book club

local colour

 
 
 

Photography is the story I fail to put into words.

Destin Sparks

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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.

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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

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A tip, a quote and a book for March

 
I believe photography is a tool to express our positive assessment of the world. A tool to acquire ultimate happiness and belief.
Ansel Adams
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Hello creative people,

Here in the UK it is grey, cold and wet after an unusually glorious spell of the complete opposite. Hello Spring :)

I am thinking that a tip, a quote and a book is a good collection for a series of blog posts to kick start the new growing year here. Hope you enjoy them….

The image above is of a Crocus Giant Ruby and I have applied one of my own photoshop actions to give it that pared back, muted colour palette that resonates with me so readily. The image speaks of quiet beginnings in early Spring rather than a literal, documentary style that is not me. Hope you like.

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On slowing down.

Something I always share with my creative students and fledgeling photographers is simply to slow down! This actually helps you see better, by placing you in a better creative zone. Every little extra moment of slowing before you press the shutter will help.

Slowing down is like a tiny meditation of gratitude.

Slowing down, not only opens your eyes, but will also open your mind and your heart to discover the magic in the everyday.

I really do believe that by finding little pockets of you in the everyday, slowing down, is a path to creativity.

A simple pleasure in any event.

And finally a book - I feel that I want to recommend something that aligns nicely which my thoughts on slowing down. Something that will add to your photography through increased awareness of creativity. Enter The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard.

‘A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics take on enhanced and enchanted significances.’

…from the new forward in my copy, that has been read several times and is now full of underlines, annotations and asterisks! Thats a recommendation in itself. Do go and find yourself a copy to read, well worth the effort. Enjoy. Read slowly :)

sending lightness through this grey week.

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ps Thank you for all the lovely kind words on the Spring edition of my New Shoots magazine - much appreciated…



Looking back looking forwards

 
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The sun brings forth unlimited possibilities and the moon, reflection and deep gratitude for all that we have in life.
Satsuma Shibuya

as Winter becomes Spring…

Within my photography practice, overtime I have built in to my days a period of early morning brainstorming and list making. The evening will often see me reflecting on my day’s progress in readiness for the morning’s noting of possibilities…

I’ve noticed that this has become part of my week’s, my month’s and quarter’s practice to keep me aligned with my business plan. My creative side allows time for this too. Except instead of being a quarter, it is looking forwards to the next season and also reflecting what has happened in that season.

Cherish the season.

Here in the UK, this Winter will be remembered for extremes - for me snow and an iced over lane in front of my cottage kept me home for a week then only a couple of weeks later wandering in the sunshine and seeing people in shorts!

I adore evenings filled with log fires and candlelight and the foggy starts to winter days as I plot and plan the time ahead. But equally I enjoy the planning of my season’s cutting bed, list making of treasures to grow, dahlia tubers to order notes of narcissus varieties for Autumn orders and designing the colours capes that they will bring.

From minimal snowscapes to minimal waterscapes featuring a gorgeous cygnet enjoying the sunshine and record temperatures.

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My Winter has been a visual feast - from holly to snowdrops, then the fragrant delights of narcissi on the kitchen table and bowls of white hyacinth on my studio table ready for when people drop in for meetings. My own take on Shinrin-yoku - forest bathing involves taking my camera out into the countryside, purely pleasure - to experience total immersion in the moment.

My mind is already turning to food as I’m growing some peas on the kitchen windowsill for salad shoots.

My Colour Wheel for Winter 2019

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Adding to the visual feast, my research into Colour Psychology is, as always, continuing. I know there are a lot of readers out there that are really interested in this aspect of my work, so I thought I would share… I have been particularly aware of the neutral colours this Winter… taupes and soft warm greys. Fleeting promises of things to come but mainly muted subdued tones.

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Reading for the Season

Some recommendations for your Spring reading pile -

I am evangelical about pointing students - creatives and fledgeling photographers, to read about the works and ideas and theories of not only classic photographers, but those of other noteworthy creatives and artists. Inspiration for a new photography project can come from one nugget of an idea mentioned in a book by an artist.

David Hockney’s A Bigger Message

A record of a decade of private conversations with art critic Martin Gayford, through reflection, anecdote, passion and humour the fruits of his lifelong meditations on the problems and paradoxes of representing a three-dimensional world on a flat surface. Some of the diverse people he has encountered along the way – from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Billy Wilder – make entertaining entries into an entertaining read.

The evergreen, Ways of Seeing by John Burger

Ways of Seeing, a television series of 30-minute films by writer John Berger in the 70’s and adapted into a book of the same name and discusses the way art has become available for all people and how that has affected its meaning. A must for all Art, Design and photography Students.

Edmund Burkes Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful

An analysis of the relationship between emotion, beauty, and art form is now recognized as not only an important and influential work of aesthetic theory, but also one of the first major works in European literature on the Sublime, a subject that has fascinated thinkers from Kant and Coleridge to the philosophers and critics of today. Not an entry level read but a worthy one to provoke thought…

I do hope that this post has been of interest and fuelled you for an inspirational new season to get out doors with your camera and go off to mindfully find that magic in the moments. After all, it really is about the little pocket of joy that your camera can bring you.

Sending joy and magic your way,

love from

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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…