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

Monday, 20 December 2010

Winter White Monday Moodboard

Snow arrived early this year, transforming the landscape in the space of a couple of hours.
This brought traffic jams and trains frozen to the lines but eventually the commutors struggled home. When it snows like this, busy suburbia becomes quiet for a while. Cars are replaced by wellies and toboggans are towed along by eager children delighted to be missing school. The usually busy skies become quiet. We are on flight paths for planes and helicopters from Heathrow and Gatwick but for now we could be in the middle of the countryside.

Monday Moodboard

continuing on the theme of snow here are some of my favourites from the europeanstreetteam

Click for more information
Top left Dreamsfactory top Right NancyvdBoom
bottom left staroftheeast right Deerlola
for more Monday Moodboards visit Fleurfatale's blog here

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Feather Jewellery

I was inspired by a fascinating talk by Edel Zollinger at a recent meeting at the Guild of Silk Painters Surrey branch. We were shown some beautiful pieces of jewellery that incorporated feathers with the most intricate and beautiful embroidery.
So I bought some feathers and teamed them up with some of my jewellery findings to make earrings and a necklace. More details in my etsy shop.
They were fun to do and not something I would have otherwise thought of. I'll work on some ideas next for combining feathers with silk.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Wisley Light Trail, Icons of The Garden

Icons of the Garden - magnificent trees and a contemporary ice installation are brought alive with mesmerising lights at the RHS gardens at Wisley with a chance to warm up at the end with mulled wine and shortbread.

As I got out of the car into the dimly lit carpark I noticed a changing pattern of dapples of light projected onto the dark nightime clouds. The walk followed the route from the house to the milllenium glasshouse at the far end. I have visited this garden many times by day and at different times of the year but while still familiar the garden was transformed into the most atmospheric place. The scuptural beauty of selected trees was highlighted with coloured spotlights like the players in a ballet. The fountain played on the waterlily lake in front of the house changing through several different colours.

Ice Installation under the trees

The Millenium glasshouse changing colour and beaming lasers at the sky.

Laser patterns on the sky

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Silk Scarf Progress

Both the scarves from the previous post were steamed to fix the colours and at last I have some photos of them.

The photo below is a close up of the scarf above and shows the subtle patterning that was caused by the salt. It is now available to buy from my etsy shop

The other scarf shown below should be a richer colour which hasn't come out in the photo.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Silk scarf in progress

Salt is sprinkled onto the wet dyes and left to make some patterns while I go and have some lunch.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

My Creative Space

On Thursday morning this box arrived for me full of lovely Kniazeff silk paints. They were given to me by Rhiannon. Click on the link to see her lovely collection of fine art photos. Starrybluesky
I opened the box and felt like a kid in a sweet shop.

I have never used this make of paint before though I had heard of it. They have delicious french names like framboise and cognac and canard. I painted samples of the lovely colours onto a strip of silk and dreamt of what I might paint with them.

A few days ago I found this assortment of brooch blanks, pendants and a little pill box in the bottom of a drawer in the studio. I bought them probably more than 20 years ago! Some of them from silk painting suppliers and some for Fimo.
So here are the ingredients for my next silk painting project.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

'Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly' at the Corner Gallery

See that little door on the left? That is the way in to the Aladin's cave of a gift shop then through another door at the back of the shop to the Gallery. Follow your nose as there are lavender smellies for sale. I park my car just around the corner and smell them from there.

'Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly' features the work of several artists and started last night with a lavender themed private view. We had lavender biscuits baked at Cocoa River a few doors away and lavender tea from Marks and Sparks.
One of my silk paintings is in the window. The rest of my paintings are grouped together as shown in the third photo. The other artists' work includes some large oils on canvas, watercolours and some stunning photographs.
When I arrived with my paintings on Monday morning and saw all the paintings I wondered how Jacky would fit them all in. When I came back later in the day it looked amazing. It felt as if the walls had been stretched. The different styles of work together make a lively mix.
My silk scarves are displayed on little easels behing the paintings in the window. (photo to follow)

My paintings below range in size from tiny up to about 28x 24in. They are mostly watercolours with one oil, one acrylic and 2 silk paintings.

The exhibition is on till the end of November. There will be a demo of lavender crafts on Sat 6th and I am doing a watercolour demo on Sat 20th.

and if you should visit don't miss popping in to Cocoa River afterwards.

The gallery is only a few steps away from Carshalton Beeches station.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Work in Progress

Mayfield Lavender, Woodmansterne.

Well I've done a lot of work on these since Friday. I may still add some finishing touches before framing them for an exhibition next week.

The painting above was started earlier in the month and has just had some finishing touches. The first layer was done using FW acrylic inks. I like the way these spread and mixed on the paper creating some interesting effects. I was a bit reluctant to work to over this with acrylics but it was only intended as a base so I took the plunge. The colours from the inks glow through the painting and create an effect that I would not have got otherwise. I will use the inks again both under acrylics and as a wet loose watercolour in its own right.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday Work in Progress

Here I am working on 2 watercolour paintings of the Mayfield lavender field. I started with the skies for both then worked on the building and underpainted some shadow areas in the trees.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Green Silk Necklace

I made this necklace by painting some silk in fresh woodland greens and embellishing with gold gutta swirly lines. This is combined with gold plated beads with a floral motif, some green glass beads and a vine leaf charm.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Silk Necklace

This is my latest necklace made with hand painted silk in Autumnal colours, with beads. The necklace is adjustable and ties at the back with silk rouleau painted to match. It is colourfast.
More details here in my etsy shop

Monday, 4 October 2010

Lavender Landscapes

I have been working on these two paintings over the last few days and think they are now just about finished.
The frames and mounts are ready and waiting. They are going to an exhibition at the Denbies Wine Estate at Dorking on Thursday morning along with some other paintings.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

More Glass and one for Button Wednesday

Last week I had my second lampwork lesson and here are the results. Helen is an excellent tutor, As well as making lampwork beads and tutoring she makes wedding tiaras and jewellery, do have a look at her website here
One of the things I enjoyed doing in the first lesson was dipping the hot bead into frit (tiny coloured pieces of glass )and melting it onto the surface of the bead. This time I made swirls by prodding the hot fritted bead with a stringer and twizzling it. A stringer is like a thick wire but made of glass. Please see earlier post here.
I used the same colours to make a button. I found this very difficult to do. A mandrel with two prongs is used and the molten glass has to be positioned carefully, too near the end and the holes will close over and too far from the end and the button might not come off the mandrel when finished. It got really out of shape and the holes got nearer and nearer to the edge of the button. Helen got it back into shape for me. The side that I have photographed had frit sprinkled on. The other side which could be dipped has more frit and some of it has developed a silvery effect. I will make something special for the button probably either a journal cover or a bag.
The heart has 22k gold on clear cobalt glass and was fun to do.
The pink bead on the right is has murrine melted onto the surface. These are little slices from a glass cane that like Brighton rock has the pattern running along its length. Millefiori is glass decorated in this way. In Italian mille means a thousand and fiori means flowers. I used just 3 on the bead. I love the effect. Helen gave me some spacer beads to match.

and here is my button for Button Wednesday! More buttons here

I will photograph the other side of the button when the sun comes out.