A visit to Tessa’s studio, with everything meticulously laid out and with its massive printing press in one corner makes one aware that here is a really serious artist.
She started by enthusiastically telling me about a visit to Norfolk she had made a few days previously showing me her sketchbook and the simple , clean lines she had made in pencil to capture the mood of a wide-open windswept sky. This she had backed up in the studio with a series of studies using paint and stone-toned paper to capture the essence of her experience before taking this further into a large landscape painting which she had just completed.
Tessa has always loved Art and after accepting her mother’s dictum that she needed a qualification that could “earn her a living” – which had then meant secretarial training – she finally prevailed on her parents to let her go off to Bournemouth Municipal College of Art in 1955 for three years. There she specialised in painting and pottery and was encouraged by the teaching of John Liddell. She then spent a further year at the college to obtain an Art Teaching Degree and embarked on a career as an Art teacher in maintained secondary schools. This is no easy option and dealing with those who think Art is not for them can be as they say, challenging. John Liddell however kept in touch with his former students and organised an annual one week course for them which Tessa found inspiring. Finally she ended her teaching career at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College which she loved being a member of a large department teaching students who had chosen Art A level and acting as a Senior Tutor.
Again John Liddell was an influence for he founded the Poole Print Makers which Tessa told me remains a place of inspiration and a centre with excellent equipment for young artists who do not have their own press. At 55 Tessa was able to retire from full-time teaching and while living with her husband on the Isle of Wight she spent time teaching adults such as at the Key Art Centre and at Poole Print Makers. She also ran a life drawing class. On the death of her husband she moved to West Stour nine years ago and has become a pillar of Bruton Art Society where her work is much appreciated. Tessa paints in oils, continues with life drawing and specialises in producing large often multi-coloured lino-cuts of amazing subtlety and precision as I hope these illustrations show.
Tessa has previously exhibited at the following locations: Bankside Gallery – London, West of England Royal Academy – Bristol , Poole Printmakers – Poole, Guggleton Gallery – Stalbridge, Shaftesbury Arts Centre – Shaftesbury, Laurence Mitchell Gallery – Isle Of Wight, Dorset Art Weeks (DAWS) – Dorset and of course at the exhibitions of Bruton Art Society.