The Living Goldcrest

As promised this post is about a goldcrest which is very much alive and bursting with colour – my latest addition to the British Birds screen print series in fact! Here is a photo essay of the making of the print.

First, working from sketches, I draw out the design:


Working with coloured pencils, I attempt to separate the colours into disctinctive layers:


I hand draw each separate colour layer in black on tracing paper using the original as a map. Here I have roughly lined each layer up, in the order I intend to print them, to give me an idea of how all the layers work together:


At the workshop I prepare my screen by exposing the layers photographically to create open stencils on the mesh (I’ll have to explain that another time as I didn’t take any photos of this bit). Then I mix my first colour using Lascaux acrylic paint and screen paste (which extends the drying time):


The screen gets attached to the bed, the squeegee is chosen, the ink is laid at the top of the stencil ready to be squeegee’d:


Each colour is printed onto a sheet of acetate, taped into place on the bed, before starting to print the edition. This ensures that the layer is printed in the same place on the paper each time – VERY IMPORTANT!:


And the first layer is complete, about thirty separate sheets of hand torn paper now contain the yellow layer. I constantly refer back to my drawing to ensure the colours are in keeping with the original idea:


The second layer is a transparent pinky colour, it looks strong at the moment but as other colours are added they should balance it out:


Here I am using the registration sheet to ensure the third layer, lime green, is printed in the right place:


Once the paper is in the right place, the registration sheet is flicked back and I can put the screen down and print onto each sheet of paper:


Next its time to mix the blue for the fourth layer, you can see the bit of paper in this shot where I test how the colours work together and their transparency levels:


At this stage its getting quite exciting because I may almost be finished (sometimes when all the layers are printed the image doesn’t work and I have to make a few more layers to print), here is the print with five out of six layers printed:


And here it is – the final print, 26 copies of it succesfully printed – phew!Image

Have a listen to this Tweet of the Day to hear the sound of this beautiful bird:


About flyingcreature

I'm a Cumbrian born painter and printmaker based in Scotland. My work is inspired by British nature. I studied on the Foundation Course at Leith School of Art in 2003 before going on to take the MA Fine Art degree at Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University graduating in 2008. I now make my work from my studio in Coburg House and teach drawing, painting and printmaking at Leith School of Art and around Scotland.
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2 Responses to The Living Goldcrest

  1. sjeff says:

    Hi Kittie, I’m I right in thinking you have all the layers for this print on the same screen, if so how do you register the other layers, I don’t see more than one acetate in you photos, surely you would have to move the paper or the screen to print in the same place on the bed? ….. orI’m I being really thick here 🙂 …… saw your work in the Old School Gallery, very lovely I thought.

    • Hi – thanks for your comment and glad you like my work – sorry to take a while to respond, I’ve been away drawing! Each time you print a new layer you first print it onto the acetate and then line up the paper underneath to register it each time, masking tape markers can help you to be consistent so you’re not only doing it by eye – does that make sense?! Kittie

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