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.


Day 4 – Expect the unexpected…..

This morning I could hardly eat my breakfast I was so nervous about installing my last piece “Liminal Man” – in the comfort of my own home, exhibiting a 10ft digital photograph seemed simple, but the logistics of getting it hanging in the room were far from that.

In the end, although it took a while, with the help of the wonderful Will, there he was, splendid in his new home.     The rest of the day was taken up alternatively waiting around or frantically working as people came to help.

By the end of the day, it was pretty much there.  It looks incredible, I know I keep saying that but to see your work, hanging in such a professional space is quite amazing.  I only hope our visitors think so too!

And the unexpected part?   The staff at Action Stations, especially Will, are the most cheerful and helpful people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.    Even when I wanted to move a piece that Will had painstakingly hung earlier in the day, he just smiled and said “of course”.   Such a breath of fresh air to find people who clearly love where they work.  Thank you all.

Tomorrow we open!!

Day Two – polyfilla-gate :)

So I thought yesterday threw up something unexpected.  This morning we settled down to paint, opened one of the two huge vats given to us by the Art College only to find it was compound filler not paint!   I saw our tightly balanced schedule going right out of the window.   But a phone call to the college (who were aghast at their mistake) sent a techie down in his car to swap the buckets of polyfilla for some more acceptable white emulsion and within half an hour we were back on schedule – not bad considering how far the college is.

Another busy day but we got two coats onto everything, without making a mess – so tomorrow we hang!!!

It’s looking fabulous.

See a snippet of our day below:

Day 1 – everything arrives!

So the day we’ve been planning for six months arrived – beautifully sunny and hot!   I was early at the dockyard and after checking in with Kim, waited to be let in.   At the other end, the lorry was being loaded at the Art College and all our stuff was on it’s way!

We got a lot done today – there were a couple of unexpected things that were not on my risk log, but we worked around that and made good progress.   Very grateful for all the help we received from everyone at Action Stations!

Tomorrow we paint!

The History of Action Stations, Boathouse 6.

I thought it would be interesting to do some research into the history of the Grade II Listed building, currently called “Action Stations” at the Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth where we are hosting our exhibition.

The building was originally built between 1845 and 1848 and called Boathouse 6.   It was used for the building, repair and storage of small boats.  Some of the rings used to help pull boats out of the mast pond are still in-situ at the front of the building.


It was used as a boathouse until the Blitz of 1941, when a bomb destroyed much of the rear of the building, the temporary repair done at the time wasn’t replaced until nearly the millennium, when it was beautifully restored to provide a modern building whilst retaining all of the history and interest of the old building.

Queen Victoria visited the Dockyard in 1848 and there is a painting by local watercolour artist Richard Ubsdell depicting the workers raising their tankards at a banquet within the boathouse.

The main structure of the boathouse is made up of cast iron girders called Truss Girders, they are each unique and were fitted warm so that they locked together as they cooled.  It was one of the first examples of a brick building erected around a metal frame.

I wonder if in their 170 year life the girders have ever had some fine art hanging from them?!


The rear of the building now hosts the wonderful independent cinema with a huge screen – No.6 Cinema.

It’s an honour to be exhibiting in such a historic building, watch this space for our progress!

With thanks to the leaflet available at Action Stations called “Welcome to Boathouse 6 and Action Stations”.

Historic Dockyard website.
Action Stations website.

Our exhibition runs at Action Stations from August 20th until September 2nd, 10am till 5pm and admission is free.

10 Reasons to see our Fine Art Exhibition

Think you’re not a fan of ‘fine art’? Me either, until I started studying it and started to ‘get’ what it is.   Here are 10 reasons you should come to our exhibition and see for yourself.

  1. Fine art gives a new perspective on your world – a different angle. It’s all about looking at a subject through new eyes.  It’s been shown that you don’t have to like a piece to be changed by it.  And if it causes any emotion in the viewer it has done a good job.    The aim of any artist is that you come away from an exhibition looking at the world slightly differently.
  2. But is it art?   You can spend a lifetime trying to define what is art and Marcel Duchamp was probably right in insisting that ‘everything is art’ – and that’s why fine art shows cover such a wide range of works – installations, video, sound, digital and the more traditional photography and painted pieces.  Fine art can be subtle and gentle or loud and brutal – it’s more about the why than the what.   What is the artist trying to convey?

    However there is a huge gulf between what you’d hang on your livingroom wall – an aesthetically pleasing subject / composition / colours etc and fine art that seeks to explore aspects of humanity – sometimes uncomfortable subjects; but important ones.  If you are lucky the two areas overlap.

  3. At our exhibition you can find out how knitting may help with feelings of anxiety and how the sound of knitting needles clattering is soothing.


  4. Find out what mindfulness looks and feels like and try out the electronic interactive digital artwork that aims to demonstrate that peaceful place that being mindful can access. And what has all that got to do with the Gosport Ferry?  Watch the tide falling under Forton Bridge, Gosport, in real time.
  5. How did women manage to serve in the 18th Century Navy disguised as men?

    PAM 5

  6. See work exploring geometric patterns and the visualisation process for neurological sciences.
  7. What do our treasured possessions say about us?  Why do we keep them and feel their significance?  Why do we hold on to physical memories?
  8. Learn more about the stigma of mental illness, especially anxiety – and what is inside the tent?!
  9. There will be the opportunity to win some art by the artists, to buy many of the pieces on display and additional work that each artist will be bringing along. Plus you will have the chance to meet the artists and to quiz them about their work.
  10. Sadly this is the last MA Fine Art show in Portsmouth so it really is a one off opportunity to come along and challenge your thoughts about what a fine art exhibition is like.    What have you got to lose?!


At the very least it’s worth it to see our amazing location within the fabulous Action Stations (first floor), Portsmouth Historic Dockyard from August 20th to September 2nd 10am – 5pm and admission is free.

There is also an exhibit at Eldon Art Building, University of Portsmouth – more details to follow.

Some work explores an adult theme and is not suitable for children.

If you would like to attend the opening night (Friday 19th August) you can book your free tickets here: