nature + garden

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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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

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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The story behind the Cottage Garden Series.

As a teenager, I stumbled upon the history of the English cottage garden.  I was hooked by both the very sight of then and also their rich history and all that this brought, including Helen Allingham's chocolate-box views of tumbledown cottages with flower-filled front gardens.  Behind the romance that she portrayed in her art, there was poverty and hard work.

The earliest cottage gardens were practical out of necessity, provided nourishment for poor cottage dwellers.  With focus on vegetables and herbs and fruit trees, a beehive and possibly livestock could often be found.  Flowers were used to fill space and, gradually became more dominant. They also had a practical use - edible flowers used as a food and fragrant ones used to make pot pouring or were strewn on the floors to combat odours. The traditional cottage garden was usually enclosed, perhaps with a rose-bowered gateway.

Cottager’s plots were small and crammed with plants for maximum productivity.    Increased prosperity during the Elizabethan era meant that cottagers could afford to grow more flowers. Some still had functional uses -  violets which were strewn on cottage floors as their scent deterred vermin. Other flowers, hollyhocks for example were grown for their beauty and nothing more .

There is nothing pretentious about these cottage gardens.

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Cottage Garden Series

Limited Edition Prints

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph a traditional English cottage garden where fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers to decorate the house were grown cheek by jowl. I wanted to record the contents of this garden in line with my passion for the Florilegium. I felt it acknowledged the historical side beautifully. 

Each editioned image is carefully printed onto a Baryta/Fibre based silver gelatin photographic paper based upon traditional B&W silver halide technology which has beautiful panchromatic sensitivity.  Again this printing process and use of the particular nods gently at then historical base of this series.  The Series can be found here.

Back soon,

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