A Touch of the Whimsical

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In the words of Pablo Picasso … “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Too true!

I mentioned in my last post about being inspired by one artist in particular whilst researching some online whimsical-style art classes. Her name is Tamara Laporte of Willowing Arts, Tam for short.  I’ll let her tell you about herself:  https://www.willowing.org/about/

As you can see, quite special. Not to mention, extremely talented.

I found Tam’s art style very appealing and, whilst I am aiming to evolve my own whimsical style, her classes are just what I was looking for to help find my way.

Having very much enjoyed the classes from Willowing Arts which came as part of the Art Bundle (as mentioned in my previous post), I pondered whether to enrol on Tam’s Life Book 2018, a series of classes that span a whole year. It looked so exciting, but my main concern was whether I would have enough time to devote to it. I needn’t have worried, as you can do the classes at your own pace, and they are sent to you on a weekly basis so it isn’t overwhelming so it fits in very well with my photoshoots and edits.

I’m so pleased I decided to go for it! Each Monday I get some new challenges in my inbox. Not only do you get the classes by Tam but also tuition from over 30 other artists and crafters as well as wellness and self development experts. So much more than just an art course! At the end of the year, or once you have completed all the lessons, you get shown how to make a journal of your year’s work. Hence the name.

My pictures so far from some of Tam’s classes:


For these lessons I followed her work as closely as possible, as it’s very early days for me in this style. It was therefore really fascinating to see other folks’ work in the private Facebook Group – jaw dropping in fact – there are some amazing artists who put their own interpretations on the pictures they produce from the classes with some fantastic results!

Seeing the incredible work of other participants might well prove a little daunting for newbies like me … but it isn’t! The encouragement and lovely comments you get from the other artists in the group is very reassuring and this mantra is very much instilled into you as you work your way through:

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone’s else’s middle.” Jon Acuff

Some of the artists have participated in the Life Book courses every year since the first Life Book 2012, and others like myself very new to it all. But it doesn’t matter a jot. You get much more out of it than just to learn to paint and draw.

Oh and in case you’re interested, until 16 January 2018, there’s 20% off:


(By the way, the above is an affiliate link, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link).

But hey, I don’t want to make this sound like a sales pitch, I just had to tell you about Tam’s classes as I am so impressed I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!!

Tam has a free class on her website https://www.willowing.org/product/art-heart-and-healing/ which you might like to try.

Whilst she and the other teachers I’ve seen so far work on paper using various mediums such as acrylics, watercolours, pens, etc, you may remember, I prefer to do all my work using my Ipad Pro and IPencil within the Procreate App. This amazing App can transform your IPencil into just about any medium you can imagine, from pencils, inks and charcoals to acrylics, oils and watercolours – it’s very clever!

Creating using the Ipad Pro, means I have to adapt a little in certain areas, such as not being able to use collage materials, which Tam incorporates into some of her work.  I don’t personally find this an issue, although I may well do an occasional class using paper and paint so I can give collage a whirl!

For me, just one of the advantages of using Procreate is that it records every brush stroke you make, so you get a brilliant time lapse of your creation meaning you can look back and remember how you put it all together – not to mention and all the mistakes/changes you made along the way lol!

The beauty of art is there’s no right or wrong, it’s great to get stuck in anyway you choose, just go with the flow, relax and enjoy it!

If you do any of Tam’s classes, I hope you get as much pleasure from them as I have. Her enthusiasm and happiness are seriously infectious! Wonderful.

And don’t you just love this Erin Hanson quote on her About page …

There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?

Well I think that sums up beautifully that we should never be afraid to follow our dreams.

And as if this and my studio work aren’t enough to keep me out of mischief, I have also enrolled in the follow-up training to the recent Photoshop Artistry course I completed, which again takes place over a year. More about that soon!




Bringing out the Artist in Me

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In the last few months, I have acquired 3 things that have been a revolution for me!

Now, what might they be?

My Ipad Pro, my Apple Ipencil and an amazing painting App – which I will tell you all about in a moment – that’s what!

First a little background story …

Years ago, I used to do a fair amount of watercolour painting, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But I so didn’t love having to wash all the brushes etc and pack everything away at the end of a painting session, a task which had to be done as I didn’t have the luxury of a dedicated area where I could leave all my painting stuff out and readily pick up where I left off the next day.

This meant either I would keep working on a painting until it was totally finished, rather than interrupt the flow, even if this was well into the wee small hours. Or, more often than not, after a day at work (this was long before Romsey Fotografix was even a twinkle in the eye), as it was such a chore to get everything out, set up and get started, I didn’t bother. Inevitably my painting sessions became few and far between, to the point of non-existent.

And thus it was for about 18 years or so!

I had my own graphic design company then which satisfied my creative side of course, and also kept me extremely busy. Together with the boys growing up. I didn’t have a lot of spare time for hobbies.

Photography became my passion and eventually in early 2006 Romsey Fotografix was born. I didn’t really think about painting as such, but as some of you know, I have always strived to be as creative as possible with my photos, always seeking out inspiration and ideas to try and push the boundaries a little.

You may remember back in the autumn I enrolled myself on the Photoshop Artistry course as described in this post https://romseyfotografix.blog/2017/10/13/a-little-artiness/ I worked my way through it and absolutely loved, loved, loved, it! In fact, I loved it so much I have just signed up for the follow up “Awake” training – more about that in another post.

I especially loved some of the whimsical art resources which were included as part of the course and used them in various pictures as you will see from my previous post. Part of me felt I could make my creations more “mine” if I were to draw the faces myself and incorporate those into my artwork, rather than those drawn by other folk, great as they were.

I tentatively dabbled a little to start with. Bearing in mind I hadn’t drawn or picked up a paintbrush in many years – I was very out of practice, lol!! I bought a few arty pens and drew as much as time would allow. Here’s one of my creations using a face I drew, incorporated along with some elements, such as the flowers and background textures, taken from the resources in the Photoshop Artistry course. Incidentally this pic is now a canvas wrap and hanging on our wall!

live life in colour copy

Then my sister, Lynne, who is a brilliant artist https://www.facebook.com/Lynne-Arty-Stuff-1531420060481786/ mentioned that she had got herself an Ipad Pro and IPencil and how wonderful they were. Even though she doesn’t use hers for her art (she’s a paper and paints gal!), she found them very beneficial in her work process.

Amazingly, considering this was only a few months ago and now it’s become like second nature to me, at the time, I was very much in the dark re the difference between and the Ipad Pro and the Ipad I had already, and I’d never even heard of the Ipencil!

With Lynne having sung their praises, I did some research on both, which I found extremely interesting. Exciting in fact!! I thought, hey this would be a great way to do my drawings without the need for pens, paints and paper!

Without further ado, I bit the bullet and invested in a large screen Ipad Pro and an Apple IPencil and golly, I’m so glad I did!!

Next step was to find a Painting/Drawing App I could use to enable me to produce the kind of pictures I needed to incorporate in my digital art.

Again, after much research and reading various reviews, I downloaded a few Apps to experiment with. There was one, for me, which stood out above the others I tried. It is absolutely perfect.

And it is, ta-dahProcreate https://procreate.art/

It does everything it says on the tin and more!!

Here are a few of my creations using the Ipad Pro/Ipencil and the Procreate App, and incorporated with textures etc. from resources included with Photoshop Artistry along with more direct from the suppliers which I discovered via the course.

It didn’t stop there though! I wanted to improve my drawing skills and started looking around for some art training, in particular of the whimsical kind.

As luck would have it, in late November 2016,  I was notified about this humdinger of an Art Bundle https://www.art.bundlesforgood.com/ via one of the artists I follow.  It’s only up for sale once or twice a year for a few days, so I decided to go for it. Gosh, such amazing value for money and some of the proceeds go to a worthy cause, even better. The number of courses and ebooks included is unbelievable! With November and December being such a hectic time in the studio, there was very little time for me to go through everything before the Christmas holiday – in fact I’ve only just finished downloading all the ones of interest to me (of which there are loads), let alone started work on any of the included courses. But you get unlimited access to them all so there’s no rush.

The Art Bundle has introduced me to the work of lots of amazing artists. But one artist, in particular has inspired me more than most, so much so I have joined her very special training course that spans the whole year and includes much more than art alone.

And I’ll tell you all about her in the next post coming up very soon! Thanks to it, my whimsical drawing has already taken a turn for the better. I reckon.

And it all fits in very nicely around my photography work, and helps to inspire me to be even more creative with that too.

Win, win then.

Looking forward …

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So here we are then, 2017 is underway!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. As usual it has flown by  – no sooner have the tree and decorations gone up, it’s time to take them down again!


Decs Away!!!

It’s good though to get back to “normality”. I never did much like the few days between Christmas and New Year (and I don’t think I’m alone in this). After the franticness of December, the excitement and build up to the big day, the magic of Christmas Eve (always been my favourite day of the year and also happens to be our eldest son’s birthday) and of course Christmas Day itself, afterwards things seem a bit, er, flat.

Although I find the break a great opportunity to come up with new ideas for the year ahead and start putting the wheels in motion for them. This cheers me up no end; I really love this kind of research, especially when I discover stuff that is going to prove very handy. As indeed I have. I also have fun finding and trying out new apps and experimenting with creative effects to my heart’s content – a perfect chance to do just that – and of course I’ve fallen head over heels with a couple of new (to me) Apps which I’ll tell you about soon!

As well as the brainstorming, we had a fleeting visit to Marwell Zoo, to start making use of the annual membership I bought Lee for Christmas (and treated myself too!). We’ll really make the most of it I’m sure – so many amazing photo opportunities! It was a very cold and misty day, and lots of the animals not surprisingly were hiding away. So we only wandered round for an hour or two this time but it was great to blow away some cobwebs and have a nice brisk walk and there was still lots to admire and photograph. Wildlife is so fascinating isn’t it! Being so close to Marwell, it’s great that we can nip over there with our cameras whenever we have a spare hour or two. Here’s a few I took on Friday, I expect you’ll see one or two more in the next few months!


This little bute very obligingly strolled slowly passed me several times so I could get a few good close-ups! Or maybe he was just thinking I’d make a good dinner … yikes!!!


We also had our annual panto trip to the Mayflower on New Years Eve – oh yes we did!! (Sorry couldn’t resist that …) With it being a special night, we always treat ourselves to dinner in the theatre’s Ovation restaurant pre-show, which never disappoints. Did any of you see this year’s panto, Robin Hood, there? We had a good old giggle and joined in the banter, the effects were very clever too. Lee and I first met when we were in the back row of a panto chorus together, an amateur production in Sunbury-on-Thames, many moons ago. We did our fair share of pantos back in the day, so have some great memories – the shows were usually late January so the rehearsals and set building etc was a brilliant way to overcome any January blues!! So we still love to get our panto fix once a year – but from the audience rather than on stage these days!

I’ve had some great feedback already re the joy the pictures you bought as gifts have given when opened by your surprised loved ones on Christmas Day. That’s so nice to know 🙂 Thank you.

It’s really lovely to have lots of photoshoots and weddings in the diary already – so looking forward to seeing you all!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, may it bring you everything you wish for!

5 Excellent Apps for Editing Photos

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I promised to share with you my favourite photo editing Apps, so here goes!

These are my ones of choice when editing my personal pics taken on my Iphone, such as for my pictures of the day, and when we’re out socialising, etc. I just love experimenting with the different effects, and seeing how even only half-decent images can be transformed into something a bit special.

Only problem … it can be a bit addictive! But great fun … if you like this kind of thing!

Anyways …


This is my absolute must have! It’s the one I always go to first to do an initial edit on pictures; a little cropping maybe, then an enhancement such as the Drama or HDR effects, both of which can take your images from good to Woweeeee!!

You can also adjust the effect to your personal taste by swiping across the screen.

Here’s a pic I took on my Iphone, before and after it had been “Snapseeded”

Before ...

Before …

... and after!

… and after!

 Quite a difference, eh? Amazing what a little crop, straighten and a bit of Drama can do!!

PicsPlay Pro

This is perfect if you only want to enhance your image, as you can adjust colour, exposure, white balance, sharpening etc. But it does also hold a massive FX studio comprising of ten effect folders such as Art, HDR, Black & White, Beauty, etc, and each of these effect folders contain several looks to choose from ij that genre and adjust if you so wish. You could spend hours experimenting, but you will no doubt find your favourites and stick to those mostly, as I do.

This App also includes a whole range of frames, textures, stamps (art and word overlays), vignettes and lots more!

Very handy. 

For this image, I used “Scratching” from the Grunge FX section



Great name eh!!

As well as being excellent for collages, which I’ll cover in another post, Pizap http://www.pizap.com/ has some really different enhancements – adding all sorts of wonderful patterns and colours to your pictures. It also has a huge number of stickers, borders, phrases – you can even cutout a section from your image.  Also add filters with a bit of a difference, such as stars, dazzle, pop art etc etc. You can have a good old play and never know what you’re going to end up with!

Some I gave the PiZap treatment to …

IMG_3006 IMG_3008 IMG_30102014-10-10 22.18.07


This is a super App as you can achieve a perfect result transforming your photo into a fabulous watercolour painting. And you can even choose the style of watercolour you’d like – there are several to experiment with – ranging from abstract to illustrative!

Clever stuff!

 Painted in Waterlogue Painted in Waterlogue

Photo Pro.Lab

And now for something completely different!

This App is pure fun – definitely not to be taken seriously! All sorts of wacky stuff … frames, backgrounds, effects and collages – you can even put your best friend on the cover of Vogue!

Love the anticipation of how the image will look as the App processes the effect!

Just too much to mention here so why don’t I just show you a few I made earlier …. sorry I had to use myself as a model for one or two!!

 IMG_3206 IMG_2941

 IMG_3040 (2) IMG_2957 IMG_2944 IMG_2942 IMG_3166 (2) IMG_2917

Truely hilarious!!!

I do realise that effects aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoy using them on my personal pics. Haha, you’d never have guessed would you!!!  🙂

Happy creating!!

3 Awesome Apps for making words & phrases look really amazing!

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2014-10-10 22.18.07Do you love posting photos on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc?  Who doesn’t these days!!  Ever fancied superimposing a few words, or funny/emotive phrases on top of your images? So popular now, you see it all the time. Maybe you already do and would like to make your words look a bit special and unique. Or do you ever feel the need for inspiration when creating posters, invitations, scrapbooking or whatever? Well, needless to say, there are some great Apps out there to help. Even if you haven’t an artistic bone in your body, it’s possible nowadays to produce artwork to be proud of.

Sigh. How I would have loved to have had access to this mine of inspiration back in my graphic design days!! Aah, just imagining all those hours I’d have saved …. Oops, so sorry, I digress!! Times have changed  🙂

Anyway, I’d love to share with you some of my favourite Apps for doing just this, which I reckon are quite awesome. Some of these Apps allow for use on both personal and commercial use, but others permit only for personal projects, so I only use those ones for things like my personal 365 Project. Always check out the terms of use first to be on the safe side, especially if you need to use any for business purposes.

And I do apologise if some of these are only available in the App store as that’s what I use, but of course there are some equally great Apps in the Play Store for your Android devices.

Anyway … in no particular order as these are all great!

Rhonna Designs

http://www.rhonnadesigns.com/ Bursting with uplifting sayings, beautiful brushed lettering, artistic fonts, icons, banners etc etc etc etc Ecetera !!!!! If this great App doesn’t inspire you, nothing will!!! I know this one is strictly for personal stuff only, so I have never sadly been able to use it for my Romsey Fotografix artwork, but I have found it invaluable for my personal bits and pieces. Truely brilliant!

A Beautiful Mess

http://www.abeautifulmessapp.com/  There is some wonderful stuff on this App!  For personal use, you can easily put together collages, add text, doodles, phrases, all beautifully drawn by Elsie and Emma, who also have a fantastic blog of the same name http://www.abeautifulmess.com/ which is so very enjoyable – and very handy too! I can relate to so much of what they say, especially their take on photography, but there’s so much other interesting stuff too, such as crafts, like sewing and jewellery making; style and fashion ideas; recipes, and loads more besides! Fabulous!!


http://wordswag.co/ Now this sure is one very clever beast!! If you’re ever designing a poster or invitations and have the words but need the inspiration to lay them out in an eye-catching way, this could be the answer to your prayers! Basically, you just type in your phrase, hit the save button, and you can then spend hours (believe me, it’s addictive!!) changing the way your text looks. It’s quite simply, amazing!! I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made to me! Inspiration at your fingertips! And if you’re stuck for words, it also includes loads of quotes etc. Wow! Take a look at the quick video on their website http://wordswag.co/#features which will give you more idea of how it works and how simple it is!

I hope you find these Apps as inspiring and useful as I have. Coming soon, I will be sharing some of my absolute can’t-live-without photo editing Apps, and also some super Apps for making collages! It would be great to hear about your favourites too!! 🙂