Kay Spare | Biography

Kay Spare studied Art and Education at Goldsmiths' College, London (1979-83). She then taught art to 11-19 year old children in London's East End for ten years. Following the birth of her own two sons nearly 30 years ago, she went into partnership with her husband and fellow artist, Richard Spare. Together they set up Wellington Studio in Charlton, London, where he follows his passion for printmaking and she follows hers for painting.

Themes are primarily from landscape and also from the figure, a discipline instilled whilst at college, where her models were dancers from the Laban Centre, which was then based at Goldsmiths’.

Two solo exhibitions entitled ‘A New Landscape’ were influenced by holidays in Tuscany and the South of France, where the sheer joy of the colours, textures and patterns of the landscape inspired her work. 

The shows were held at the St Martin’s Gallery, St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, and at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead, in collaboration with poet John Powls www.promiselandpoetry.co.uk .   This followed a previous collaboration in 1998, when her black and white figure drawings were used by John to illustrate his book of poetry, ‘Galerie D’Amour’ www.promiselandpoetry.co.uk/inspirations/the-muse/

More recently, Kay has gone on to write and illustrate three children's books which are published on Amazon Kindle: ‘Mrs Timms Ten Cats’, ‘Roll Up Master Prickles’ and ‘Mooncat’.

Kay was a prize-winner in the 2007 Dulwich Picture Gallery ‘Portraits of Children’ competition, judged by Humphrey Ocean RA.

She has work held in the collection of Trevelyan College, University of Durham, following ‘Colour & Line’, a joint show with Richard, as well as at Kings College Hospital, London, where five of her large watercolour and mixed media paintings are on permanent display.

Frequent trips to Brittany have resulted in a new collection of watercolours and oils featuring seascapes and harbours. The western sky seen over the sea holds particular fascination for Kay; the endlessly changing colours remain an enduring source of inspiration, resulting in the rich oil paintings which can be seen on her 'New Work' page.

Recent exhibitions

  • 2016

    • July 2016, 5 large paintings accepted for permanent display in the Kings College Hospital collection, London. Road Up the Hill mixed media, Poppy Jug mixed media, Tansy mixed media, Antherium watercolour and Lilies watercolour.
  • 2014

    • 'Mooncat' A picture ebook for young children, written and illustrated by Kay, published on Kindle April 2014...Mooncat is wild at heart. She revels in nature; running with the wind and chasing leaves, playing in meadows and basking in the sun. Eventually, however, the seasons change and as a chill creeps into the air, Mooncat’s friends seek their burrows and nests and soon she is left all alone. On a clear, freezing night she cries to the moon, wishing for help, which arrives in the form of Mr Fox who knows his neighbourhood well enough to make two wishes come true.
  • 2013

    • 'Erquy Fishing Boat', one of Kay's Brittany paintings was selected for 'Not the Royal Academy', Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, The Cut, Waterloo, June 10th to August 17th 2013.
    • 'Mrs Timm's Ten Cats' written and illustrated by Kay published on Kindle August 2013.
    • ‘Roll Up Master Prickles!’ A picture ebook for young children, written and illustrated by Kay, inspired by Richard’s drypoints, published on Kindle November 2013.
  • 2012

    • 'Skirting the Storm' selected for ‘Not the Royal Academy’, Llewellyn Alexander Fine Paintings, 7 June – 18 August. 124 – 126, The Cut, Waterloo, London.
  • 2011

    • JAGS Art Fair, Dulwich, London.
  • 2010

    • JAGS Art Fair, Dulwich, London.
  • 2009

    • JAGS Art Fair, Dulwich, London.
    • ‘Not the Royal Academy’, Llewellyn Alexander Fine Paintings, 8 June – 22 August 2009. 124 – 126, The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LN (Opposite the Old Vic Theatre).
  • 2007

    • Trevelyan College, University of Durham, ‘Colour & Line’, joint show.
    • Prize winner, Dulwich Picture Gallery 'Children's Portrait Competition', judged by Humphrey Ocean RA.
  • 2006

    • ‘Not the Royal Academy’, Llewellyn Alexander Fine Paintings.
  • 2005

    • Wildwood Gallery, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Mixed Spring Show.
    • Pyramid Gallery, 43 Stonegate, York.
    • Not the Royal Academy 2005, Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London.
    • Bianco Nero Gallery, Stokesley, N. Yorks, 'Animals' show.
  • 2004

    • Royal College of Art ‘Art on Paper Fair’, with Anna Mei Chadwick.
    • Black Swan Arts Open Exhibition, Frome, Somerset. 21 Feb – 20 March.
    • Dulwich Art Fair and Affordable Art Fair Bristol, with Enid Lawson Gallery.
  • 2003

    • 'Art on Paper Fair', Royal College of Art, London (with Anna Mei Chadwick).
    • Examples of work can be seen at Attendi Gallery, Chiswick.
    • Not the Royal Academy 2003, Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London.
    • Wyards South East Open Print Exhibition 2003.
    • Christmas Open Studio, at home in Catford.
  • 2002

    • 'Art on Paper Fair', Royal College of Art, London (with Anna Mei Chadwick).
    • 'Colour and Line', Broxbourne Civic Hall, Hertfordshire (joint show with Richard Spare).
    • Colour and Line joint show with husband Richard Art in Action Gallery, Waterperry, Oxford.
    • Not The Royal Academy 2002, Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London.
    • Joint shows with husband Richard, CCA Galleries London and CCA Galleries Farnham.
  • 2001

    • 'Not the Royal Academy 2001', Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London.
    • Art on Paper Fair, The Royal College of Art (with Anna Mei Chadwick).
    • 'A New Landscape', St Martin's Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London (in collaboration with poet John Powls).
    • 'A New Landscape', Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead (in collaboration with poet John Powls).