Here comes Summer!

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Isn’t it great occasionally to do something a little different from the norm?

This bank holiday weekend I set up a stylized shoot in the new studio. My main reasons for this being, a) to take some photos for my digital art projects using techniques I’ve been learning on the fabulous Photoshop Artistry and Awake courses ; and b) to create some studio images for my Shutterstock photo gallery (It’s still very much a work in progress with a very limited number of images at the moment. I’m working on it, but it’s a more involved process than I imagined.)

Anyway … back to Sunday’s shoot. My lovely model for the morning brought along loads of her own shoes, hats and bags, not to mention a fantastic mask, which is quite unique as she had very cleverly glued the feathers on herself. Perfect! As soon as I saw it inspiration sprang to mind in leaps and bounds!

Photo becomes art

We also incorporated several of the props already in the studio, the bright orange deck chairs featured rather a lot – love, love, love ‘em!!! That bright orange really pops against the white backdrop!

Deck chairs

Summer and sunshine was of course the theme for the session what with the deckchairs, sun hats and shades! I was able to create a super variety of images.

I got Lee in on the act to pose for a couple of shots! And, dare I say it, even yours truly – even though I’m much more at home t’other side of camera!!! Suitably disguised of course – and yes, I really did wear these stilettos! Not to walk in mind, I know my limitations!! 😉

We joined in too

And sticking with the beach theme …

Seaside to studio

Shoes anyone?  (Still working on the edit on most of the shoe pics!!)

Stepping out

I’m really pleased there’s a guitar in amongst the studio props! I’m sure this will prove popular with any “budding musicians” you may have in the family when you come in. Instruments always lend themselves nicely to some arty shots.  I’ve given these ones an impressionist feel!

Guitar

This session has really inspired me, as well as given me lots of images to play with. I am already planning the next creative shoots  based on other themes. The more you do, the more ideas seem to come flooding in!

Some you may think, “hey that’s pretty cool”, and others a resounding “blah!!”

Isn’t that just the thing with art and creativity: some things you put together work, and some things just don’t. In your own eyes at least. Whilst of course it’s an amazing feeling when the outcome of your creation makes you happy, it really doesn’t matter when it doesn’t. Experimenting and throwing caution to the wind is all part and parcel of the creative process. You don’t know until you try, and if it turns out to be a disaster chances are you will still have learned a lot, even if it’s what not to do next time. In your own opinion of course. You may find another person would absolutely love it!

That’s the funny thing about art.

I found one of the recent art projects for the Lifebook 2018 Art course I’m doing especially challenging and wasn’t at all happy with the end result. I uploaded to the private Facebook Group in any case as it’s always good to get constructive critique, but was astounded by the positive feedback – it gained more likes and loves and wows than any of the other artwork I had previously uploaded. Well I never – to think I nearly relegated it to the camera roll never to see the light of day!!

Just goes to show, eh? Which is why just doing your thing without worrying about what anyone will think is the way to go. Such freedom is quite exhilarating, and once that penny drops, and the pressure is off, ideas flow much better.

Here’s all the shots from Sunday’s photoshoot in a teeny collage! There are some duplications of course but still lots – you can see why they are taking me a while to edit!! You may need a magnifying glass to see them though!!

Montage 1

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

Oh so true!

 

When White is not All White

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White backdrops are great and still as popular as ever and why wouldn’t they be!

I like to do a very thorough edit on the white background in any images you buy. In case you ever wondered why the final edit can be somewhat fiddly and take longer than you might expect, here’s the answer in this short little video ….

Of course, some images are much quicker than others to process, the fluffy fur in this one make it one of the more fiddly to do. And as with most things you do in Photoshop there are several other ways to remove the marks, which I sometimes opt for, rather than always the eraser tool. No doubt other folk have their own ways of doing things too.

However, it’s well worth doing to give you the best possible quality for your images and ensure that the background will always be pure white.

And, fortunately, I find the process rather therapeutic … 🙂

Screen shot

Celebrating a New Beginning

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“And suddenly you just know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” -Meister Eckhart

Yep, you could say it was quite a spontaneous decision to move out of my studio at Basepoint! At Christmas I had absolutely no inkling that by Easter my lovely studio space – my second home for the last 12 years – would be back to its bare shell, workshop roots.

The way we were

Sometimes things happen quite out of the blue to take you on a different path you hadn’t even considered until that point, don’t they? In my case, I knew it would happen one day of course. In quiet moments whilst sitting in the studio waiting for shoots I would often glance around at my set up and imagine when that day would come and what it would feel like.

Now I know. It just happened to be sooner than I expected!

I guess the clincher was an increase in costs this year which made us look at everything closely and decide whether to stay and increase my prices, which I really didn’t want to do, or find an alternative.

The solution, we discovered quite quickly, thanks to a brief Google search. Hive Studios. It immediately looked like the perfect answer.

After further research and a visit, we found Hive Studios to be very well-equipped. There’s also a changing area/makeup room and also a welcoming reception area. What had been a distinct possibility, soon became a no-brainer.

Hive Studios – looks great eh?

I can hire studio space there as and when I need it, as well as block book certain days. This arrangement suits me very well. As many of you I’m sure know, the vast majority of a photographer’s work is done at a desk, editing photos and processing orders – taking photos is but a small part of the overall process. In my case my desk is at home, which means my studio was empty a lot of the time. So paying for a studio premises on a full time basis, whilst a nice luxury, doesn’t actually make great financial sense.

I decided to take a block booking out at Hive Studios for Sunday mornings, which is my most popular day, and other days I can request as and when necessary. Hive Studios have kindly allowed me to take lots of my trusty props with me and keep at their studio, which was a real bonus! Some things you just can’t do without!!

I will be doing lots more outdoor lifestyle shoots too which I really enjoy!

With anything new comes changes of course and this link will tell you more the types of shoots I will be doing in the studio and outdoors, and also changes I have made to the booking system.

It’s been quite a full on couple of weeks sorting it all out! Last weekend, we hired a large van to empty the studio of all the furniture and props we were taking with us. The snow was a little inconvenient!! However, we got lots done.  We took a load of stuff to Hive Studios, and all the remaining furniture we offered to other business owners at Basepoint and to friends on Facebook, and luckily it was all snapped up very quickly.

This weekend we hired some Abbey Grab Bags so I could throw in the backdrop and floor panels as Lee dismantled them. It all came to bits more easily and quicker than we anticipated. Thank goodness.

Didn’t he do well?

It looks like Lee was doing all the work as these pictures might suggest!! I did do my fair share, honest guv, I wasn’t just snapping away on my phone at him working hard!! Although of course I had to take plenty of pics! Obviously I want some good memories of the place that has been so close to my heart all these years, eh!!!

Now, it’s all done and dusted! Feels mighty strange to see it in its guise of being a warehouse again.

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Those 4 walls have sure seen a lot of emotions within them throughout those years – happy, smiling faces; contagious giggles; tears of joy; squeals of laughter; screams of excitement; baby cries and chuckles; toddler tantrums; family get togethers; surprises; hilarious party shoots, etc., etc..  Capturing so many of your special moments here has been such a joy … seeing your offspring grow from babies to teens, and from children to adults, has always been a particular highlight.

Each time I’ve gone in over in the last few weeks, since knowing I’d be moving, different memories have sprung to mind. Golly, so many brilliant times!

Of course, I won’t be leaving behind all these memories, they’ll stick with me forever! And I look forward to creating many more for you! It may be a sad goodbye to Basepoint, but it’s also a very enthusiastic hallo to Hive Studios and to lots of photo sessions in the great outdoors too!

It all dismantled quicker than expected – not this quick though!

As I come to the end of this chapter in my Romsey Fotografix story, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Basepoint over the years who have made it such a lovely place to be. A very special thank you to Kate, Sam and Neil from the Romsey Basepoint Office, who are always on hand to help whenever we pop by, with their cheery smiles, and organising various social and business events during the year to make it special for the licencees. I shall miss you all.

And, of course, a huge thank you to every one of you who has ever stepped foot into 45 Basepoint, and for being so supportive over the years. It means such a lot to me. I look forward to welcoming you to Hive Studios or meeting you for a photoshoot in the New Forest, in your garden, or even on the beach!

My biggest thank you of all is to Lee, who has worked so hard, making my dreams come true, and without whom none of this would have been possible. Thanks, lovely hubby.

And here’s an outtake of me attempting to lock the door for the last time at 45. Clumsy me, if only I’d remembered to take the key out of my pocket first!! Haha 🙂

 

 

Celebrate Endings – For they Precede New Beginnings

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 

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!

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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!