Teddington’s RNLI lifeboat operations manager Matt Allchurch spends a lot of time on or near the water.
And now he has compiled a stunning book with a collection of his water colour paintings entitled, ‘Coloured by Water.’
The book, which contains 92 striking images created between 1991 and 2002, including Teddington footbridge and the Flying Cloud Café, which are next to his office and architect’s business at The Boathouse in Ferry Road.
Matt is dedicating the book to St. George’s Hospital, Tooting, which he credits with saving his life in 2018 when he suffered a brain haemorrhage. He hopes to raise over £5000 from the sales of his books, which would make a perfect Xmas gift.
Matt has written a foreword to the book which gives the background to its compilation as well as thanking those medical staff who supported him.
Part of it reads:
‘Everyone has a book inside them,’ Christopher Hitchens once famously said. He also then added, ‘which is exactly where it should, I think, in most cases, remain.’
“ I hadn’t read this second bit before starting on this book. A schoolboy error. And, as I am no wordsmith, this is a book of pictures.
“ For over 30 years, I have carried a sketch pad, and produced somewhere in the region of 1500 sketches. It amounts to a pictorial diary of sorts. The selection on these pages takes you from the Dolomites to Durdle Door, Lyme Regis to La Toura, Venice to Ventnor.
“As you’ll see, they’re mostly landscapes, very often sea or waterscapes, sometimes townscapes – and almost always helped along by a cold beer or a glass of rosé.
“I’ve come to realise just how much ‘water’ has coloured my life.
“Growing up on the south coast, I inherited a love of boats and fishing from my father. I also had a lifeboatman for an uncle, and have sailed ‘short-handed’ across some stunning stretches of ocean. And the river too has its magic. Arriving at a pub by boat with a sketchpad… it doesn’t get much better than that!
“As for these sketches, I don’t think of them as ‘art’. For me, they’re just a way to capture a moment in time… all of them created in 10 – 15 minutes en plein air. So there’s a certain immediacy to them, with tell-tale signs of the local conditions – the heat and the cold, the rain and the hail, and even the Scottish midges!
“All profits from this sketchbook are to be donated to Neuro Services at St George’s Hospital Charity; they saved my life in November 2018.
“y thanks also go to Sarah Levine, Paul Warrington, Jonathan Hughes and to two medics in particular: Dr Neil Browning, my local GP at Hampton Wick surgery who wrote a letter to Kingston A&E, saying that I looked ill and needed a brain scan – and my neurosurgeon at St George’s, Samantha Hettige.
“One of my big worries after my brain operation was whether I could still sketch. I would have actually been happy if my style had become more abstract. And even though my eyesight was initially badly affected, my style remains broadly the same.”
The book will be launched on Wednesday, November 22nd at The Boathouse Design Studio at Teddington Lock at 6pm. Those interested in buying a copy of the book are asked to make a donation between £30 and £50 to support St George’s Hospital.