Born in the English county of Cumbria, she has been drawing and painting since her school days in the Lake District.
After taking a degree at Manchester University in social science and administration, she joined the Manchester Probation service, with whom she worked until the birth of her daughter. In 1974 she settled in Munich with her daughter and first husband. In 1993, she moved to Cornwall with her second husband where they ran a guest house for eleven years. When retired they came to live permanently in Lunas.
Tess began to paint seriously as an antidote to her work as an inner city probation officer for the Bavarian Ministry of Justice. Since 1993, her life has changed in many ways, and her work has evolved with these changes.
Whilst living in Cornwall, Tess was actively involved in setting up a cooperative of artists on the Lizard peninsula, and eventually founded a cooperative gallery with this group. For a long time, she painted and drew women, trying to capture their strengths and vulnerabilities, their ability to survive. More recently, her work has increasingly focused on both figurative and abstract interpretation of the landscapes in which she lives, trying to represent what she sees in simple shapes and vibrant colour.
After painting in Tuscany in 2013 with her close friend, the artist Martin Grimshaw, Tess developed a new way of approaching her work, which involved using her hands, instead of a brush. She works mostly with mixed media, oil paint, pastel, charcoal and acrylic. She also works with house paint and oil bars.
After studying at Chelsea School of Art, and a successful career as a commissioning editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson in London, Alex has now been a professional painter for over 25 years and moved to the Languedoc in 2003.
Landscapes and colour have always been her abiding passions, and she enjoys working “en plein air”:
“I hope that, looking at my paintings, you may be pleasurably disconcerted, especially by the collages. For me each landscape raises questions such as: Who has worked this land, who has planted and pruned the vines, who fashioned what we now see? Who laughed, loved, toiled, died beneath this sky?”
Her work often teases the eye - reality is fragmented, ambiguous, there is tension and a moment of uncertainty. Above all, she hopes her work evokes the joy of living in the Languedoc.
Alex took part in 17 exhibitions (13 as a single exhibitor).
Her works are to be found in public and private collections around the world.
"After finishing my art degree in Australia I taught art to children in schools and adults in Australian technical and further education colleges for 15 years. From 1991 to my retirement in 2002 I taught painting and drawing as well as A level art at Adult
Education Education establishments in England.
Over the past thirty years I have had solo and joint exhibitions in Australia, UK and France. Because of deteriorating eyesight it has become difficult to continue with life drawing and working in the landscape for very long. However, under a strong light I am able to work in my studio and have become fascinated with the contrasts and effects that simple colour relationships can create. This new interest began by creating paintings based on sudoku puzzles, replacing the numbers with different colours or designs. The work in this exhibition also explores visual movement created within patterns. The artists whose work I love and admire and who influence me are Briget Riley, Victor Vasarely and Kunibert Fritz."
BA Art/English (Hons. 1st class)
City and Guilds Fashion, Parts 1 & 2
City and Guilds Embroidery, Parts 1& 2
Adult Education Teaching Certificate
Taught City and Guilds Embroidery and Design in Liverpool and Preston.
Gave talks and workshops throughout England and Ireland on machine embroidery techniques and ecclesiastical metal thread work.
At home in Manchester, then Southport, with three small children, what started as a hobby became my work. From 1997 until my retirement and move to France, I designed and made machine-knitted and embroidered clothes to commission, developing a way of creating strands within the knit which could be machine-embroidered to give a decorative but practical version of drawn thread work.
Always interested in making whole fabrics rather than embroidery as surface decoration, as both my knitting machine and my back got older, I started to work on a fabric which dissolves in cold water, allowing me to machine-embroider lace structures.
Inspired by the varying landscapes of the places I have lived or visited with my husband, a geologist, when invited to exhibit with the Sefton Guild of artists I designed 'hangable/wearables'. Wall hung knitted or lace panels which can also be buttoned and worn.
Making has always been a passion but a struggle for me. Nevertheless it has given me the immense good fortune to spend my life wrapped in my memories of so many wonderful places.
After my initial training in the 1980s I concentrated my energy on teaching rather than painting for myself.
Twelve years living here in the beautiful South of France has provided the time and inspiration to begin painting again. I enjoy painting landscapes. There are so many beautiful places to study.
I have exhibited in a number of local restaurants and galleries. One of my exhibitions featured our lovely local gorges. The most recent, for Art Caroux, focused on mountains and water.
I am interested in abstract painting and am now beginning to evolve landscape into abstract by combining the detail and essence of the landscape to create shape, colour, texture and space in abstract as an expression or interpretation of the mood of a landscape
External reality becomes distorted, removed or irrelevant but it continues to exist in the spirit of the painting.
In the Chinese language, the characters for 'mountain' and 'water' combine to make 'landscape'. Painting is poetry without words. I aim to create the experience of poetry in a painting and compose for each picture a unique Japanese haiku poem.
I paint in oils on linen canvas. If you would like to see more please visit my website.