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

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

The Elegant Writer Pen

                                             Algarve Pines

 The black Elegant Writer pen by Speedball can be bought individually or as a set of 4 from SAA
It is a calligraphy pen with a chisel shaped tip, it can also be used as a drawing pen. Its best used on a cartridge or HP watercolour paper as its a bit scratchy though still doable on NOT watercolour paper.
The ink is watersoluble so if you touch the line with a wet brush the black ink diffuses into the water making washes of aqua grey and sometimes pink. Paint just one side of the line to get the wash to flow in the direction you want. Its a bit unpredictable but fun to do. Its also very portable. All you need to sketch on location is an Elegant Writer pen, a loaded water brush and a sketchbook.
If I don't like the effect I sometimes lighten the tone by painting over with some white acrylic ink.

You can find an example of a water brush here

It's possible to do similar with Quink permanent ink and a dip pen. The colours are generated by water and are a bluish grey and ochre.

Below the pen is used dry for calligraphy.

 Pen and waterbrush  2 different versions of the Untersberg Mountain from outside Bloberger Hof near Salzburg.

                               View over Salzburg

                                           Oasts at Finchcocks Kent  (with water and some colour)

 Nonsuch Mansion this one has made the most pink.


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Working with gold and silver leaf

above 'Silver'  mixed media

 I have been working with gold and silver leaf.  the image above is a monoprint done with an oil based ink. i have worked over it with some oil pastel and silver leaf. The silver gives flashes of light depending on the angle so is tricky to photograph.

 The images below are greetings cards. I prepared some pieces of watercolour doing the edges with a deckle edged ruler. Igot some ivy leaves in from the garden. I had intended to paint the ivy leaf with watercolour but with the time available would have probably only managed 1 or 2. So instead I ironed each leaf, glued them on and coated each one with PVA glue.
Having experimented with the cards I will do some flower or leaf paintings with gold or silver leaf backgrounds.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Highland Stoneware at Lochinver and Ullapool

above mosaic sofa at Highland Stoneware click here for more details

I like their Mug of the year here the design is Mussells on a bed of seaweed. They have used
local materials, the glaze effects on each shell done by brushing layers of colour over pure Ullapool Limestone. Highlights of Ledmore Quartz (gold) painted on the shell, and Stoer Beach Sand painted on as seaweed.

Highland Stoneware is a working pottery in the Highlands of Scotland there is one at Lochinver and another at Ullapool. Outside there are some amazing and large works. Some of the pieces used are from broken or faulty pieces but some were made specially for the projects. I particularly like the boat. it is sailing on a mosaic sea with fish. The fish are fish platters that are sold in the shop.
The mosaics were designed by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably. The mosaic work was done by local people.
I like the sculptural use of things like teapot spouts, handles, lids and even half a jug.

Mosaic sofa at Lochinver with the top of Suilven in the background

above  in the car park...

 Above Mosaic boat at Ullapool

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Autumn Leaves

 Autumn Leaves  ( below) is the finished painting from my step by step tutorial published in the Nov issue of Leisure painter.

 The tutorial includes painting in layers glazing with transparent watercolours, use of masking fluid for veins as well as use of spattering, salt and clingfilm to create textures.

 It is inspired by the beautiful Autumn leaves locally.

 TIP They are lovely when freshly collected but soon shrivel up and lose their colour. I use my printer to scan or do a colour photocopy. See below.

Transparent layers of colour over yellow.

Paint splattered using an old toothbrush

masking fluid and layers of colour

The cling film is applied to the wet background wash and removed when dry or just damp.

The magazine is available from newsagents or as a back copy online  here or as a digital version from here

The cover above shows the finished painting from a watercolour landscape tutorial by Gwen Scott

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Orla Kiely at the London Fashion and Textile Museum

The London Fashion and Textile museum in Bermondsey Street seen through the window of the colourful Mary Portas charity shop opposite.

 In the main gallery there are supersized dresses of about 9 ft suspended from the ceiling, while on the walls are miniature versions of the same designs. One of them is called the Tessa dress. They are from the Autumn Winter collection.

 Upstairs there is a large array of handbags, original and creative ideas. Simple graphic motifs handled using different techniques. This collection of handbags was the part I enjoyed seeing most. I prefer pattern in small doses.

I like this fun handbag, a girl with a skipping rope that doubles up as handles. There is another where the daisies are the eyes on a face.

 A swimsuit with a repeat pattern of am image of a swimmer.

I like the pattern at the top derived from cutlery, not too obvious.

 A lovely dress handbag combo.

Misx and match doll.