Toowoomba man sketches out his life through art
IF you've seen someone gazing intently at the city's buildings and carefully sketching, you might have come across Damien Johnson.
He's dealing with a series of personal blows in his life and found sitting quietly drawing has helped him deal with his issues.
Mr Johnson has seen his life fall apart in the last 6 months after losing his job, a family member and close friend dying, and his marriage falling apart.
In re-evaluating himself, he realised that he was attracted to the creative aspects of life.
That was the catalyst for taking up sketching.
"It's been a real life-line - a therapeutic exercise," he said.
A complete amateur, he bought some pencils after getting a book on urban sketching for his birthday.
"I discovered there is actually a community of artists across the world that go out and sketch their neighbourhoods and real life happenings.
"I really love that because we live in an Instagram culture where people are so busy taking photos that they're not stopping, pausing and enjoying the moment.
"Sketching forces you to do that - you capture the moment in a slow-motion sense."
On April 1 he decided to start sketching buildings in Toowoomba, a serendipitous coincidence given that Twitter had nominated buildings as its art theme - so there are artists across the world sketching buildings for the month of April on Twitter.
That was enough of a motivator for Mr Johnson to decide to sketch a different building in Toowoomba every day this month.
Using his simple tools of pencils, eraser, sharpener and A4 sketch pad, it takes him about two hours to sketch a building.
He starts with rough shapes and manipulates that into details. Later in the day he outlines the drawing with pen to make it bolder and later in the evening colours the drawing.
"There is something about being to appreciate beauty that calls out at the core of what it means to be human and for me personally that pulls me through difficult and troubling times.
"Nothing of beauty has come without there being a struggle in the process of creating."
You can follow Mr Johnson's sketch journey on Twitter at @DamienJJohnson.