nature + garden

local colour

 
 
 

Photography is the story I fail to put into words.

Destin Sparks

19.0997.colours.sq.jpg

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.

heart.embellishment.jpg

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

blog.signature.jpg
 

Signature style - some words

 
P1130760.jpg
 
 
 

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.

heart.embellishment.jpg

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.

 
blog.signature.jpg
 
TRIPLE.x3.jpg




At last, some progress...

 
The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.
Yousuf Karsh
19.1452.tx.jpg

Hello lovely people,

Hope you are all bright eyed etc :) Spring at last here in the Northern Hemisphere…

After quite a few teething problems, false starts and delays - no internet, slow internet, dying laptop - I am, at last, making headway with my first of three eBooks. The content has been solid for quite some time now but actually getting that content onto my computer ready for the design and page layout has been a non starter. I even resorted to writing out copy in a notebook with a real pen and paper!

Fortunately, I do love the theatre of writing - the lovely paper, notebooks, the right fine liner, then there is the table where you write and the flowers - of course - and the drink to sustain… tea or coffee? The cup, the pot and so on. Yes I insist on setting the stage so that it becomes a pleasure that it elevated from the ordinary to the extra ordinary. It’s all in the detail. The little things. The image above was from a time early in the morning when I set up a writing place in my studio - the light is beautiful in there first thing. So inspiring. So very peaceful. Lovely.

The framework of the second and third volumes in the series are all set out, so they will too be a pleasure to bring together, as and when I get there.

It is now, and only now that I feel I can think about other things.

heart.embellishment.jpg

By nature, I aim a very caring and generous person. So, naturally I’ve been wondering what I can give to you, my lovely community of followers and supporters. It needs to feel good in my bones, whatever I do. From the heart.

Whilst I was out wandering with my dogs earlier in the week, I had a spark of inspiration! From that, I am planning to make an eBook to put in my Inspiration Library for all my subscribers to my New Shoots Magazine to enjoy, to download for free. What’s in it for me, I hear you ask. I’m seeing it as a personal project that will fill my need for design and photographic exploration, whilst at the same time celebrating my love for all things seasonal and country. I am conscious that we can all bring a little seasonal country into our lives - wherever we live - town or country.

I would love to think that I can pop this in my Inspiration Library towards the end of Spring, to celebrate that season. I have a good working title, notes of ideas of what I would love to include and share. I am going to proceed with fingers crossed that there will be no more hurdles to slow down this project and I have a vision in my mind’s eye that I will be doing the work towards publication on this from my lovely new all white, light filled workspace that is being painted now!

If you are not already signed up to my New Shoots Magazine, but want to take advantage of my Inspiration Library, then please do subscribe in the panel in the right hand margin here or from the one at the bottom of my home page.

Wishing you a light filled week end

love

blog.signature.jpg
 

ps There are some new calendar pages for April going live this week end in my Inspiration Library. Jx

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
19.0815.sq.jpg

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.

heart.embellishment.jpg

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.

blog.signature.jpg
 
 

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



Looking back looking forwards

 
19.0970.jpg
 
 
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.

four.template.jpg

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

COLOURWHEEL.Winter.2019.jpg
 

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.

heart.embellishment.jpg

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

blog.signature.jpg
 








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.

heart.embellishment.jpg

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,

blog.signature.jpg
 
 

Looking back as Autumn becomes Winter

 
template.triple.jpg
 
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

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.

 
AUTUMN, SEASONAL, PHOTOGRAPHY

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.

sweet.pea_9496.bw copy.jpg

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,

blog.signature.jpg
 
CottageGarden.banner.jpg