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Jackie Curtis - Four Thoughts

It's the weekend! What better time for Four Thoughts - our little interview asking four quick questions of someone we think you'd love to hear from. This week, we've been chatting to Somerset watercolour artist and printmaker Jackie Curtis, following on from our blog about the Sugar Cube Gallery. A selection of Jackie's work is currently being exhibited there and here's what we found out about the lady herself, including a secret that no-one else knows!

1. How did your exhibition at Sugar Cube come about? 

Quite simply, Twitter! Felix at Sugar Cube spotted some pictures I'd posted and thought my work would be great for the gallery. Originally the plan was for a slot in the Summer, but at very short notice a slot became available at the end of Jan, so I pulled the exhibition together in a couple of weeks. Despite the short notice, I was determined there should be a theme and so it became ‘copper gold’... with the thread of autumn colours running through the exhibition.

2. What gives you the greatest inspiration for your work? 

That's difficult to answer! All sorts and everything - sometimes something just catches my eye and it's instant inspiration and just has to be created. A tree at the end of a hedge line track I photographed on the way to Teapot Creative was in a picture 3 days later! Other things sit at the back of my mind for months, until they are finally resolved into pictures.

 At the moment, the most consistent inspiration is birds (and I have an exhibition withDonna Vale in Langport coming up called ‘Flight’). Birds make beautiful subjects for printmaking. The movement and shape in flight, alongside the detail of the feathers, their patterns and colours lend themselves perfectly to it.

3. Out of all of your pieces, which one are you the most proud of & why?

The Flock (aka the enormous woodblock). It's 90cm long, warped and maxes out me and my press when I try to print it! It was the first time I'd ever attempted anything this large. I posted the stages of creation on Twitter and just got so much encouragement and support. It took a while to get the printing right, but I'm very proud of the result (and a few have found their way to new homes!).

4. Tell us a secret about your art, or life as an artist, that no-one else knows! 

It's no secret that wherever I go I carry a camera. What's probably not really known is that I've pictures in my head that are just waiting for the right photograph to give me the detail and precision I need as a reference point to complete my idea. I'm just about to start designing a small Dunlin woodblock because I've finally captured a photo of one great mass of wings that I've been hoping for for years.

P.S. When we went to Sugar Cube we couldn't help but come away with a piece of yours called The Wrens! Can you share the story behind it? :) 

Around this time of year if you walk - first thing in the morning - down the road to Kings Sedgemoor Drain, the wrens sit on the tips of  bare branches, singing in the morning sunshine. I have some lovely photographs with beautiful detail of the feathers, which made them a great subject for a woodblock.

The format and size of the woodblock is one that I've used over the years for several prints – so there's almost a series developing. The wood itself actually came from Japan.


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