Journal To Discovery

It never occurred to me many years ago to keep a Journal, not a Diary, but a Journal of thoughts and ideas. It would have been great to be able to delve into now to see what sorts of things I was thinking of way back when.
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The idea to keep such a thing only started to enter my thinking around 2010. I started a small one for photographic ideas that I would definitely need the use of Photoshop to engineer as they were moving towards ‘Conceptual Photography.’ I would write a few brief notes and then do basic drawings or a sketch. Ironically, these days I seldom use Photoshop, but that’s for another article…

At my core I am ‘an ideas person.’ I have a lot of them and sometimes the phrase, ’shiny object syndrome’ comes to mind. Through 2003 – 2009 I was traveling 4 hours return by public transport to work in Sydney, Australia, was in two Photographic Societies, on committees and had lots of things on the go. Over the years, I have many ideas and some of them have progressed but many are still there, waiting…

In 2008 Toastmasters arrived in my life and I was being exposed to new things, ideas, people. Evernote became my ’Typed Journal.’

I began to revisit Sketches (that were not connected with Photographic ideas) which led me to keep a related Sketching journal, which led to me completing a basic Drawing course. Up sprang another type of Journal!

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Drawing led to me wondering if I could Paint? Up sprang a small Painting ‘Journal.’

In August 2013, I started writing Poetry, so yes, enter my Evernote Poetry Journal. Two years ago I realised just how much I was missing the ‘actual act of writing’ and so I bought an A5 journal that I handwrite poetry in. As I was halfway through my 4th poetry journal, a thought came to mind… Instead of having all these different Journals, why not combine them?
Research began on what type of journal to buy? This went on for a few weeks…

I ascertained it had to be able to be good enough quality paper to be:

  • Written on using a Calligraphy (or similar pen)
  • Able to withstand Watercolour and Acrylic Paints
  • Sketched or Drawn upon

As I found out, there is a whole industry devoted to Journals/Journaling. Here is one of the links that were indeed very helpful to me, as I hope it will be for you.

The next decision was, ’should I buy a ready-made’ product or make my own?’

I decided to go the ready-made route. I feel that my next one will be one I make myself. It sounds like fun!

The Journal I have chosen to combine all my Artistic, Writing & Poetical ideas is an A4 Ivory paper journal.

In this Journal, to my Heart’s content I can:

  • Write Poetry
  • Write small articles
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Sketch
  • Formulate Ideas
  • Paste photos

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As I get on in years it is going to be so much fun delving back, re-engineering ideas and seeing what thoughts and ideas I have had. When I am no longer on this Earth the Journals will be left to relatives/friends who I know will appreciate and gain enjoyment from (and who knows) may progress some of the ideas and be inspired to record their own Artistic Journey.

Do you keep a Journal of your Art, Thoughts & Ideas?

If so, what do you use? I would be interested in hearing about your Journal of Discovery!

As for me, I believe I can hear my Journal calling me… Bye for now.

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Music To My Ears!

Music is such a wonderful thing. Can I play it? No, except if you count the half a song I learnt to play on my 3rd learning attempt at the age of 16, in 1979 with my Brother, Larry as Tutor.

Or in 2011, when I purchased a Harmonica as I had always enjoyed its sound, and found out that learning to play it would assist with breathing, in terms of doing public speaking. I learnt the first two lines of ‘Kum By Yah.’ The first two lines are exactly the same…hmmm. Like the guitar, I lacked the daily discipline of practice. That could probably be the end of the line as far as me attempting to play music…

Larry went on to learn 1/2 dozen different instruments, write some music, can sing, does Watercolour painting and uses soft Pastels.

I was in a shop yesterday, and The Beatles, ‘Penny Lane’ came on. My mind was instantly transported back to my early years when life seemed no doubt, easier, more fun where I had no responsibilities. Such wonderful memories flooded back!

7 years of age when The Beatles ‘called it a day’ in 1970, my music world was full of The Beatles, Pop, Motown etc courtesy of my Sister, Cheryl who was 17 at the time. My Brother, Larry (4 years older than me) was also heavily into ‘The Lads From Liverpool’, The Beach Boys, other band legends from the 60’s, Elvis and 50’s music.

Moving into the 70’s my sibling’s musical influences on me continued with Neil Diamond, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen, to name but a few.

Even though the joy of being able to play music has seemingly escaped my life, music continues to be an incredible force in my life.

Yes, I am a long-term Beatles, Elvis & Bruce Springsteen Fan but my musical tastes did broaden over the ensuing years and include:

The Rolling Stones; Tommy Emmanuel; Status Quo; James Morrison (Trumpet); Amy Grant; Frank Sinatra; Gene Krupa, Dean Martin, John Lee Hooker, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Guitar Shorty, Lambchop; Lee Kernaghan, John Denver, Galapagos Duck; Acoustic Alchemy; Vivaldi; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Fourplay, The Moody Blues, Creedence Clearwater Revival, MUSE, are some of my other favourites.

Genres include Rock, Pop, Blues, Australian Country, Motown, Disco, Swing, Jazz, Folk, Classical and some Alternative.

Music inspires me, soothes, relaxes and entertains me and for that, I am exceedingly grateful.

Written by David Johnson
9 July 2017

I Have An Addiction…

Yes, I have to admit that I have an addiction and it’s one that I have had since my school years… Well, actually I have two!

The first one is that I love Libraries, and probably too much!

Yes, I have a love of books which began at a very early stage in my life. I can remember being taken to Lakemba Library by Mum. In 1974 (aged 11) I won the Library Book-week Award.

Libraries for me were such fun places for a young mind to be. I remember being interested in a number of subjects, Geology, Astronomy, Aircraft, Ships, Science-Fiction, Movies but to name a few. Libraries are a font of information and (these days) some have questioned their relevance with the ever-present Internet now wound indelibly into our lives.

Our High School had a library (originally in an old classroom, but then a more modern separate facility was built up on top of the Science labs from memory). As soon as practicable after an assignment was given, I was off to the Library to do research and disappear into the ‘World of Books!’

I could quite happily spend hours at a Library when I was younger. As I grew up I would enjoy spending more and more time at the Library, taking as many books as I was allowed, and then enjoyed sifting through them at home, exploring and discovering worlds that I had not seen, experiencing (through books) things I had not done.

Fast forward to when I started work (1979, 16 years of age) wherever I was working I would search out where the local libraries were and join them, particularly if I was in an area for a while. Over the years I have been a member of approx. 12 Libraries.

I’m currently a member of 4 Libraries. Why still so many, and particularly when the Internet is such a force for information gathering? The Internet is a wonderful source for information for sure. Sometimes though it is overwhelming in its choice of what sites/people to take notice of?

For the amount of information, the Internet obviously wins hands down, so have Libraries lost their importance, their place in the world at large or in my world?

No, I don’t believe so for the following reasons:

1. When you walk into a Library it is like walking into an ‘inner sanctum.’ You are physically surrounded by knowledge, by the experiences of others and a sense of imminent discovery. Books, waiting on shelves, waiting for someone to accept them into their lives, to share their knowledge and wisdom. Often a library is a place of minimal noise and it is a place of relaxation for the mind. At least that is how it is for me.

2. The Internet has many people airing their views and information for all to see. Is everything on the Internet correct? There is no-one or body vetting the information before it appears there. From what I understand, the individual library will choose the books that they will have in their library so at least there is a ‘control’ to a certain extent.

3. The Library of the 21st Century is in the continual process of change to ensure it maintains its relevance in the community. Whilst at times the there is still a quietness about a Library, it now welcomes more and more groups as a meeting place. Craft, reading, discussion groups, retirees as well as the younger folk use the library as a meeting place. It is continuing to bring individuals and communities together.

It is pleasing to see change happen in libraries for without change they could quickly lose their relevance.

My second addiction, unfortunately, does not stop at ‘being a member of multiple libraries.’ My thirst for knowledge remains unabated and sometimes I have multiple books out, as many as 12 but thankfully sanity is prevailing and now don’t go above 4.

Whilst I read fiction, a lot of the books borrowed are reference books on all manner of subjects e.g. Photography, Art, Painting, Drawing, Cacti & Succulents, Sketching, Travel, Astronomy, Music, Business, Self Development, Poetry, Verse, History and so on…

Just this morning I walked out with, another 2 Art-related books which make a total of 4 this week.

At age 54, my ‘love of Libraries’ is still there!

This is one addiction that is going to happily continue! 🙂

Written by David Johnson

1 July 2017

The Human Spirit

It is a pleasant surprise when reading the news, to come across a ‘good news’ story, because as we know ’The News’ is often filled with depressing stories, fact and opinion.
For some time now, I’ve been accessing my News via ‘Google News’, which allows me to set up filters on things that I am interested (apart from the normal News), like Photography, Painting, Poetry, Public Speaking etc.
Recently, I was pleased to find an article titled ‘Paintings by Syrian children display of hope.’
Despite the war, senseless destruction and being forced to leave their Homeland, it was pleasing to read that the children, when creating Art, created paintings filled with vibrant colours, white doves, the latter symbolising peace.
Through their Art, these children are creating a new life, a life full of hope and love.
We, as adults, owe it to the children of the world to build a better future for them.
I’ve included a link for those who wish to read the full article.

Styles, Schools and Movements

One of my favourite books on my Art shelf is “Styles, Schools and Movements” The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art by Amy Dempsey.

Commencing with Art in 1860 to the present day, it explores 100 styles, schools and img_5984movements in depth and contains a brief description of 200 more.

Each chapter includes a headlining quote from an Artist which offers food for thought, a detailed analysis on the ‘style, school or movement’, example images, references to key collections and books for further reading.

I find it an absolute delight to ‘dip into’ and it provides a great deal of inspiration for my own Art, Poetry, Writing and Photography.

I have the First Edition. A link to the Second Edition can be found below. Enjoy!

David Johnson
October 2016

Declutter & Re-Fuel!

Look at this mess!

I’m feeling drained!

Do either of the above thoughts ever go through your mind?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a student, run a business, work a job or are retired, there comes a point where certain aspects in your life get cluttered or you get close to burning out, or indeed burn out. I’m yet to experience the ‘retired’ lifestyle but I talk to many people who end up being so busy in retirement, they can’t work out how they used to fit their job or business into their lives!

At different times in my life, these questions have raised their head.

My wife & I are in the process of decluttering, which was mostly brought on by the fact that we moved house. It is amazing how much less we have now (in terms of clutter) than we had previously, and we are still in declutter mode. For example, over the past 3 years we would have easily given away a couple of hundred (or more) books.

This process is continuing and is spreading to other areas. For instance, I reviewed my Facebook Friend list the other night. It had grown to over 500 people, and as I looked through the list, I saw people I had not connected with for years, I saw others who are always being negative on Social Media and others whom I wondered why/how we connected in the first place?

The Friend list now stands at 472 and it may drop lower.

We also need to look at our priorities in life. We can only do/be involved in so much.

I’ve reviewed the groups/associations I was a member of in the past 12 months. I’m now a member of only one Toastmasters Club. I just dropped out of an Art Group as (due to other commitments) it would be difficult for me to get there on Tuesday nights.

For the first time in 30 years, I am not a member of any Photographic Society/Camera Club. The Photographic Society I was a member of, I found it increasingly difficult to get to as we had moved further away from it. There is one 8 mins drive away now but I dropped out of that 2 years ago as my photography interests have moved in a different direction anyway.

Another area that needs decluttering is my mind…

I’ve always been a ‘verbal/visual’ person. As you would see from this blog, communication is what I love, with my interests being photography, public speaking, writing, poetry and painting. On top of that we have our marketing business.

As with most people’s mind’s, there is a lot going on up there and it comes out via one of the outlets above.

A few years back I purchased a book called “The Complete Artist’s Way” and actually it contains 3 books in the one volume.

The books are:

– The Artist’s Way
– Walking In This World
– Finding Water

One of the techniques discussed is called ‘Morning Pages.’ ‘Morning Pages’ is ‘stream of consciousness’ writing and it is done when you first get up in the morning. Writing down whatever comes into your head, e.g. negative thoughts, how you are feeling, to-do items etc ‘gets it out of your head’ and frees up your mind and assists creativity. I started doing them some time ago but unfortunately allowed ‘life’ to get in the way and stopped doing them.

I just started doing ‘Morning Pages’ this weekend again, and I can feel the benefits already!

In Part 2 I will look at things I am doing or am looking to do to re-fuel for this continuing fantastic journey of life.

 

Written by David Johnson
13 August 2016

 

For more information on ‘Morning Pages’, please click on the link below.
http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

There’s No Business Like Snow Business!

This post was inspired by a friend’s recent ‘Snow-misadventure…’

Back in the 1980’s, I was part of a 18-35years Church Social Group and one of adventures was to the Snowy Mountains in southern NSW, Australia. It was one of those hurried 3 day weekend trips that saw me (briefly) on Ski’s but mostly on a Toboggan, which (for me) at the time was a lot more fun, that is until a had a slight ‘run-in’ with a creek. That was my first time in the Snow. I was satisfied with that. Visit to the Snow ticked off the list.

The very next year (1984) I was invited back to the Snowy Mountains by a small group of school friends who were planning to go for a whole week. Sounded fun so I agreed.

We stayed at Jindabyne and travelled to the ski fields from there. Jindabyne is basically the closest town to the ski fields but is not actually in them.

The previous year I had an hour ski lesson but I thought it was prudent to have another, and so I did, only this time it was snowing fairly heavily and to this day I wonder if I perhaps missed some ‘key technical points’ that would have helped immensely later on?

Most of my friends had Skied before and one friend in particular, David was a bit more experienced but he decided to hang back with me whilst I was endeavouring to ‘glide’ down the run called the ‘Pretty Valley Triple’ at Perisher Valley.

Needless to say that after a short time, I thanked David for staying with me but said that he would probably have more fun if he went on and left me to my own devices as I didn’t want him to get bored…

Off he glided down the hill…

Thinking back to the Ski lesson, I remember the lessons on how to ’Snowplough’ (or stop) & they taught us about weight control/which way to lean if we wanted change direction. It seemed fairly easy where we did the lesson. It was relatively flat ground.

Thinking back, I would have weighed about 55Kg and was 185cm tall so I didn’t have a lot of weight to throw around.

When you fall skiing it’s not as soft a landing as would think and in my first journey down the Pretty Valley Triple run I fell seventeen times. What would you do?

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David & David Skiing @ Perisher 1984 – I am the David on the left.

I went back up to try again. This time I only fell seven times, an obvious improvement, though the 24 clashes with Mother Earth had left me bruised and battered. Somehow though, I had managed to miss every tree.

My mistake that day wasn’t that I had fallen 24 times attempting to ski, it was the fact that I made the decision to return my gear to the ski hire place and go to the local bar for three beers (muscle relaxant). I haven’t skied since….

On pondering why I stopped, I remembered I hated the icy weather, the ski boots – I found them painful to wear around the ankle section of the leg, much of me was sore & I was skiing on my own. Given that and the ‘person I was as a 21 year old’ I can see why I gave in.

It is easy to look back and say ‘I would have done it differently’ but I can honestly say that if I was the person I am now, I would have gone back up and maybe only fell 3 times and so on… That’s not to say that I would be down the Snowy Mountains skiing every year, but it would be fun to have the option…

My wife, Susan has mentioned ‘going to the Snow’ a few times over the years as he has skied before. At 53, I wonder if the time for skiing has passed?

I would still like to go back to the Snow but this time it probably would be a photographic expedition, but you know what they say…’never say never….’

Written by David Johnson
23 July 2016