bit more each day and am challenging myself to often go beyond the subjects that I was sketching/painting in Watercolour initially.

I am using Winsor & Newton Cotman Half-Pan paints in a Moleskine Watercolour Journal.

Here are a selection from Day 19 to Day 33 here.

Still so much to learn, Am looking forward to attempting different subjects as time goes by.

Written by David Johnson
3 March 2019

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“Receding Cliffs” Day 19
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“Fenced In” Day 21
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“The Bridge” Day 23
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“Patio” Day 25
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“Ranges” Day 27
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“Valley View” Day 31
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“Old Shed” Day 33