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, 30 August 2010

florum Exhibition

My 7 paintings ( including the oils shown in the previous post and the Iris below )are now bubble wrapped and ready to go off to this exhibition with some Giclees and cards. The iris is another version that I have just painted like the one I showed several posts back. This is the one that I have chosen for the exhibition.


Exhibition of botanical and floral works and landscapes with flowers in various media by invited artists

11 - 18 September 2010 Open daily 10 - 5

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks TN13 3DH

The Reserve is off the main A25 and is well signposted. Follow the track past the Riding Stables and bear left when it divides. Continue as far as the Wildlife Centre where there is ample free parking.

There will be works in different media including watercolours, oils, mixed media, etchings, machine embroidery on painted silk, silk paintings, coloured pencils, jewellery etc. and different styles and subjects including botanical, floral and landscapes.
62 different artists are taking part, many of them professional artists or tutors and over recent years nearly £10000 for the work of the Wildlife centre has been raised from sales at the exhibitions.

Right next to the centre there is a garden, a bird hide with information about birds and a lake as well as more extensive walks to other lakes and hides. Ideal for a family visit or for artists wanting to work en plein air!

The visitor centre where the exhibition is shown has displays illustrating the prehistory and history of the site, the creation of the nature reserve, its habitats and the wildlife which they support.Visitors can handle all sorts of 'treasures' such as nests, feathers and thirty-thousand year old mammoth teeth.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Oil Paintings Day3

both will be framed as below

They will be varnished then go off to an exhibition in September.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Oil Paintings Day 2

Still more work to be done on them when the paint is drier.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Works in Progress Oils

I prepared the boards a few days ago with 3 coats of primer. I started to paint yesterday and I am working on these 2 paintings together.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Iris on Silk

This is my latest silk painting. The top image has been cropped as I may use a square framing format.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

'Sargent and the Sea' Paintings by John Singer Sargent

The no 38 bus stopped outside Laduree as usual, this time I tasted a blackcurrant and violet macaron. It was good though I couldn't really taste the violet. I was on my way to Sargent and the Sea at the Royal Academy, a few doors along on Piccadilly in London.

There were oils, watercolours and drawings of coastal subjects and seascapes many of them done during his summer travels.
The exhibition is in The Sackler wing of galleries on the top floor.

I have chosen some highlights, the first being a group of 3 evocative seascapes. One of these gave me the feeling I was on the sea in a boat.

En Route pour la Pêche (Setting out to fish) 1878 is a large oil painting showing a group of fisherwomen and children on the beach at Cancale in Brittany. I was drawn to this painting partly because I have been to Cancale and eaten seafood at one of the little harbourside restaurants. I spent a long time looking at it. I like the way the figures are grouped, the warm colouring and the beautiful reflections in the wet sand. Next to it was a smaller version with looser brushstrokes which had been done first. After looking at other paintings in the room I arrived at the opposite side where, like old friends, there were drawings and oil studies of some of the figures from 'Setting out to fish'. It was interesting to see how his thinking evolved as he worked on the composition. There were about 80 paintings altogether and this group interested me most.

At the end of the exhibition there was a group of watercolours of Venice. Bold, lively and painterly, they seemed to me to have been done for the sheer enjoyment of painting, several of them unsigned. One of them had been given as a wedding present to a friend and bore a lovely inscription written on the painting.
The photos show some fun sculptures in the courtyard ouside the RA.

Cakes from the window display at Laduree

Sunday, 1 August 2010

New Jewellery

1.I made the enamelled pendant recently at a workshop at Art in Action. The tutors were very good, one of them and gave us a demo and showed us some samples. Then we got to work. another tutor fired the work. I covered the copper blank with a layer of clear glass powder, this then had its first firing. While that was happening I played with ideas for the design. I chose copper wire, millfiori glass slices, glass beads and copper rings. The fired piece then had another layer of glass powder, this time blue. I wanted the copper colour to show through a thin haze of blue. Then each bit of the design had to be positioned carefully without disturbing the powder layer. It required a lot of focus but was fun to do. Then there was the second firing.
I like the way the millefiori slices changed shape when fired and look like sea urchins and the little glass beads melted to fill the copper split rings. We were offered a chain or key ring to attach it to so I wore it for the rest of the day.

2. A beaded necklace that I bought last week at the Carshalton Lavender Open days.

3. One of the dragonfly pendants that I made. This one was for the EST challenge for my Etsy shop. It is now flying on its way to California