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:

Montage-1

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:

https://www.willowing.org/product/life-book-2018/?affiliates=104

(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.

Almost there!

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So here we are again, another Christmas almost upon us and another year nearly gone by! It’s such a hectic time of year isn’t it, filled with mixed emotions from huge excitement in anticipation, to utter panic making sure everything gets done!

It’s a rollercoaster ride that’s for sure – but we usually get there in the end, eh!

blog-1 copy

Its been pretty crazy here; not complaining of course, I am truly thankful that you love your pictures and the kind things you say about them, and of course, for your valued custom. It’s just having that same deadline for everything (ie Christmas!) that creeps up before you know it – it can get a little overwhelming! Happy to report that everything is now done and delivered. Phew!

I’m sure it’s the same for you, and before we know it, the big day has come and gone!

Hope 2017 has been a good one for you. For Lee and I, outside of work, we had the house move of course, which wasn’t even on our radar this time last year, but happy to say has worked out fabulously, we’ve settled in well and absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our new place.

The trials and tribulations of moving did mean that certain things, such as my personal Photo of the Day Project, which some of you may remember I have been doing over the last few years, and have really enjoyed, had to take a bit of a back seat. Eventually, I got so far behind with updating the Diary I kept with each daily photo, it became more of a task than a pleasure to try and get it all back up to date, so I sadly had to let it go. For now at least.

However, I am very excited to have been getting back into art, and intend to do as much as possible in the new year. The hectic lead up to Christmas has meant putting it to one side for a few weeks, but I hope to get really stuck in over the holiday. I have lots of creative ideas milling through my head and can’t wait to start again! It’s so therapeutic!! On one hand it complements my photography, helping to keep ideas flowing, but on t’other, it’s different enough to take me away from it all and lose myself in the dreamy world of artiness! Bliss!!

Exciting news too, we are planning on opening a commercial side to Romsey Fotografix in 2018, with Lee at the helm! I love my “people photography” so have never really promoted product photography before, but it’s something Lee excels at. It’s early days and we are still working it all out, but I’ll be giving you more info as soon as I can.

I am closing for the Christmas break from Friday 22 December until Wednesday 3rd January. Quite a busy holiday, as this year we are having two Christmas Days – yay!!! It’s the first year ever we won’t be spending the 25th with both our boys, as our youngest son isn’t able to be with us on the big day itself.  We knew it would happen sometime and understand of course, but all the same it will be strange without him there at our annual large family gathering, so we’re doing it all again on 28th December – in our new abode!

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been in; to meeting so many new faces, and seeing again lots of familiar ones! Thanks for your continued custom, and to all of you for keeping the studio atmosphere alive with your laughter and giggles!  It means such a lot to me and I feel truly blessed. You’re wonderful!!!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas – have a wonderful time, and a very Healthy, Happy and Peaceful New Year.

The Lion, The Ape and The Whimsical!

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Fresh back from our holiday, just in time for the half term break, so guess some of you may be taking a holiday yourselves this week. Enjoy!

We packed lots in to ours, had a few super days in Kent, got away from it all and included a quick visit to Margate for a bit of reminiscing. My grandparents had a pub/hotel there back in the day so it became a bit like a second home at the time, many, many moons ago of course. Now it’s a pub no more, it’s an antique shop in fact, but the building itself, even the interior, are still much the same. Bought back a few memories 😊

We also had a brilliant day out to Longleat, strangely somewhere I’d never been before considering it’s not a million miles away. Really glad we went, I’m sure many of you have been there too, and if you haven’t, it’s well worth the visit. The safari park is quite an adventure as you drive through, with the monkeys clambering all over the car, so amusing, then lions walking strolling by the car window. Surreal.  Fantastic for taking pictures needless to say. The entry ticket also includes a boat trip where you see a 56 year old gorilla on his own little island, with his own house – complete with his very own smart TV (seriously folks, apparently he loves watching it!!!). The two resident hippos were sleeping at the lake’s edge, we could just about see their backs poking out of the water; then came the opportunity to feed the sea lions by throwing fish from the boat – more amazing photo opportunities!

I’ve had a ball practising my digital art too. At the moment I’m veering along the whimsical route, as I love this particular style. Using techniques I’ve learned from the course, I’ve also been incorporating some of my own hand drawings of whimsical type faces, such as in the pic below, and then combining these in Photoshop with textures and other elements, floral etc which I have acquired since starting the course. I became the proud owner of an Ipad Pro and IPencil a few days ago so have been using those to do my initial drawing – boy have they been a revolution!! Along with the brilliant Procreate App, which transforms the Ipencil into virtually any medium you can imagine, you can sketch and paint to your hearts content! Awesome fun 😊

dreamer-1 copy

Haha but fear ye not 😉 I’ve put my drawing hat aside for now, and am getting back into the swing of things post holiday. As happens after time away, there’s lots to catch up on and this week is busier than usual with shoots as the schools are off, which is lovely and I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and some new ones too!! Thanks so much for your patience whilst I’ve been away and as I work my way through the backlog. I enlisted some editing help whilst I was on holiday to enable me to keep on top of things as much as possible and I’m now getting cracking on with outstanding orders and preparing galleries in between my studio sessions, so I’ll contact you soon if you’ve been in touch whilst I’ve been away.

So here we are again, that busy, busy time leading up to Christmas, which will be here before we know, and with the clocks going back next weekend it will really feel like winter with the dark evenings upon us.

This means it must be time for an offer!!! Yay!!!!  I have that very special gift voucher deal coming up – a £50 studio voucher for only £25 and a £100 gift voucher for only £50 (did someone say half price?) – available to buy for one day only!! I’ll announce the date you will be able to get yours in the next day or so. Ideal Christmas pressies!!

Just one more thing to mention for now … a new security system at Basepoint means anyone coming for a Sunday session will find the front gates closed and will have to gain access by pressing a button on the gate which alerts me in my unit so I can let you in. I’ll be emailing those of you concerned with more info soon and will update website etc with more details soon.

 

Happy half term!

 

 

A Little Artiness

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So two weeks in to the Photoshop Artistry course and I’m really lovin’ it!

My pictures, as you can see, are a bit diverse, but that’s the fun of it, experimenting, throwing things into the mix, finding what works and what doesn’t (at least what I think works – art is very subjective) and just seeing what transpires.

There is no must in art because art is free.”  Wassily Kandinsky

Here’s some of my creations to date …

Photoshop Artistry creations

Before I started the course, I reckoned my Photoshop skills were pretty much OK, having used the software to edit goodness knows how many pictures over the years!

As with a lot of things, I guess you learn the bits you need and use all the time – so much so you could do them standing on your head, and although of course you’re aware there’s a lot more to it, you don’t delve too much into other functions when you’re managing perfectly well with those you’re familiar with and use all the time.

Until you DISCOVER more!!  As I have done via this course.

Putting aside for a moment the abundance of arty inspiration gleaned (which has been absolutely fascinating), the PhotoShop Artistry course has also opened my eyes to much more! Loads of things I hadn’t learned/understood before re the complexities of Photoshop, but now I’ve seen them in action, I wonder how I ever managed without! So these tips and tricks have been a real bonus. 😊

If you’d like to know more about the course here’s the info and an offer they are running (at the time of writing this post) https://prophotoshopartistry.com/specialoffer

The man behind the training is Sebastian Michaels and he explains everything with great clarity as he demonstrates in a number of videos and articles the various techniques within Photoshop which he uses to create his amazing pictures. His wonderful work and ideas alone are truly inspiring, but all the “lightbulb moments” that came on for me as I have been watching his demonstrations, are going to be so useful in my day to day work.

I allocated a few hours in the first week so I could get a good start on the training, it’s very addictive, so it was great to be able to do that. Since then I’ve been working on it whenever time allows.  I’ve now completed all the modules, and have been practising the different techniques as I go along, making use of both the myriad of textures/elements included within the course (kid in a sweet shop springs to mind!) and working with some of my own images too. Whenever I go out I’ve been on the lookout and photographing textures in the great outdoors to incorporate in my work (concrete, gravel, wood, sand, stones, you get the drift) – it doesn’t sound very exciting eh, and I did sense one or two funny looks from passers by as I was photographing some things … drains, anyone … but it’s amazing how overlaying one or two of these as textures in the picture can really bring it all together! And no, it won’t resemble a drain (or whatever) once it’s in the final composition!

The artist’s world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep.” Paul Strand

I’ve worked through the training quite speedily as I was excited to see what there was to learn next! Perhaps having experience of Photoshop has helped to get through it a little quicker than had I not. A few of the earlier videos covered some of what I knew already – apart from the “lightbulb moments” as mentioned – but that’s great if you’re starting from scratch of course.

I’ll be going back over several of the videos to refresh my memory on some of the techniques and I’m sure I’ll pick up even more – it’s tricky to take it all in first time round.

I’d thoroughly recommend this if digital art is your thing too. It’ll really get those creative juices flowing! It certainly has for me – it’s unleashed a mountain of ideas, and I know that some I will be able to use in your pictures too, as I’m constantly on the lookout to bring some innovative creations for your galleries.  I’m hoping at some stage to sell some of mine as wall art and cards too.

I shall certainly keep creating – there’s always something new to learn and keep ideas fresh. The course also points you in the direction of loads and loads of excellent resources for use in your creations – you can’t fail but to be inspired!

Good luck if you decide to go for it – I’d love to see some of your works of art too 🙂

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut