Early days

I am painting an oil painting of my beloved flaments rose. I am not finding it easy. With the watercolours there I am sitting in the middle of them and with a few flicks of the brush there they are on the paper and I am ready to move onto the next sketch. With the oil painting it takes a long time and quite a bit of difficulty to transpose water colour into an oil painting. With patience I get there. However I still love it and Irene if you are reading this which I think you maybe I am hoping to finish by the end of the week. So yesterday, I was thinking, where does it all come from?


Where does it all come from? I was born in London in 1957, I came second my elder sister was born two years before. My father  (George Baker) at the time was film star in England and was signed with Pinewood Studios, he was in some great films and some horrors! One of the horrors being the original Curse of the Flies and one of the great classics, The Dambusters. Ian Flemming wanted him for James Bond, but Pinewood would not break his contract and the part went to Sean Connery, something that I think my dad regretted. Still he was in four of the Bond films!. 

My mother Julia Squire was costume and set designer, she designed the costumes of many a great movie, including the first Moulin Rouge. My Uncle Anthony was a director of air scenes, I simply can’t think of the correct description of someone who shoots air sequences for the movies! My uncle Raglan Squire an architect of renown and one of the loveliest people I ever knew, he was my favourite uncle.

My father’s youngest brother, my uncle Terry was also in the movie business and an agent. So we were sort of surrounded by creativity.  My mum even kept an old bust of Ava Gardner in the hoover cupboard, which came out when she was teaching me to make clothes. Ava it has to be said was rather slimmer than I was at 15 and her waist was padded out with cotton wool and bandages!!

I knew almost before I could speak that I wanted to paint, actually I wanted to be just like my mum, a theatre/movie/costume designer. Life got in the way and it didn’t happen. But when I was small I used to help mum with the small sets carving minature furniture out of cardboard. I loved to see the small watercolour painting for the back drop of a play.


And then go to the workshop and see the small version become HUGE. I loved back stage of the theatre, seeing all that my mum had drawn or painted being transformed into a magical reality. And as if that wasn’t good enough, my father who was also a producer and director, would dress all his actors up in my mum’s costumes. Oh my goodness what a dream. But as we all know dreams were not meant to last. Still, no bubble busrting for now, I am having too much fun remembering.


Costumes from The Rivals, although I look at these with some sadness, it wasn’t until my mother died that we found all these amazing drawings and paintings, she kept them hidden away in an old laundry box under her bed. A life left behind that she chose to hide away. Little did she know that I would be putting them up on my blog.


Yvonne de Carlo and Alec Guiness starred in The Captain’s Paradise in 1953 and we have some wonderful memories of mums costumes.

Mum taught me how to use water colours, pastels and gouache, she taught me how to love all types of art and artist. I was only 12 when she took me to see an exhibtion of Pollock and Bridget Riley. Rodin, Henry Moore. I fell in love with Turner and Matisse, Hans Hoffman, Kandinsky, Rothko and on and on. When mum stopped working in film and theatre she started to paint flowers, wild flowers, she knew all their latin names as well as their common names. I can just manage a poppy, but I think my love of painting flowers and painting outside with my sun hat on comes directly from my mum. Thank you mum.


  1. Jackie

    Clicked on your website to see you wonderful art. Had to chuckle your off to Antiqua when you live in such an awesome place.I live in Canada that is wrapped in winter now and I would never not be here for this season too. Canadians love the cold.Will continue to monitor your website now that Kristin told us about you.


    1. Tessas Painting Trips in Provence

      Hi Jackie, yes I know Antigua!! Well I have returnees and I wanted to go to other fun places. Of course there are endless places to paint and visit here and I plan on doing these trips as long as I am able.
      I don’t like the winter one bit even if it is very beautiful here. I prefer to paint outside when it is warm. thank you so much for liking my art.
      I have cousins in Canada, and having said that I prefer painting outside in the warm. I once painted by a lake in -20 I was freezing and so was the paint brush, I hardly managed to paint the painting, and as I did it crystalised it was quite an experience!


  2. Cushions

    Loved your mum, and wasn’t it her father was the poet Sir (?) John Squire? Also your dad’s mother who I met on a couple of occasions at Rousham. A great character.
    Your paintings are so beautiful, Tess. Your mum and dad would be so proud of you.xx

    Liked by 1 person

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