NEW Forest artists, Suzan Houching, Gervase Gregory and Alan Langford are taking part in the first ever book signing event by Southampton City Art Gallery on Saturday July 16th, 10am – 12.30pm.
Visitors can meet the artists and browse their books at the gallery, situated in Southampton Civic Centre, through the same entrance as the library and on the first floor. Disabled access is provided via the lift.
The books are published in the New Forest by Little Knoll Press, and each reflects the unique life story and character of the artist, being written and illustrated by the artist, with paintings in full colour, sketches relating to the stories, their thoughts about art, local tales and anecdotes, plus some local history.
These highly visual books are called: ‘A Lifetime in Postcards’ by Gervase A Gregory;’My Story in Colour’ by Suzan Houching, and ‘WELGORA’ by Alan Langford.
Gervase Gregory is a wonderful watercolour artist who knows the Waterside and New Forest area extremely well. Through his interest in metal detecting he has found many interesting items that reflect local history, some of which are illustrated in his book: a penny of Ecgberht, King of Wessex, 802 – 839 AD, found just south of Totton; lead tokens discovered on the Solent shore with the letters ‘HA’ on one side possibly standing for Henry Adams shipbuilder of Buckler’s Hard; the cast iron wheel from a brick barrow used at an old brickworks not far from Beaulieu, and a Saxon coin found at an inlet to Southampton Water. Gervase’s book takes the reader page by page on journeys through the area – in fact quite a number of people use his book as their tour guide.
In Suzan Houching’s paintings and stories you will recognise many places in the New Forest and Dorset, but most of all her pictures are about everyday life, depicting scenes that are familiar to all of us with all their characters, oddities and idiosyncrasies.
Suzan loves bold colour and patterns. Her lively artistic style struck a cord with Hannah Gordon, who wrote in the foreword to the book, ‘Suzan seems to be one of those rare people, just as at home with a pen as with a brush. Her keen observation of life and the funny things that happen made me laugh. I found myself being immediately drawn into a wonderful, sunny world.’
Alan Langford’s book is again quite different. He has written about his first memories as a small child in a caravan park in Dibden, his fascination for the New Forest ponies and all horses, his love of drawing and how after a spell of labouring in Australia he returned to work at Fawley Refinery, going to night school to study art. Through his powerful paintings of working horses and their human owners he has gained immense respect, especially from Romany people. Alison Wilson, reviewer for the Society of Equestrian Artists, wrote, ‘His drawings and paintings have great energy and movement, but not only that, they tell the stories of people, of horses, in some cases of a vanishing lifestyle.’
Alan’s interest in equestrian art was the trigger for the ‘Nags to Thoroughbreds’ exhibition in Southampton Art Gallery in 2012 which included one of Alan’s large oils.
You can hear the artists talk about their work to Steve Harris on the BBC Radio Solent Breakfast Show by going online to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03y5wgr
(their interview is from 01:53:40 to 02:01:24). There is also video on the Radio Solent Facebook page for July 7 showing them sketching 20 minute portraits of Steve .