An Interview with Kirsten Jones

You have a very distinctive style and process to your paintings. How did this evolve?

I have always been fascinated by ‘history on paper’ such as letters, postcards and maps. Collage was a good way of using abandoned papers or flood damaged books. Using fragments and layering them on the canvas feels like creating a new ‘life’ for the abandoned texts. It is like writing the next chapter as they become part of a new narrative: the story of my painting.

Over the last few years I have been working on Gesso boards because of the wonderful translucent quality and smooth surface. I decide on a size in advance and start with a pure white board. When applying acrylic paint the surface almost sparkles with the colour and each brushstroke creates a new layer on the papers.

Pieces can take up to 2 years to complete and I am usually working on 2 or 3 at a time. I don’t always know how a piece will look when complete but I usually start with a colour palette that I feel is in keeping with the idea. The first thing I do after the collage stage is line up all the colours I imagine will play a part and then choose a playlist and start to paint!

How do you choose your subject matter?

It usually starts with a moment or a place. For example my current series, ‘Beach Garden’, is inspired by walks on a beach – different beaches, different times and different stories but all connected by the fantastic experience of walking along the edge of the sea. I take a sketchbook wherever I go so I record the moments that inspire me and create artworks when I return to the studio. I am also drawn to objects with a history.. so antique shops are a place of wonder. I think this stems from family collections of crockery and objects – precious things kept ‘for best’ and the joy of seeing tiny roses on a teacup as a little girl.

What do you enjoy about exhibiting your work?

White walls.. it is always fantastic to see a piece out of the studio, framed and displayed on a wall with a bit of space around it. It gives me chance to see the piece in a different way. I am also very much in love with my pieces so, if they are to find a new home, it’s lovely to meet the new owners and talk about what the work means to them. Everybody sees something different, it’s fascinating.

Are you scared of criticism?

Not at all.. people are at the heart of my work and I love the fact we are all so different and have different views. I also spend such a long time creating pieces there are things you stop seeing so another perspective is always useful.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I love what I am doing and my busy and varied plans. This year I hope to continue the Beach Garden series as well as a new piece which I won’t mention here. I tend to keep my themes and ideas secret until they become paintings.. but watch this space!