[RE]treat 2019 - some postcards

Dear reader and subscriber friends,

If you follow me on social media, you will know that I spend August even further down a path less trodden… a time for me to shut down from the world and apart from pre booked commissioned work, I use the time wisely - for exploring my creative soul.  To recharge my creative batteries. This year has been no different.  Way off the social grid.


Over the years my [RE]treats really have taught me how focus on living - to uncover the assets that are lost by living in the fast lane. Time.  To look within.  To retune.  I allow myself to have space and time to be intoxicated by Mother Nature herself.  Letting things unravel naturally… doing things that align with my world…

I end them feeling all the better for the time and so much more in tune with myself, ready for the upcoming year of creative work that has become my world.

Last year I spent time with my film cameras.  This year you will have found my in the darkroom and mono printing, oil painting, water colour with pen and ink and honing my illustration style.  Making natural dyes and inks and using them to make backdrops for my studio.  Taking workshops.  Taking time….

I have also been wandering.  Wandering and lost down country lanes and in my own thoughts - rêveries of the very best kind.

Here’s a little video that I’ve put together for you - a challenge to myself whilst on my [RE]treat.  Very basic, but I hope you like it…

I hope you had the best Summer, even though it was generally grim weather wise, here in the UK.  I cannot believe that we are already coming to the end of early Autumn here.  I have lots of new work and projects on the go,  so I shall be keeping my head down and filling my eyes with beautiful colours from nature - all foraged, grown and gifted too, from kind neighbours and friends.  I really do feel that loosing yourself in nature is the very best way to beat the Winter blues.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read and watch,

Sending happiness


local colour


Photography is the story I fail to put into words.

Destin Sparks


I am delighted that this post received so much interest, with emails and messages from readers wanting to know a little more about Colour Stories…

As a self confessed book worm and with a passion for colour and colour psychology, I thought I would share some books with you that together, introduce the notion of Local Colour and through that Colour Stories.

A colour story is a palette of colours used together to make a cohesive statement throughout a body of images.

First up - Sara Midda’s South of France

Sara Midda is an artist with a unique and unusual style that you can spot immediately. Her work can be bought here.  

South of France is quite simply a sketchbook from a year that Sara spent there, an artist's personal journal carried everywhere and crammed with drawings delicate watercolour notes and photographic collages.  No amount of words can convey this book’s charm.  Local French colour stories told visually, often in a whimsical way. I really do love this book.  If you like the look of this book, then do look at her first book, In and Out of the Garden and also A bowl of Olives.

I’m not going to write any more about this lovely book, in case I go off at a tangent and wax lyrical about her illustrations style…

Next on the pile is Mimi Robinson’s Local Color - seeing place through watercolour.

Another favourite of mine and one that never seems to go back on the bookshelf, Mimi Robinson is an international design consultant and principal of Mimi Robinson Design, known for her approach to creative thinking, Mimi develops innovative designs with a commitment to cultural, social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Her philosophies completely align with mine - The world is made up of colour, yet how often do we truly observe and interpret our surroundings?  and her book will introduce readers to a colour palette technique used by Mimi Robinson, where, through close observation, one can if even for a moment, capture the essence and beauty of place, by documenting your experiences through colour. (I actually refer to this book in my The Art of Flow Photography course).

The book is about a way of seeing, about sharpening your powers of observation through colour and individual sense of place.  Taking the time to look a little closer at what you see every day will connect you to your surroundings, creating personal memories of time and travel.  Mimi is on instagram here.


And now for another book out of France. This time from designer-colourist, Jean Philippe et Dominique Lenclos - Colors of the world - A geography of Color.

Based on their Geography of Colour Analysis Method, this book explores the palettes of habitats and reveals how geology, climate, light, socio-cultural behaviour as well as the traditions of local residents and building methods uniquely shape a landscapes architectural personality and chromatic character, resulting in a visually captivating survey of the significant chromatic personalities within local geographies, histories and traditions in countries around the world. 

My copy, published in 2004, has never been far from my side and has certainly stood the test of time… a recommendation in itself.

Finally, closer to home - infact on my doorstep… Architecture by Hand - Inspired by Nature by Spencer Fung.

This beautiful book for me carries the ultimate colour story - about Spencer’s love of nature and the influences this has on his work. It focuses on his method of work, from keen observation and sketching, to the provenance and use of natural materials throughout his projects. The book’s chapters are on wood, stone, weave, metal and final details – the finishing touches. It visits many of the artisans commissioned by Spencer and celebrates their craftsmanship. It gives us a peep into Spencer’s design world - hotels, spas, restaurants,  barn conversions, work studios and his own home.  Beyond this, the Colour Story of his work speaks of nature, of understated beauty, pared back design, simplicity. (Available from hedgehogshop.co.uk)


simply… enjoy


I think through drawing… drawing helps me to observe and remember, it fuels ideas and allows me to communicate and explain my thoughts.

Spencer Fung


Photography for Indie and Creative Businesses


Every brand is a creative brand. Why? Branding is storytelling, and storytelling is a creative work.

Steve Jobs.

Following on from my last post, I thought it timely to chat about one of the workshops that I offer - Photography for Indie and Creative Businesses - a guilty pleasure of mine as I get to share my knowledge of branding and my pet passion, Signature Style for your business photography. We also cover the importance of understanding the branding of your business. Don’t worry if you are not this far on with your business…

The day workshop runs from 10 until 4 and will cost (location workshops) £150 and private house workshops (in a host’s home) £115  to include light refreshments, lunch (this often turns out to be a working lunch where people quiz me about their branding and own Signature Style). You get to take home a few resources on your own memory stick to help you on your way… You must bring along your own camera that is capable of shooting manual - either a mirrorless camera or a DSLR. Please bring your instruction manual if you have any doubts about your camera.


The day will be loosely broken up as follows

Welcome coffee and a chance to informally introduce ourselves and our businesses. Then we begin with…

An introduction to branding - understanding brand awareness and consistency and it’s importance for you

We shall look at finding your own Signature Style (see my last post)

We then have a short break

Learn how to find and use natural light or available light

Understand the importance of telling a story with your image

Early-Ish light lunch - I do ensure that my workshop lunches are good, using locally sourced, seasonal food

After lunch we quietly learn to shoot manual on your camera and unpack the confusing language into plain English! Then we put it in to practice with time to take some photographs, with all the support you need to feel confident to shoot manual when you leave and also with the knowledge of knowing about branding and your own Signature Style.

Once these workshop are done, I do find that my lovely students often keep in touch with each other, having found like minded creative thinkers and independent business folk.

If you think this workshop is for you or feel that you would like to host such an event, then please do feel free to contact me. You may like to sign up for my complimentary 7 day mini course to do before the workshop.

I look forwards to seeing you…


Signature style - some words


A style born out of a sense of place, a deep love of country and a particular colour palette.

I am often asked about signature style - what is a signature style? what are the elements of my signature style?…

Simply put, it is a style that is so personal, that it is you… remember the Nike ad - just be yourself?  If you truly let your heart speak through your camera and not try to make your signature style, then it will form naturally, organically.

I am interested in narrative - getting in to the very soul of my clients, so that I can distill the very essence of their story readily.

Let me chat about my own signature style - what makes my work recognisable as being mine - place, love of nature and country, colour, localness and seasonality.

You will see that my work is minimal, sparse with a muted palette.  Intentional, thoughtful and considered.  It often exudes a calm, a sense of peace.  Photographs can be bright and airy or more subdued and moody.  Over time I have come to realise that my signature comes from a deep rooted sense of place and a love of nature and country.  Couple that with my love and interest in Scandinavian Art and it’s quiet colour palette and there you have it.


PLACE If you live in a place long enough, then its identity becomes embedded in your DNA, in your very soul.  For me the Cotswold Hills and its villages have directly influenced my work over time.  The light, the local colour, the food (seasonal, growing and preparation), the slower pace of life, the artisanal ways of doing things - a lot haven’t changed at all.  Then there are the Estate colours that houses and cottages are painted in and the subtle geographical changes in the local stone from which they are built.

NATURE/COUNTRY My love of nature and country - I seem to have a reputation for my floral photography.  However what I do like to shoot/record is not a particular genre but rather nature/life from the ground, the soil, upwards and onwards.  From the soil to our plates, our adorned homes, our well being, our life styles and jobs.  Seasonally.  Bringing nature home.  All encompassing.

COLOUR  For me where you live defines you.  It is this that I find so very exciting.  Local Colour has long been of interest to me through my research into Colour Psychology.  I do love to form a narrative through colour stories within a shoot.  A colour story is a palette of colours used together to make a cohesive statement throughout a body of images.  When curating a collection, it is important to know the ways our  colours interact - back to Colour theory here for my lovely fledgeling photographers…

If you are shooting a story outdoors, say food for a client or to make a story from a special family gathering, then it may be something as simple as terracotta shades that will become a that will become a thread that will run through the story - from clay pots, paint work, furniture or table decorations.  Not an obvious thing, but simple and subtle.  It is such a device that will help you get to the very soul of your collection.