A little Art History - Scandi style.

 
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A low, almost monochromatic tonality unifies the otherwise disparate elements within each room.

Richard Dorment, reporting in the Telegraph on the Vilhelm Hammershøi Exhibition in the Tate in 2008.

Hello lovlies,

It is still rather cold out there, but the birds are singing and there are snowdrops and crocus flowering out and about… a great incentive to get outdoors after this long old Winter, here in the UK. I’m regularly asked where I get my inspiration from… that is one huge question, which is actually far too big to answer.

Through my studies and ongoing interest in Art History, I want to share how diverse my inspiration is - from the Silverware of Archibald Knox for its simplicity and use of shape, through the design philosophies of the Bauhaus to the colour inspiration gleaned from Scandinavian painters renowned for their held back colour palette and resulting light.

Two of my favourite painters are Carl Vilhelm Holsøe (1863 to 1935) and Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916). They regularly inspire my choice of colour. I naturally gravitate towards these two painters - their use of colour speaks to me - of the quiet, considered tints that result in the gentle light that is synonymous with Scandinavian painters of that era.

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How the colour palette works

A quick snippet of Colour Theory for those of you who are interested… my pastel colours are called tints - these are made up from a pure colour that has been mixed with white. For me there is a clarity in these mixes as opposed to shades where blacks have been added to the same pure colour. I could go an awful lot deeper into this and start chatting about Colour Psychology and colours collected throughout the seasons, but instead I will send you here

If you visit the link, you will find Joen Wolfrom’s Colour and Design tools - aimed at people who use colour in their work - Artists and Crafters, Graphic Designers, Illustrators and Interior Designers. For the lovely people who book one of my private creative workshops, I always like to give them a copy of Joen’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool and a Studio Color Wheel Poster…

Simply chose a set of two complimentary tints or three triadic tints of equal strengths, then you will not go far wrong.

I hope that I have given you just enough information to encourage you to dip you toe into the world of colour. Do go and look at the Colour and Design tools - they are really worth the investment - and no, this is not an ad!

Sending lots of delicate tints and sublime light to inspire you…

 
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taking care...

When you breathe out… the planet breathes in.

Michael Townsend Williams co-founder of
BreatheSync and Author of Do Breathe

You can download Michael’s app here.

Hello lovely people,

Hope you are all well and full of creativity…

It’s a funny thing isn’t it, but how often are the obvious things right in from of you and you don’t even notice?

There is much talk on Instagram about algorithms and how fragile some people’s futures are as they are completely dependent on it for their income. Some have thousands and hundreds of thousands of followers and drop more followers that I have overnight! I personally find social media too noisy and hard work as you have to watch it all the time. I prefer to travel a path less trodden in that and most things in life. Are you the same? Recently I was brought to a halt when a highly successful (and quiet soul) online designer wrote about her tiny foot print on social media and her success from and care for her blog and newsletters.

This is me! I have always been precious over my both - both with content of posts but also the design side. Ditto my newsletters.

This made me consider the feedback I receive from my blog. I have had a lot of feedback about my look back on the last season as we start a new one. This has made me want to do more posts for you like this… Can I commit to one such post every month? I certainly want to give it a try. So, from the end of the month - maybe it will settle at every other month, I’m certainly going to give it a go… I should have lots to write about, living my seasonal life emerged in nature, as well as my photographic world existing in the same universe.

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A gift

In the meantime, can I leave you with this? A gift from me… if you would like to download this image to enjoy as wallpaper, then simply click on the image. It is 2400px wide. Please respect my © and do not use it elsewhere without my permission… simply contact me. A photograph from possibly my favourite woodland in the world. It is a twenty minute walk from the nearest road and if you stop and listen, there is absolutely no manmade sound at all. A place that I have visited regularly for over a decade. At certain times of the year, the sound of the birds can be deafening. I visit this special place frequently to just be… I will take my dogs and a flask of tea so that I can sit a while and take even more of it in.

If you are interested in reading more about the Japanese way- the practice of walking slowly through the woods, in no hurry, for a morning, an afternoon or a day, then pop here, published last March, you may find it interesting.

The image at the top of this post is from a shoot I did with Fiona Perry Flowers in an entirely different wood.

If you would like to receive more gifts from me - from wallpapers for your monitors to calendar pages and some discount codes in the future, then simply sign up to my New Shoots Magazine in the right hand margin here → I love to share.

Wishing you good health and relaxation,

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I know a place...

let me take you there…

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The London coffeehouses of the 17th & 18th centuries were the engines of creation that helped drive the Enlightenment - the European intellectual movement of the time that emphasised reason and individualism rather than tradition.

I love to play with language and with that comes my love of writing. Lately, in designing my new online world, I have been pushing words around in my head so that I can visualise the whole thing. How lovely to stand back and look at your own world once in a while.

In doing this I have realised that I have my virtual workplace firmly embedded in my head, so I thought I would introduce it to you and walk you round… I have obviously been influenced by In Praise of Shadows without realising it until now. Read the book club post here.

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Do come in

It’s like a little house - just as a child would draw. The whole place is very light and airy, painted in white to draw the light in for my photography. Let me start with the upstairs - first up is my studio - this has a dark end and a light end. Next to that is my darkroom, a place where I do all my online editing from digital files. It is in these two rooms that house my new eCourses - on photography, styling and editing and more…

Downstairs, there just HAS to be a library… lined with eBooks and zines and visuals. There is a comfy chair and a table to encourage you to stay a while. There is a section for my Inspiration Library - this is available only to the band of lovely people who subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine along with the Supplements that come along. When you sign up to my New Shoots Magazine you get a key to this space. The area is new and has empty shelves all ready for a collection of eBooks that I will publish and release especially for my subscribers. This is where the free inspirational desktop wallpapers live and you will find a monthly calendar to download too - all of these are for your desktop so that you computer will become a place of serenity and zen.

Next door to the library is the zen den and tea/coffee house. Two areas for calm and contemplation.

And there, my little tour has come to an end.

Sign up

Have you signed up to my Newshoots Magazine yet? If not, simply pop over to the margin on the right and pop in your email address.

Sending peace and light this January day,

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Well hello 2019

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A blank book is actually full of promise: the promise of becoming lively with your recorded experiences and emotions.
Gwen Diehn

Well hello 2019 - is it too late to wish you all a very happy, healthy and positive New Year? Never!

New Home

New Studio

New Year

There has never been so much neatly aligned for me. I hope that I can embrace the opportunities given to me through all this during 2019. I thought this time is a good opportunity to guide your through how my photographic world is already shaping up for this next year both in my real and online world …

Face to face

Already in 2019, I have a couple of guest workshops booked in and I’m looking forwards to some Question Time Sessions that are booked. I am now offering Product Photography via Courier covering the whole of the UK - from down the road to the furthest point! I am now accepting bookings for a few commissioned projects for the year. If this is you then please contact me in the usual way.

Listen…

Over time, I have discovered the art of listening to all the lovely feedback that my work gives - from clients and through the internet. Not only the thank you and direct compliments about a set of images, but, most of all I have learned to stop. Listen…. to the deeper comments that I would have otherwise not considered. To listen to how my work makes people feel.

Now I am here, at this stage, it is all very obvious.

In my new year, my new home and my new studio, full of all the inspiring comments, I am going to follow a path that needs looking at. One that will take me online and that will fuel my loves - of sharing, of design, of learning new skills and exploring photography through research through my love of reading around the subject - from my beloved Colour Psychology, through what I now know as Positive Psychology and through dipping my toes in to the world of Philosophy. All this will give me greater control of my time! A valuable commodity these days - I shall value this hugely - being able to go and meet friends, connect with my family more and being able to be spontaneous.

Deep breath

Please world, what is another name for newsletter? I really don’t like that…

Anyhooooo, through all the lovely feedback from my complimentary 7 day mini course and my New Shoots Magazine, I have been really grateful and inspired to take all this further… I plan to add (in the true spirit of a Magazine) the occasional supplement to my Magazine that will be called Letters from the Studio. I just want to be able to reach all my subscribers between issues if needed. I won’t be bombarding your inbox, trust me :)

Here is what else I have in store for you during 2019…

First of all, I have designed a virtual library for you all to dip in to. I have called the collection of eBooks PhotoBites. Designed to be an easy read and full of wisdom - knowledge built from experience - they will be available as one offs or as series. The first is a series called Zero to Manual and will be available in three separate volumes or as a set. I am currently working on the first volume which I hope to have ready for publishing before our Spring here in the UK. The other two will follow on soon afterwards.

These are designed for the absolute beginner or intermediate photographer who is disappointed with regularly producing less than ordinary photographs. They are the foundations on which I intend to build through my eCourses later on in the year. If you are not yet signed up, then pop over to the right hand margin, sign up and keep up to date by receiving my New Shoots Magazine and the occasional Supplement.

Sending you light and health for the year…

 
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On following my own 'golden thread'

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Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.

Imogen Cunningham

I have always seen the path of my photography as a sort of golden thread that I follow… sometimes it’s path is straight and at other times, it may twist and turn. To follow this path allows me freedom, and not have to contort myself into a particular genre of say, portrait or still life, but simply follow my heart and work with what resonates with me at any one time. I am certain that doing this results in my very best work.

Listen.

Over the years I have had many comments about my photography - the most common being that people find my photographs calm, poetic, painterly, having a sense of calm.

I strive, not for perfection but for perpetual improvement and development.


My recent move has been full of thoughtful, intentional and considered decisions… My aim of my business is not to get rich quick, but to actually focus on the gift of my craft and grow my business in a way that is aligned with my values and my conscience - following that golden thread that feels completely honest and meaningful to both me and my customers/clients/students. I want to do this whilst continually striving for my own perpetual improvement and development. I don’t want to be at the forefront of social media, living my every breath out there. I want to be able to engage with the real world and share my love of process, the seasons and nature - to share all that it has to offer through my photography… I love the idea that we now live in a world where we no longer have to work 9 - 5 and are able to both connect and work with people on different sides of the world at a moment’s notice. I love the idea of the flexibility that all this brings - enabling us to spend our most important times how we want to whilst being able to schedule work releases ahead.

I have listened to your comments, I have listened to my creative heart and I have stood back and looked at my business and learned just how passionate I am about sharing the world of my photography. I want others to experience the deep happiness and contentment that I do, I want to build my business around that passion, whilst at the same time sustaining me with a good living. Only over Christmas I listened to a comment from someone about not being in control of his camera and therefore unable to think of the photograph that was before him. I want to fix that.

All that said, the time is now right for me to forge ahead with my eCourses and eBooks that have been on the back burner for quite some time now.

During 2019, I am going to closely follow my golden thread and fill the world with inspiring, accomplished photography - both film and digital - and share it with you all along the way. To spread the word. Why not subscribe to my New Shoots Magazine style newsletter to follow that golden thread with me?

Wishing you all the very best for 2019

love

 
 


In Praise Of Shadows

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In Praise Of Shadows Junichiro Tanizaki

This is a book that I have read numerous times. Short, quick but so very delightful. First published in 1933, I believe.

This truly evocative essay on Japanese Aesthetics - by one of the greatest Japanese novelists Junichiro Tanizaki - combines really focussed sense of space together with perfect descriptions that take you right there… a classic description of the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors meeting the light of the modern day.

There is a filtering of ordinary pleasures through tranquil half-light, that make it so gripping in my eyes - hints of everyday moments that reveal how light and shade are so very dependent on each other. Truly inspirational for me. This is why I have read it time and time again.

More like a poem than an essay

A delight to read
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Try it, buy it, borrow it,

enjoy…

 

My new look Magazine style newsletter

 

Have you signed up yet for my new look Magazine style newsletter?

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I’m all for unplugging to find some silence, room for inspiration and creativity to grow, but I took this to a whole new level recently and quite unintentionally! I was without internet for just over five weeks… I have now tidied up the chaos that followed in the wake of this.

During my downtime I very quickly decided that I would make this a beneficial time for me. I took to the old pencil and notebook. I wrote, wrote and wrote some more - germs of ideas, thoughts, inspirations and more.

One thing that rose from this was my new newsletter - it has now become more of a magazine style where you can look at the index and read the relevant articles. The ones that interest you most.


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My magazine style newsletter was born.

In keeping with my own visual style it is blocked out - divided into sections. Headline articles, sub headline articles and then a couple of feature articles. All with you, my lovely band of subscriber readers. I can now reach you all without bogging you down with lots of scrolling to find the pieces relevant to you.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber, then please do pop over to the bottom of this page and fill in the block.

In the future, there will be articles for everyone - from pieces on brand imaging for my creative entrepreneurs through to hints and tips and links for my students and guests who are on or planning to join one of my workshops or courses.

What I am hoping for is that each an every will offer something new and different and interesting.

Do please sign up and enjoy.

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Looking back as Autumn becomes Winter

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Oh what a glorious Autumn we had here in the UK - after the long hot Summer, we had an equally amazing Autumn, but this time it was the colours that took centre stage. As you will know I started Autumn off in my beautiful Cotswolds and ended it in Cheshire - getting to know it. Country lanes and the flat plains where you can see for ever and oh, those big skies!

What has struck me most about my shift in geography is the difference in tones! The greens are so different - lush, saturated, bright - compared with the gentle greens of the Wolds. The reason? Simply, it’s the rain.

I have been creating and settling in to my new studio… I still have the peach coloured vertical blinds to swap for white voile curtains so that the whole place becomes one giant soft box… slowly, steadily that is happening. I have sent my camera kit off for a much needed service too in the studio down time.

New friends and contacts are in the making, just as finding new locations and venues for workshops and 1:1 Mentoring sessions… as you will know, location matters hugely - as does the food. I want my guests and students to make my offerings a destination as well as offer quality content.


AUTUMN, SEASONAL, PHOTOGRAPHY

I have been quietly shooting in little corners - finding little pools of quality Autumn light and making my seasonal colour wheel - part of an ongoing personal project for my research into Colour Psychology… No russet tones here this year - instead a wheel fuelled with brights and gorgeous bedfellows - bright oranges and fuchsia pinks go so well… Mother Nature - ow I love you - the ultimate colourist.

 
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If you hear a voice within you say - you cannot paint - then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

Mentoring & Questiontime

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Mentoring.

Phew…

Now that I’m getting organised in my lovely new natural light studio, I thought I would chat about my Mentoring offerings

Only yesterday someone asked me about my genre of photography… my quick answer to that is that I don’t particularly restrict myself in this way, it’s more of a way of shooting, a signature style. I feel that this is because of my spending all my life with a camera in my hand - shooting film, digital, polaroid… the whole darn lot! Because of this I love to Mentor people and help them on their journey, wherever that is taking them.

I work with a broad range of people and situations - from those who simply want to become better in their hobby right through to people wanting to dip their toes into the professional world of photography - bloggers, editorial, fine art… or individual creative entrepreneurs who need to be spontaneous and take top quality images of their products, staff or other for their website, social media, blogs or for marketing purposes.

I see Mentoring as a creative trainer for creative entrepreneurs and those peeps who are simply keen to learn… just as you would have a personal trainer to get fit, then why not think about a Creative Mentor to hone your creative skills?

I would love to work with you…

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Questiontime.

I get quite a few people asking me questions about all sorts of diverse things within my Creative and Photography worlds… giving these questions the full attention that they deserve, they may now easily fit into a Mentoring framework. To fill this conundrum, I have now launched Questiontime. It is a one off virtual package consisting of one hour, dedicated just to you, where you get my undefined attention. It is your time and I want you to get the most from your session. Through being involved with photography all my life, I have a huge bank of knowledge that you can tap in to.

I’ve popped it up on my website under both the Learn and Work with me categories as I would love to reach out to both people who want to quiz me about their learning and also to those creative entrepreneurs that are thriving out there.

In other news…

I am working on a new format newsletter - I’m calling it New Shoots Magazine. I’m planning to send out every month or so - designed to inspire - it’s more of a read than a newsletter… full of thoughts to inspire, chatter about all sorts of things - processes, backstage thoughts for my workshops, books to read and more…

Sign up here if you want to join the list.

 




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The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. Dorothea Lange

Pastures old and new

We did it!

Quietly, beginning to unpack boxes and sorting my new studio and home in Cheshire. After well over a decade working and living in my beloved Cotswolds, the longing to be closer to my family took me back to the beautiful county where it all began.

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to the beautiful county where it all began.

 

I'm starting from a new baseline with a lot of my work, it's both scary and exiting at the same time, but I'm looking forwards to the new adventures ahead.  Firstly, exploring this local area and gradually radiating outwards. I feel privileged to be able to build a new garden and my new studio in a lovely old building and many friendships along the way.  Noting new light and shadows, seasonal colours and textures and oh those beautiful old buildings and spaces... Not to mention the distinctive bricks and windows of the older buildings that I remember from my childhood.. 

The photography community in Cheshire has been most welcoming and already I have things penned in my diary - and I've only just arrived.  From workshops and photography for creative businesses, through to new, long term projects with the RSA AND some online courses.  More of all this in due course...  Thank you for the welcome people, you know who you are.

I have been thinking a lot too about my like minded friends who are scattered across the globe… from the Cotswolds to Paris, tiny Scottish Islands and beyond. How lucky are we that we live in an age of Skype and Zoom and the rest so we can stay in touch at the touch of a button?

In the meantime, I'm carrying on with my work in lifestyle and fine art photography - there’s simply a shift in geography of my studio. I also have lots of plans for new offerings in the pipeline.

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Autumn Equinox and a bowl of soup.

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I’ve suddenly realised that today is the Autumn Equinox, so Autumn is well and truly with us (even though I adhere to the Meteorological calendar for my own work) there is a definite nip in the air today. Early morning mists and lovely sunsets are now happening.

I could say its all cleverly planned out, but it isn’t… over on instagram this week, I am chatting about balance and how we, as human beings need it.

And as Autumn really begins to do her thing and gracing us with the amazing colours, we naturally balance the cooler weather with heart warming foods.

I am showcasing images of some heartwarming Butternut squash. They’re from an old family recipe and a firm favourite in these parts. I’m suddenly inspired to share it with you as we have a distinct chill in the air and lots of leaves on the ground from the storms of the last couple of weeks.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup - serves 4.

2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil

small white onion, diced

a medium carrot, chopped

a medium sized butternut squash

a litre of home made chicken stock*

pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

half tsp ground cumin powder

half tsp mild curry powder

pumpkin seeds (the green ones to contrast) to garnish

Serve with crusty warm bread straight from the oven and lashings of butter.

First of all, thoroughly wash the butternut squash and take some of the peel to use later on. Use half the garlic infused oil and gently sweat the onions. Whilst they are doing, cut the butternut squash in slices across. Remove the seeds and skin and chop the flesh into chunks. Peel and chop the carrot. Pop all these into a pot along with the spices and some of the stock. Cook through slowly until the vegetables are soft. Blitz with a hand blender in the pot, adding the rest of the stock as needed.

When you are ready to serve your soup, put back on heat to bring to temperature and at the same time quickly pan fry or roast some of the butternut squash peel you saved for a garnish.

To serve in the same pot, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, drizzle the last of the garlic infused olive oil and top with the crisp roasted squash peel. Pop it on the table together with the salt,pepper and bread and butter and and let everybody serve themselves.

A perfect lunchtime snack for week ends if you are out in the garden or going on a long walk.

*my homemade stock is already seasoned so the soup may only need a little adjustment at the table.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Natural light photographer working across food, lifestyle and portraiture.

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Looking back as late Summer becomes early Autumn

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Wow! Please tell me where did the Summer go? It seems only yesterday that I was writing about Spring turning into Summer!  And what a Summer it was... Like no other weather wise with records for temperatures and no rain etc being broken time after time.  Personal branding projects, portraits and commissions all make for a busy life.  One overriding thing that I shall remember from this summer, apart from the temperatures is that of the stunning desaturated colours of the landscape and buildings, given from the lack of rain and the high temperatures... amazing. 

Then cometh August, my month to go absolutely know where and a time to seize the opportunity to refresh, recharge, recalibrate. Be slow. Simply breathe.  I take this time to send my digital kit to be recalibrated and cleaned too. Whilst it's away, I focus on my Fine Art work on film. Working with my old medium format cameras is my way to explore creative possibilities that have been sketched out during the year. 

This is the month that allows me to focus, to plot and plan for the coming year or season too... making and building on my texture library, Portrait Days, new workshops - both on and off line, planning Mentoring sessions, location scouting, sorting new photographs for my shop, website updates and more...

For the future, I am releasing dates for my Autumn Portrait Days and workshops very soon.  If you are interested in 1:1 mentoring or setting up a bespoke workshop or portrait please contact me.

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons, with those incredible colours when leaves turn golden browns, oranges and reds. The smell of the bonfires and smoke in an evening from open fires and wood burning stoves that the cooler and darker evenings bring and that gorgeous, mellow light. The time to gather berries and more from our abundant hedgerows.

My Portrait Days are always open to businesses too offered during Autumn proper. Maybe your business hat and business branding shows traits of Autumn - may be organic, focussed, passionate and compassionate. You may be at home in the outdoors in your downtime or your business may be outdoors, in part or wholly and so tend to be very environmentally aware and have a strong connection with nature.

Whether you are wanting some portraits of your little ones in the Autumn light or you need business portraits of you and some of your team, then do get in touch, I would love to chat with you…

If you are a new business just starting out or an established business needing a brand update, or needing some of my content creation images, then I would love to work with you.  Simply get in touch to chat further.

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#dailyobservationsonmylumix

#dailyobservationsonmylumix