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

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Silk Scarf Painting at The Watts Gallery

 Earlier I write a post about a workshop I was going to tutor at the Watts Gallery Artists' Villlage.
We had a light, spacious and well equiped studio to work in which is attached to Limnerslease house which was the Wattses' home. It is surrounded by woods and approached through a well kept garden area.
We started with a an informative tour of the Helen Allingham exhibition to get inspiration.
The scarves were worked off frame. The silk was made damp first, placed onto a sheet of polythene then the colours blended on the silk. Salt was added to some while still wet to make patterns.
We were fortified by good coffee and biscuits!
When dry some people added motifs using a small frame, outliner and more colour. Some did a second scarf.
Here are the lovely results.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Sculpture and Art at Pashley Manor Gardens

Rose Hot Chocolate    
original watercolour by Tessa Spanton (c)

Yesterday I delivered some new paintings to Pashley Manor in Sussex for the Exhibition of floral and botanical art 2018
 Open 31st March to 29th Sept Tues-Sat, Bank Holiday Mondays and special event days 10am-5pm

more details and directions here

Works by several artists are for sale from both is an on show in the cafe and shop. Exhibits are changed with the seasons. There are also cards and prints available in the shop.
I paint in the beautiful gardens there. Hot Chocolate (see above) is one of the unusual roses growing in the garden. I bought my own during the Rose Festival that takes place there every June.

The gardens at Pashley Manor provide a stunning setting to showcase both abstract and figurative sculptures.
Below are 2 of my favourites, both works by Helen Sinclair whose work I have admired at the Chelsea Flower Show

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 had a 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

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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.