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A merry Covid Christmas!

It has been a fair old ride since I last posted a blog post. I kept trying to think of something new to talk about, but realistically, what interesting thoughts can you have in a year long lockdown? Either way, with the holiday season now upon us, I thought I'd spend the time to scrawl another blog post. Well, where to begin? Life over the past few months has been more up and down than I'd ever hoped. I found myself leaving a job where I'd worked for over a year, for another one, which was a very mixed bag of emotions. I've never been great at leaving a place. I'm often stubborn (I am a Taurus after all), so I persist for far longer than I should. However leaving that job, and then getting a new one has given me a great, and fresh determination in life. My new job is far less demanding of me, and I find myself being able to focus on the very things that I love the most, and thus sees me working on the career path I really want to go down. One of the biggest things that has come out of this lockdown for me, is my new found passion for photography. In the past I had dabbled in film photography, but I was incredibly daunted by the procedure of it all, and ended up giving up. This fear of photography really subsided this year, as I found myself taking photos on walks more and more often. It got to the point where I'd go on a walk to a cafe or pub purely for the excuse to photograph. Bit by bit I became more interested, enough to the point where I decided to find my old DSLR camera, and go out and shoot! This discovery happened many months ago, and as I sit here now, I've hundreds, maybe even thousands of photographs on my pc that I've taken with that camera. Many of those photos are of food, and other products that I've been paid to photograph by outside businesses. You could argue that it was a very lucky that I kindled my interest in photography! With the requests to photograph professionally, I realised it was time to update my equipment. As an artist, and average human being, I am very much of the mindset that it's the person, not the tools that makes something great. But you can be limited in photography, when you're using a lower standard camera, particularly if you're looking to produce high quality, crisp images. My first DSLR was a Panasonic Lumix G2. It was a mirrorless, 12mpx camera, with a very light body, and very dependable sensor. I still regularly use it when I'm out in places where I'm likely to drop the camera! My mission was to find a camera that fitted me as well as the Lumix had, on a price that a minimum wage employee could afford. I spent weeks trawling through photography sites, Ebay, Amazon, and even in stores! But in the end I was lucky enough to find a brilliant set on Facebook Marketplace. Marketplace isn't exactly a place where I put my trust vehemently into. I've often seen scam artists, and people trying to get something for nothing on there. I spent a while checking the listing for prices, and having a look at the sellers page. In the end I took the benefit of the doubt, and went and bought the camera set. The camera I ended up purchasing was a Nikon D3200 dual zoom lens set. The two lenses being a 18-55mm and a 55-200mm. This was perfect for me!

I've had the camera for a few weeks now, and I'm still very much at the beginners phase of understanding it. I haven't really worked out its quirks and plaudits, but the range of ability that it grants is fantastic, and has opened my mind to completely new ideas! My goal over the next few (probably lockdown) months is to get as many photographs as I can. Then when I feel completely comfortable with the camera, I will be pushing myself in to the world of product photography. For as long as I've wanted to be an artist, I've been searching for something as a sort of side hustle, that would grant me the ability to afford to actually be an artist, without worrying too much about funds. So hopefully down the road, I'll be able to utilise this, and escape my life in hospitality! Outside of this wonderful discovery about myself, not too much has really changed for me. I still waste far too much time scrolling through facebook, and watching youtube videos. But at the end of the day, we're in a pandemic. I shouldn't really beat myself up too much! With the end of this absolutely rubbish year fast approaching, I am more than ever looking towards the future, and trying to plan out various projects, and plans. At current, my eyes are mainly on open art competitions. I want to get as many of my studies in galleries as possible, and this is a fantastic way of doing this! However, going forwards in working terms, I will be looking to paint far more grand pieces. I really believe that I have a far greater understanding of paint, and colour now, than I did at the beginning of last year. I now feel completely comfortable painting freely, on very large canvases. This is likely a turning point in my career as an artist, as I've always been a bit scared of really showing off my work to the masses, as I've never really been one hundred percent happy with the paintings. But now with a looser approach, I find myself far more open to sharing my work. I really do hope this is something that will continue to progress, as it's incredibly important to be able to show your work off effectively in the current art world! I have probably bored you all with my waffling, but I really wanted to share my experiences over this lockdown, in the hopes of inspiring other people! Things may seem really bad at current, and in a lot of cases things probably are awful! But these awful times will end, hopefully fairly soon! I really hope we can all look to the coming future with as much optimism and hope as we can. In doing that, I'm sure we'll make things far easier for ourselves! Cheers, Ash!

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