Tessa Spanton SWA Artist, tutor, writer


Welcome to my blog.
This is where I write about some of the things that inspire my work,
news of exhibitions and works in progress

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Watercolour Textiles Paint a Silk Scarf

Above, silk scarf hand painted using wet in wet techniques and embellished with gold.

I will be tutoring this day workshop at The Watts Gallery Artists Village at Compton near Guildford Surrey. The workshop coincides with an exhibition of Helen Allingham watercolours and includes a short talk and tour of the exhibition.

Watercolour Textiles paint a silk scarf
Watts Gallery
Friday 9 February10.30am - 4.30pm
£75 including materials
Learn the art of silk painting. Paint onto damp silk and watch the colours flow and blend. Explore the different effects which can be achieved as the silk dries by adding salt or some cut out shapes onto the silk.
The silk can be embellished with metallic gutta ( see image above) or embroidery. Leave the workshop wearing your new silk scarf!
No drawing skills or previous experience of silk painting required.
Book here

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Journey with a Handmade Book part 2

The book has now been with me approx 3000 miles, to Madeira and back.
It is small and light to carry with just a pencil and rubber and protected by a cellophne sleeve. It came with me to the beach, the cliffs, the mountains and the gardens. I used cobalt blue watercolour and a blue ink pen. I mostly drew in the book with pencil on location then painted them later back at the room. I built up the blue washes first and added the pen last as the ink is not waterproof.

I am finding it a good way of getting into daily painting. They don't take long and the process generates new ideas. 

al images (c) Tessa Spanton

 From the balcony overlooking the subtropical gardens of Vila Porto Mare

Reids Palace Hotel, Madeira

 above Sao Vicente on the North coast of Madeira, where dramatic waves roll in over rocks and black sand.

above  views from Ponta de São Lourenço

some flowers from the beautiful sutropical gardens at Vila Porto Mare

More to come in part 3.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Journey with a Hand made Book, Beginnings

This lovely handmade book was a gift to me from my friend Elizabeth. It was handmade by Angela, another friend. Details below.
We went to Angela's Open Studio and Elizabeth bought one for herself and one for me. We were both inspired by seeing a series of work that Angela did, one a day for a year. Angela used a  3 cm viewfinder to find shapes and compositions from everyday items around her.
We decided we would both do something similar.

                                          9x17cm approx

  The book is a thing of beauty. The paper has a lovely feel. I like the blue etching and the authentic feel of the indent on the paper. The choice of colours is the same as those of a handmade Japanese hand bag I was given some years ago by Mayumi, a Japanese friend.

It was a bit daunting to start. The blank paper syndrome writ large!
I usually work loose leaf. I decided to start with the 3 cm size and chose to work with blue. It will be an exploration warts and all.

Below are the things I needed to start. The roll of sellotape was still on the table from wrapping Christmas presents. I liked the curve of the roll against the edge of the book itself so that made the first drawing. Part of the book inside the book. I tried it out on loose paper first.

                          Pen with dark blue ink.

This morning I have made a start on the second page. I was at the table stitching a hand painted silk necklace. So I used the viewfinder on the reel of thread.

The pencil felt very different on the paper than the pen did. I think the paper is calling for some watercolour.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Orchid and Hummingbird

A few weeks ago I was commisioned to do a painting of an orchid with a hummingbird in a landscape. I have drawn and painted orchids many times before so hada drawing I could use. I have some of my own photos of hummingbirds but the client wanted a particular one. It's the Annabelle hummingbird and has a pinkish collar. I was able to find some copyright photos from Pixabay for reference for this bird and created a composition from the different elements.
I framed it in a light wood frame and antique white mount.
It had to be ready before Christmas so I guess it was a Christmas present.
It was arranged through the corner Gallery and I heard that the client is pleased with it. Its always a relief to hear that when its a commission.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Christmas at Honeywood, Carshalton, Surrey

Image may contain: text

Carshalton Artists Open Studios
I will be share a space with John Stillman, Abel Kestevan and Helena Vaughan  . there will be another space there with 4 others.

I will bring cards prints, small paintings and silk scarves to sell.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Just a Card Day Sept 28th

JUST A CARD is a  campaign to encourage support for independent shops, galleries, artists, makers and designers. All sales however small even 'just a card' all add up and are valued and vital. 
For more information click here or search online  using #justacard

I have several hand made things that I have bought from artists and craft people over the years, from beautiful lamp work beads, hot glass pieces, ceramics, enameled jewellery, a hand painted silk scarf, a hand woven silk scarf, wood turned items, hand made cards, patchwork etc......
Sometimes they are things that I have dabbled with making such as a hot glass paper weight,  and come to realise how much skill and time goes into the making.
The prices may be higher than mass produced items but given the time and passion that goes into the creation of the work, infinitely more precious to me.

I paint in most media but particularly love the quality of colour that can be achieved when painting on silk. The silk fibres act like mini prisms that refract the light and give silk its petal like sheen. The colours are so vibrant, ideal for flowers and seascapes. I love flowers and paint some of them that I grown in my garden.

Below are some of the cards I have had printed from my original paintings. Some are available to buy from my folksy shop. If you would like to have a look please click here or contact me via Facebook here

I also make hand painted silk scarves which can be seen on instagram here and run workshops on painting/dying silk scarves.  

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

My Felted Garden

                 My felted garden

I have had a break from painting and created some felt flowers. they could be used as a corsage or decoration for a hat or bag. Some of them were done in the garden during some lovely warm Summer days and I enjoyed experimenting with different techniques and ideas. Today as I write this post it is very rainy and grey but the flowers are a reminder of sunshine. The sunflower below is needle felted

This tulip is wet felted

This flower is wet felted and has 3 layers of petals. Gold thread was included in the top layer. I prefer the flowers to be less realistic and to experiment more with colours and textures.

This has one layer of petals and some eyelash yarn.

Also in the top photo is a needle felted water lily and almost hidden by the others a little flower with sparkly Angelina fibres.