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

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Journey with a Hand made Book, Beginnings

This lovely handmade book was a gift to me from my friend Elizabeth. It was handmade by Angela, another friend. Details below.
We went to Angela's Open Studio and Elizabeth bought one for herself and one for me. We were both inspired by seeing a series of work that Angela did, one a day for a year. Angela used a  3 cm viewfinder to find shapes and compositions from everyday items around her.
We decided we would both do something similar.

                                          9x17cm approx

  The book is a thing of beauty. The paper has a lovely feel. I like the blue etching and the authentic feel of the indent on the paper. The choice of colours is the same as those of a handmade Japanese hand bag I was given some years ago by Mayumi, a Japanese friend.

It was a bit daunting to start. The blank paper syndrome writ large!
I usually work loose leaf. I decided to start with the 3 cm size and chose to work with blue. It will be an exploration warts and all.

Below are the things I needed to start. The roll of sellotape was still on the table from wrapping Christmas presents. I liked the curve of the roll against the edge of the book itself so that made the first drawing. Part of the book inside the book. I tried it out on loose paper first.

                          Pen with dark blue ink.

This morning I have made a start on the second page. I was at the table stitching a hand painted silk necklace. So I used the viewfinder on the reel of thread.

The pencil felt very different on the paper than the pen did. I think the paper is calling for some watercolour.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Orchid and Hummingbird

A few weeks ago I was commisioned to do a painting of an orchid with a hummingbird in a landscape. I have drawn and painted orchids many times before so hada drawing I could use. I have some of my own photos of hummingbirds but the client wanted a particular one. It's the Annabelle hummingbird and has a pinkish collar. I was able to find some copyright photos from Pixabay for reference for this bird and created a composition from the different elements.
I framed it in a light wood frame and antique white mount.
It had to be ready before Christmas so I guess it was a Christmas present.
It was arranged through the corner Gallery and I heard that the client is pleased with it. Its always a relief to hear that when its a commission.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Christmas at Honeywood, Carshalton, Surrey

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Carshalton Artists Open Studios
I will be share a space with John Stillman, Abel Kestevan and Helena Vaughan  . there will be another space there with 4 others.

I will bring cards prints, small paintings and silk scarves to sell.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Just a Card Day Sept 28th

JUST A CARD is a  campaign to encourage support for independent shops, galleries, artists, makers and designers. All sales however small even 'just a card' all add up and are valued and vital. 
For more information click here or search online  using #justacard

I have several hand made things that I have bought from artists and craft people over the years, from beautiful lamp work beads, hot glass pieces, ceramics, enameled jewellery, a hand painted silk scarf, a hand woven silk scarf, wood turned items, hand made cards, patchwork etc......
Sometimes they are things that I have dabbled with making such as a hot glass paper weight,  and come to realise how much skill and time goes into the making.
The prices may be higher than mass produced items but given the time and passion that goes into the creation of the work, infinitely more precious to me.

I paint in most media but particularly love the quality of colour that can be achieved when painting on silk. The silk fibres act like mini prisms that refract the light and give silk its petal like sheen. The colours are so vibrant, ideal for flowers and seascapes. I love flowers and paint some of them that I grown in my garden.

Below are some of the cards I have had printed from my original paintings. Some are available to buy from my folksy shop. If you would like to have a look please click here or contact me via Facebook here

I also make hand painted silk scarves which can be seen on instagram here and run workshops on painting/dying silk scarves.  

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

My Felted Garden

                 My felted garden

I have had a break from painting and created some felt flowers. they could be used as a corsage or decoration for a hat or bag. Some of them were done in the garden during some lovely warm Summer days and I enjoyed experimenting with different techniques and ideas. Today as I write this post it is very rainy and grey but the flowers are a reminder of sunshine. The sunflower below is needle felted

This tulip is wet felted

This flower is wet felted and has 3 layers of petals. Gold thread was included in the top layer. I prefer the flowers to be less realistic and to experiment more with colours and textures.

This has one layer of petals and some eyelash yarn.

Also in the top photo is a needle felted water lily and almost hidden by the others a little flower with sparkly Angelina fibres.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Botanical Art Exhibition at Chenies Manor

ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE after the close of the exhibition, please click
The theme for this exhibition at Chenies Manor is the Healing Power of Plants and Flowers and their relationship with medicine and other pharmaceuticals.

 All proceeds from the sale of the paintings will go towards creating a very much needed easily accessible garden for the hospital, somewhere  patients, their friends and families, and hospital staff, can escape to from the hospital wards, if only for a while.

The core of Chenies Manor dates back to 1460 and was visited by Henry 8th and Elizabeth 1st with their courts.
Opening times for the house and beautiful garden are here When open they serve afternoon teas. 

  I have a lavender themed painting in this exhibition

The Lavender Sampler (c) Tessa Spanton

The garden

Through the courtyard into the beautiful romantic garden

Some of the artworks for sale and the plan for the garden to be built at the Harefield hospital.

“A pure and intense joy, a blessing, to feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, to hear birds, to see, touch and fondle the living plants …. Some part of me came alive when I was taken into the garden, which had been starved, and died, perhaps without my knowing it.”
 Dr Oliver Sacks describing being wheeled into the garden from his hospital bed.

Cool jazz with cocktails and canapes

and a chilled out dog

 Here we are listening to a talk about the healing power of plants and their relationship with medicine and other pharmaceuticals as well as the therapeutic effects of being in a garden. I was both fascinated and inspired by this talk.

The physic garden at Chenies

A quiet corner with gentle drifts of flowers in soft colours

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Creative CAOS comes to Carshalton, Artists Open Studios

For more details visit the website here

 I will be at the Corner gallery all day on July 1st, I will have some of my original paintings, prints, and cards and will be painting there some of the time.

Gavin Mundy will be there on the same day offering to do quick portraits.

Squirrels Community Scrap Scheme will offer free workshops on both weekends to make art from recycled materials.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Silk Scarves on Instagram

I have just started using Instagram and have started by showing some new silk painted scarves that I have made.  Please click here to have a look 

I also run silk painting taster classes, private lessons or workshops.

The scarf above is hand painted and inspired by Paul Klee's painting Fire in the Evening.

The scarves below are hand dyed shibori. The silk length was twisted to make a rope twist structure before adding the colour.
One is a vibrant cobalt blue and for the other I used a black dye that makes subtle purpley greys as it travels along the damp silk.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Silk Kimono

Above the finished kimono, we all had fun modelling it.

 This kimono was made by the Surrey branch of the Guild of Silk Painters for the Guild of Silk Painters festival a few years ago. The background silk was painted on a large piece of silk then made up into a kimono and obi. The fish were painted on silk by each member of the group and appliqued to the kimono.

Details from the obi

above These are the fish I painted photographed and made into a card.

below everyone's fish ironed onto bondaweb and ready to be appliqued to the kimono.