Tessa Pearson is a Surrey based painter, printmaker and tutor. After studying Printed Textile Design at UCA Farnham, Tessa went on to the Royal College of Art where she won the Courtaulds Prize. Courtaulds was a UK manufacturer of fabric and clothing and Tessa was commissioned to produce a collection of printed silks for Liberty of London. After opening her own print studio and gallery in London Tessa succeeded in selling her hand painted silks to a world market.
Since 2000 Tessa Pearson’s practice has focused on paintings and prints on paper. Her bold abstract monoprints and mixed media paintings burst with colour. Tessa creates highly textured pieces by layering coloured inks and later adding collage, hand painting and laser cut woodblock prints.
Tessa has also lectured in textiles at St Martins, Loughborough, UCA Farnham and London College of Fashion and is a regular tutor at Ochre Print Studios. Tessa will be running art courses and summer workshops from her studio this summer. Classes will include watercolour, mixed media painting and simple printmaking.
“Tessa’s workshops are brilliant. They are well structured, supportive and Tessa always encourages you to reach your full potential. But best of all they always give you the feel good factor. It is a fantastic way to relax and you’ll come away with a great sense of achievement.”
Three words say Tessa Pearson to me: bold, bright and beautiful.
What Inspires Tessa Pearson?
Tessa Pearson feeds her passion for colour and pattern with travels to Africa and Europe and with the landscapes, closer to home, of the Surrey Hills. Landscapes and gardens provide endless material and Tessa often works on a series of pieces centred around one sketch or idea. Tessa’s use of vivid colour and bold mark making form her signature style.
Tessa Pearson was nominated Surrey Artist of the Year 2012 – 2013 and recently held a solo show of work at the New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham. Tessa is also the Chairman of the Fountain Gallery in Hampton Court, a member of the Surrey Artists Open Studios (SAOS) and is actively involved with Ochre Print Studios and i-contemporary. In fact Tessa Pearson’s aliums are everywhere this summer on the SAOS Open Studios brochure.
Pullingers caught up with Tessa Pearson as she was preparing for the Surrey Artists Open Studios summer event.
Which Living Artist Would You Like To Have A Drink With?
I fell in love with Gillian Ayers woodblock prints recently, and would love to talk to her about her work, especially her print named Tremanheere which is a wonderful sculpture garden near Penzance where I will be showing some work too this summer.
And Which Non-Living Artist?
Has to be Matisse – he is the master of colour and the exhibition of his cut-outs at the Tate is absolutely wonderful.
How Would You Describe Your Work?
Bold colourful abstracts inspired by colour and pattern in gardens and landscape.
If You Could Show Your Work Anywhere, On Anything Where Would It Be?
One of my great heroes is Marimekko, and I would love to do a collection of prints for their wonderful fabrics.
What’s In Your Art Kit?
Apart from my printing inks and so on, I use all sorts of watercolour media and currently love the Derwent Inktense range and Sennelier oil pastels.
How Did Winning Surrey Artist Of The Year 2012 Affect Your York?
I was so pleased that people voted for my work as abstracts are usually less popular, and it gave me lots of confidence to keep making work in my own way.
Which Sketchbooks Do You Use & Why?
I have several on the go at any time, but particularly like the Moleskine Watercolour books – great for taking on my travels.
Is There An Art Product You Could Not Do Without?
My absolute must have is my Isabey Squirrel Mop watercolour brush – I am fanatical about them. I reckon I can do 95% of my painting with one brush, it is so versatile and such a beautiful mark maker.
Are There Any Art Materials That You Would Like To Try?
I have recently been getting very excited about Acrylic Inks, which I like to layer up with water soluble paints. I am making new screen monotypes with acrylics too, and fancy trying some of the new mediums and finishes now available.
What Are You Working On & Hoping To Achieve This Year?
I am currently in the midst of an on-going series of works based on drawings I made in a couple of wonderful gardens last summer. Gardens seems to have been a constant theme throughout my career- to me they are living paintings, ever changing and always inspirational. Sometimes one sketch can result in a whole collection of prints and paintings, and I always have more ideas than time to make them.
The most exciting thing is that I now have a large garden where we have built a huge studio which I am just about to move into, and I now am planning my dream ‘painter’s garden’ with all the plants and colours I love.
I am looking forward to resuming my programme of workshops as I love to teach and share my experience.
Are You Entering Any Open Submissions, Awards Or Art Fairs?
This year is incredibly busy for me – I have four solo shows, several Art Fairs and Open Studios. I am particularly pleased to be exhibiting internationally this year for the first time, showing at AAF Hong Kong, and having a solo show in Germany.
What Is The Best Piece Of Advice You Have Been Given?
The World won’t end if you don’t get that painting done / frames made / website updated etc. It’s a good mantra at stressful moments!
What Is Your Most Notable Achievement To Date?
A long time ago I was commissioned by Liberty’s to design a collection of prints – I stood in Regents Street outside the store and looked at whole windows full of my fabrics – but sadly I didn’t have a camera to record it!
What Would Your Dream Project Be?
My dream would be a money no object trip around the gardens of the world to draw enough to keep me going forever!
Describe Your Working Practice?
From sketches to paintings to print – I follow a logical pathway, but I do try to find time to experiment too. I work long hours in intense bursts, often late in the day (I am not a morning person!)
Do You Have Any Tips / Techniques?
Top tip – which many have said, but I repeat – if you work on paper, think about your frame sizes! It took me quite a while to stop making random size paintings which I never had a frame for!
Thanks to Tessa for her time and I for one would love to see the world’s gardens painted, exhibited and bound in a beautiful hardback book. The Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh being my first stop. Are there any willing patrons out there?
Where Can I See Tessa Pearson’s Artwork In The Flesh?
Tessa Pearson has opened the doors of her brand new garden studio to the public for Surrey Artists Open Studios, 7-22 June 2014. Also, you can see her work at:
Affordable Art Fair Hampstead with i-contemporary at stand F1, 12-15th June 2014.
Guildford Arts Summer Exhibition, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, 9th-24th July 2014.
Solo Show at the Fountain Gallery, Hampton Court, 14-26 October 2014.
Where Can I Buy Tessa Pearson’s Work?
You can buy Tessa Pearson’s artwork from the foolowing places:
Has Tessa Pearson’s work made you feel inspired to pick up that brush and get painting?
Get your Art Supplies From Pullingers Art Shop! We sell Derwent Inktense Pencils & Blocks, Sennelier Oil Pastels, a large range of Moleskine Sketchbooks, Isabey Watercolour Brushes & More! We also stock Liquitex, Golden & Winsor & Newton Acrylic Paints and new and exciting Acrylic Mediums that alter the way you can use acrylic paint!