At last, some progress...

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

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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

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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
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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 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.

 
AUTUMN, SEASONAL, PHOTOGRAPHY
 
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

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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