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

Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Language of Flowers

Yesterday a long awaited letter plopped through my letterbox bringing news that I have had 3 silk paintings accepted for 'The Language of Flowers', the annual exhibition
of the Society of Botanical Artists. I feel honoured as my flower paintings are not botanical.
The painting above is a Tropical Waterlily 22x26 in. It is is a gold frame and the window of the mount is edged with gold fillet.
The other paintings are Stargazer Lilies and Iris Ensata. In the traditional language of flowers iris means friendship.

' The Language of Flowers'  Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists

The exhibition will be held at Westminster Central Hall, London.
Dates: Friday, 12 April to Sunday, 21 April 2013
Opening times: Daily from 11am to 5pm including Sundays
Free admission     All work for Sale

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Flamingo on Silk

'Flamingo' Silk painting (c) Tessa Spanton
Maybe I should rename this painting 'Female Flamingo applying Make up'
Prints and cards of this painting are available too.

It's that time of year when I start to send paintings off to exhibitions and this flamingo has just flown off to the Wow Gallery. I went to visit the garden at Chestnut Lodge Cobham one summer and took lots of photos of the flamingos on the lake there. I have also seen them wild in the Camargue in the south of France.
Some were standing around on one leg, some wading around together and from time to time seemed to be getting into arguments with each other. I was fascinated by the shapes they made and in particular this bird preening itself. The striking coral pink colour is derived from shrimps that they filter from the water to feed on. While writing this post I have discovered more abaout preening hence the alternative title at the top!
The birds spend a lot of time preening their feathers to keep them in good condition and to enhance the colour by rubbing their feathers with a wax that contains carotinoids. This comes from the preen gland. Females have been observed to apply the 'make up'  more often than the males.  more here

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park

Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park   watercolour 11x14 (c) Tessa Spanton

This painting was commissioned as a wedding present. The proposal had taken place in the Isabella plantation and the couple are shown in the painting.
I have painted in this beautiful place and taken may photos there over the years. I first discovered it when I was teaching at White Lodge in Richmond Park. (The Royal Ballet school's lower school.)

In April and May bluebells, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons put on a splendid show. Candelabra primulas grow by the streams and there are wafts of scent from some of the azaleas.

When I did the painting the bright colours had gone and the trees were bare. I went there to watch people strolling along the paths to help with placing the figures in the painting.
It was a pleasure doing a painting of this lovely place to mark such an important milestone in this couple's life.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Painting Snow, Leisure Painter Magazine

Snow on Headley Heath  (c) Tessa Spanton
 watercolour  14x11in

Headley Heath is fairly local to me and is one of my favourite places to visit for landscape painting. 
It was a favourite of our dog too for picking up big sticks to carry, blackberrying fetching her ball and chasing but never catching rabbits.
There are little hills and valleys and glimpses to the North Downs, silver birch trees, gorse, heather in season, highland cattle and small ponds sometimes frozen in the winter.

You can see some of my paintings  here

The painting above is in this month's Leisure Painter magazine as the  subject of a step by step demo that I wrote. 'Quick tips for painting snow.' I like to see the colours in freshly fallen snow on a sunlit day but as for slushy suburban snow the sooner it melts the better.

March issue published on Feb 1st and also available as a digital version. from here