Goldcrest
By Kittie Jones

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Year
2013
Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Animals
Reg. Number
G1505
Size
37.5 x 38.5 cm

Visit artist's website

Kittie Jones is an artist who teaches at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh. Her Artist Statement says 'My screen prints allow me to combine bold saturated colour with softer, hand-drawn marks'. Here blocks of intense blue, green and pink contrast with expressive lines reproduced from the original drawing. A few lines are enough to suggest the brightness of an eye, the softness of feathers and rough, scaly twigs. These bring the bird to life by adding texture and tone. In her blog 'The Living Goldcrest' there is a photo essay describing the process of turning the sketch into the finished print.

She describes the order in which the 6 colours were printed as yellow, transparent skin pink, lime green, dark blue, orange, and finally black. In some places a darker tone has been created by printing a relatively transparent orange on top of a blue which is more opaque. The print offers a close up view of what is the smallest European bird. It almost fills the paper. One leg extends down to the bottom edge and the beak and tail touch the paper edge on either side. The composition makes use of the decorative pattern of the needles and the curve of the branches to frame the bird. It is shown in its natural habitat, in what appear to be conifer branches. This print is number 2 from an edition of 26.

Since graduating Kittie's interest in drawing directly from life and how these drawings can be developed into finished pieces has been brought into focus. Her main subject matter is nature and man's relationship with it.

"I am interested in conveying a sense of my own fascination, wonder and joy at the natural world. I am lucky enough to be passionate about my subject matter, and learning more all the time. I usually start on location, often with a hot flask and my waterproof trousers, making sketches and drawings from life. The captured moment with an animal or bird when I am out and about is my starting point for many of the pieces. The immediacy of drawing animals and birds from life means you have to work quickly and be prepared to make a lot of sketches to get the information you need. The first few drawings of any particular bird are always clumsy and then you start getting a feel for its particular shape and movement. Back in the studio I develop my sketches into paintings, drawings and prints which combine real life experience with my own imaginative perception of a scene.

The work I have donated to Art in Healthcare is part of a series of prints I've been building up since 2010. Square in format, they depict common British Birds and aim to celebrate the rich variety of species we have in Britain around us all the time. I like to make work that contains a narrative; this is helped by bringing out a sense of character and purpose in the creatures that I draw. Back in the studio I work up my drawings into designs for prints. The technique of screen printing allows me to use saturated colours and to layer colours with different levels of transparency.

My interest in birds has been developing over time – I find them both visually arresting and fascinating in terms of how they live alongside man. Their ability to remain free from man's grasp and understanding fascinates and delights me. As I learn more about the birds that live or visit Britain I become increasingly engaged with them as subject matter."

Kittie Jones is a painter and printmaker – she produces small edition screen prints, unique multi-layered monotypes, charcoal and ink wash drawings and mixed media paintings on paper. Kittie graduated from Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University in 2008. She currently works from her studio at Coburg House Studios in Leith and regularly exhibits around the UK. Kittie is a professional member of Visual Arts Scotland and in 2011 her screen print 'Night Herons' was jointly awarded the Maude Gemmell Hutcheson Prize by the Royal Scottish Academy.

Kittie Jones blog post on her working methods