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, 13 June 2016

Colours of the Sea

Last year on a beautiful sunny day I had a coffee at the Turks Head on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly looking out over incredibly the beautiful aquamarines and blues of the sea. I had my watercolours and camera with me to record the colours and the scene. Fast forward nearly a year to my studio and the inspiration for a silk scarf.
I used Kniazef French dyes that give beautiful vibrant colours on silk.

Recently I read a post by Husnah Rafeth in the Silk Painters International (SPIN) group on Facebook about steaming silk using a pressure cooker with the weights.
She has made a youtube video about this, you can see it here

I lost the weights to my 1970s vintage pressure cooker and they are no longer made so I could only use it as a steamer and I have done this for years. Silk dyes must be steamed for up to 3 hours to make them permanent. The silk must be rolled in paper or cotton so that no part of the silk touches any other part during the steaming process. A foil cover prevents drips falling on the package and spoiling the design before the colour becomes permanent. All time consuming.
I put a request on Streetlife and within hours was offered some vintage weights.

So the pressure cooker was ready to rock and roll and I was itching to make a new scarf. The other difference was that Husnah folds the silk then wraps it in muslin. I tried this and it worked well all steamed in 25 min. with no unwanted transfer of dyes. I am not sure whether this would be the case with coloured or metallic guttas. I'll do some tests first before putting them on a scarf.

This one is a longer scarf and slightly different colours.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Falesia Algarve Paintings

 Falesia and Falesia 1  Olhos d'Agua, Algarve
 acrylics by Tessa Spanton SWA (c)

Framed with a cream mount and light wood frame, approx size 18x22in

The one above will be on show at the Mall Galleries, London with the Society of Women artists July 28th-Aug 7th

These 2 paintings were done in my studio using photos I took and bringing together some of my findings from the earlier explorations and studies when there.

The colours there on a bright day and the smoothness of some of the bands of rock were amazing.

I love the orange blue pairing of complementary colours. We were going to the Algarve so because of the colours I bought W and N Desert collection of watercolours.  Watercolours are more portable and easier to use outside than acrylics so I took these watercolours.

I did several studies and experiments with these colours all done there in front of the views.
The beach is called Falesia which means cliff. The beach stretches for miles and the cliffs are the backdrop have the most stunning colours and patterns.
we stayed at the Portobay Falesia above the beach with views of the rocks and sea.


 Orange Peaks Falesia 1,2,3

Below Cliff top pines  watersoluble inks

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Secret Rose Auction

'Just Joey' silk painting by Tessa Spanton drawn on a hot sunny day in the garden at Pashley Manor, West Sussex and painted in my studio.

I have a painting in the  Secret Rose Auction If you click on the link you can see all the paintings. They will be at the Flowers Gallery, Shoreditch on the 9th June.

I painted something specially for this but not a rose. The suggested theme was medicinal plants so I went with that. My painting has had 8 bids so far.

I am enjoying trying to work out who painted which and watching as the bids come in. I am fairly sure I know which is Norman Ackroyd's and would love to know which one is Quentin Blake's work, I have an idea which it is but I am not sure.

The launch coincided with the Chelsea Flower Show and is to raise funds for the Rose Ward for children with heart and lung conditions.

Postcard sized works have been donated to the auction by 174 artists by Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George, Rose Wylie, John Keane, Neil Gaiman, and many more artists and celebrities go to support the children’s Rose Ward, and refurbish the playroom.

All works on view online at the above link and at Royal Brompton Hospital 27 May-8 June & Flowers Gallery, London E2, 9 June 6-8:30pm. Bids start at £25 The Royal Brompton is at the forefront of research, care and treatment of heart and lung conditions.

UPDATE June 10th the total raised was £27,000

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Shibori Silk Scarves, Shades of Blue

 These scarves had all been dyed using the a shibori method that involves folding the silk in different ways first. The first scarf is a large square which was folded many times to make a small square.
They are available to buy from my etsy shop (please scroll up/down to find the links on the right )

 The scarf below was folded into triangles to make the pattern.

and another square, the pattern resemble white poppies or clouds.