Island Chaffinches
By Kittie Jones

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Year
2013
Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Animals
Reg. Number
G1506
Size
37.5 x 38.5 cm

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Kittie Jones has made several pieces of work inspired by Chaffinches. These birds are instantly recognisable yet the artist shows us how exotic they really are. In 'Why I Depict Birds in My Work' she writes, 'Through my work I seek to celebrate the everyday and in return the everyday always surprises and delights me... I regularly stop to watch a pied wagtail flying overhead or a thrush sitting at the top of a tree singing into the dusk, or one of the many other creatures who I share the world with, many of which I would have previously walked by without noticing'. Here diagonals are used in a dynamic composition with two birds facing in different directions against a long curve of grass. There is an impression of machair richly patterned with an abundance of flowers; these appear to be clover. The vibrancy and warmth of colour in this print is striking. Blocks of intense, strong colour which seem more opaque contrast with ink layers of varying transparency. The hand drawn marks of the original sketch have been reproduced creating soft, rich textures. This print is number 4 from a series of 25.

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