Finding some beauty…photo gallery

I thought that today of all days, I needed to get out into the outdoors and do some mindful photography and find some beauty in the world.  Not easy in a drizzly grey Gosport in November.  (Although annoyingly the sun has come out since I got home!).  But I had a great walk and am very pleased with the pictures I took.  The leaves still look amazing.

I decided to focus on colour – to brighten my day – but some monochrome crept in there too, perhaps giving away my underlying mood.



Action Stations – in colour and monochrome!

I am very proud to share my pictures of the Action Stations building taken earlier this month.   As I have already blogged, I learnt a great deal doing this assignment – and I am very pleased with the results.

I used my mindful practice of wandering around the building seeing what caught my eye.  Back home I review the shots always asking “is this about the colour or the shape?” the latter are turned into monochrome, the former are tweaked to enhance the important features – but I seldom do much post-processing.

See my blog on the history of this wonderful building here >>

So here is a sample of the shots – I actually have 60 of them – too many for this blog!

Colour gallery

Monochrome Gallery

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss a similar photo assignment.

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It’s funny how every photowalk has a flavour, when I got back from my walk yesterday, all my pictures featured pinks / purples and reds!   Here is a little selection.   Loved the sticker on the old metal pole and the buds just opening on a very old wall at the end of a quaint lane in the heart of Southsea.   The fabulous old worn steps were in Castle Road.


MA Fine Art – liminal project underway

After weeks of stress – the exhibition and the steep learning curve of a totally new subject area for me, combined with illness it is fabulous to report that things have settled down somewhat!

The exhibition is done, I feel fit and healthy and I also feel I have broken the back of my two uni projects this term.

Gosport Ferry Liminal Space

As part of my research on liminality, I want to use Gosport Ferry in some way.  It has always been important to me and when I realised it was a liminal space (much like a bridge) I was delighted and determined to include it in my art work.   The ferry is a threshold to the other side, no mans land in the harbour.  Plus for many commuters it is also temporally liminal – they use it entirely to get to the other side, they daydream their way over.    I don’t know what I will do art-wise with this but I decided this week to start taking one picture everytime I cross.   These will usually be on my Samsung phone since I don’t carry my Canon with me every day.   I will assemble these in a Flickr album and see what happens!

Liminal Space - Gosport Ferry

Gosport Ferry – Liminality – click for album


I really enjoyed the talks this week by each of the tutors about their particular passions and past projects. It was inspirational to see the wide variety of areas where art and creativity is applied – I found each one very interesting.

I had not really heard of ‘zines’ before – and it surprised me to see that by Jackie’s definition my book of photography and poetry is an artzine!     And I love the instructions on how to make a foldyzine.

The mediate project was fascinating – and seemed to be so valuable, such a shame that none were made.

1001 Haphazard colours got me thinking about how we all perceive colours differently, we can never know how someone else sees your favorite red.   And colours are so emotional, and these videos record why people love certain colours – we all have such personal reasons for liking (or disliking I guess) a colour.     Colour is very important to me, I tend to chose them instinctively when I am painting, I will just know that an area of a painting has to be a certain hue.   Also recently I did this picture which I blogged about, it’s actually a rough for a bigger version, but I was thinking about what colour love felt to me – I concluded that being loved felt orangey yellow, and loving felt purple… and I did this:

What colour is your love?

What colour is your love?   We are complimentary….

There’s more about this on my post about synaethesia and what colour is that feeling?

Featured picture

This weeks picture is an alleyway that runs from behind our house to the sea – definitely liminal and covered with yellow leaves.

Playing with acrylics – learning how to paint

I have only really painted in watercolour and had training in watercolour techniques – I have never ventured into acrylic until this year.  Initially I just did finger painting (and great fun it was too!) but recently, inspired by work I have seen, I have been venturing into ‘proper’ painting, with brushes and canvasses.

I have a couple of books out of the library and am diving in to see what happens.   My first impressions are that it is fun, and being able to obliterate mistakes by painting over them is a refreshing change over the confines of watercolour! Here is this weeks crop – what do you think?!

World weary - watercolour and acrylic

World weary – watercolour and acrylic

The void - acrylic on canvas

The void – acrylic on canvas (‘finger painting’)

Hand  - acrylic on canvas

Hand – acrylic on canvas

Trapped  - acrylic on canvas

Trapped – acrylic on canvas

Stephan Geisler Exhibition at Jack House Gallery Review

I’ve just come back from a very enjoyable evening at Jack House Gallery in Old Portsmouth where it was the preview for German artist Stephan Geisler’s exhibition.  I had seen some of his work online and was interested in his use of colour and figures in his largely abstract expressionist paintings and so we went along to see more.

I am so glad we did, there is nothing to compare with seeing a painting that is 2 or 3m square on the wall in front of you, perhaps showing just a head portrait (“Pink Portrait”) 5ft high – seeing a picture online does not have the emotional impact of walking into a room of Stephan’s pictures.

The first thing that struck me, after the sheer size of the pieces (and apparently, these are the small ones!) was the colour.  Bold swathes of bright, almost neon colour used sparingly make the paintings vibrant and alive.

The second thing was the powerful wave of emotion and energy coming from the pictures – there were some incredibly strong feelings being portrayed.    I was struck by how much emotion can be conveyed merely by the tilt of the head.

Thirdly, I enjoyed looking at each picture and seeing how it was constructed.  There were two main genres on display – some of the paintings had elaborate collaged backgrounds using fabrics, images and text.   Figures (human and animal) are sketched boldly and then painted sparingly over the top.    The second genre had plainer backgrounds and were matte rather than glossed.    I liked both, although the latter would be easier on the eye in your living room!

What I loved most was the unfinished nature of most of the pictures.  Bare canvas, unpainted parts of the sketch, negative space picked out but not elaborated on.  Each picture was painted just the right exent to make the point and then left well alone.  I think knowing when to stop requires great bravery!

I asked Stephan about this and he explained how he built up a picture, always questioning when he had enhanced the subject enough and when it was time to leave the background less developed.    It was lovely to meet him and be able to discuss the power of painting emotions.

The figures in Stephan’s paintings are often in unusual poses, like the provocative “Red Bridge” or the beautiful “Four Wheels” or “Flying” – the shade of blue in the last two was particularly mesmerising.    Our favourite was probably the candid street scene called “Venice”  where the main character (the only one painted in entirety) is looking out of the painting right at the viewer in a posture that could be interpreted as confident or challenging.  The colours  (lime green, blue and white) are particularly vibrant.

The paintings did everything I want from art – they are visually stunning, aesthetically interesting, intriguing and thought provoking and above all filled with powerful emotions.   I just wish we had a wall large enough!

This is the first preview evening I have been able to attend at Jack House and I wish I had done so sooner, they have an interesting range of exhibitions and artists there.

The exhibition runs until 28th November.   Jack House Gallery is on the High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Jack House Gallery website: (pictures of all the paintings I’ve mentioned).

Stephans Facebook page:

Synaesthesia and art – what colour or shape is that feeling?

I have mentioned before that I am synaesthetic.    I don’t see numbers or words as colours or see music as colours (although that sounds amazing) – mainly I have a very specific way that I see numbers in time.   I had no idea about synaesthesia until I was in my mid-40’s when I was driving and heard a BBC Radio4 programme about it, I nearly crashed the car!  That was me!   I thought everyone saw numbers like me.

Number form synaesthesia

I have number-form synaesthesia, which involves a complicated moving, coloured, ribbon of numbers going forwards and backwards from differing perspectives depending on the context (time, calendars, days of the week or just normal numbers).  It makes juggling numbers quite complicated sometimes but also I can grasp some concepts easily because I see it in visual form.

This can be quite a handicap when I cannot envisage one number as higher than another – ‘greater’ yes, ‘higher’ no.


I didn’t think much about it until I started doing my art and I realised how being synaesthetic affects my art and how I see the world, and I have started to take it more seriously again.   I read  Wednesday is Indigo Blue (Crytowic / Eagleman) and it piqued my interest, especially as I realised that other aspects of how I see the world are synaesthetic too (perhaps more about that in the future!).

Painting feelings

As I have been practicing more mindfulness since I have been off work, it has caused me to ask more often ‘What am I feeling right now?’ this led very naturally for me to ask ‘What shape is that feeling?’ and more recently, ‘What colour is that feeling?’

I started to paint my feelings.  This is different to my photography, which tries to convey feelings via an image – this is attempting to paint the actual feeling.    I found this very theraputic and also was surprised to find that others got a strong sense of feelings when they saw the image (although not necessarily the same one as me).     I was recently worried about a family member who was ill, and the sketch below (I haven’t had time to translate this into a large watercolour yet) is my feeling of ‘Worry’ and ‘Scared’.    I am not sure about the colours yet, perhaps that is why I haven’t painted it.


Worry, scared…

This week I was idly sketching and I got a strong sense that my husband’s love felt yellow.  It hadn’t occurred to me that feelings had colours before and I was interested in this, especially as ‘traditionally’ love is red in our society.   I thought about why yellow and it was the universally uplifting and postivivity of yellow that made it feel right.   I wondered what colour my love for him was, and I immediately knew it was purple.   Strong, deep and rich.

It amused me to realise that these two colours where complementary!    So I did the watercolour above – it’s called ‘We are complementary’.

Of course I have no idea if everyone thinks like this, after all it is common in our language to speak about being green with envy or purple with rage.  I am sure most people could empathise with anger being spiky or love being soft and rounded.   I don’t know if this is synaesthesia or common to us all.


There are many artists who are known to be synaesthetic, and it’s not surprising.    It is also perhaps not surprising that some of my favorite artists are Van Gogh, Hockney and Kandinsky!  Perhaps we see the world in a similar way.

According to a 2010 study, there is a higher prevalence of synaesthesia in art students, so it obviously does influence our actions.

More info

I suspect that every synaesthete is unique, that we all have our senses interconnected in subtly different ways, which is wonderful for the world of art and the different ways we see and experience the world.

More info on synaesthesia in art here:

How synaesthesia inspires artists from the BBC

You can find out more about synaesthesia here:

Do you have shapes for feelings?   Know that some feelings are a certain colour?  I’d love to hear your experiences.