Christie Bird was born in 1970 in the British Virgin Islands. After attending the School of The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Christie moved to London to work as a muralist and set painter. She now paints full time from her home near the sea in Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight. Christie’s gesso-based still lifes are influenced by the shingle beach and fields of wildflowers nearby, but perhaps the light and colours of her childhood on Tortola remain her most important influence.
Christie’s most recent work, her Fruitbowl series, started during lockdown when she was drawn back to her Tropical roots. The calamity brought on feelings of childhood nostalgia, and memories of her mother’s kitchen. Painting these subjects was a great source of comfort.
Born in the British Virgin Islands, Christie travelled to London to work as a muralist and set painter and this discipline continues to influence her now more intimate paintings. Her still-lives celebrate the everyday rituals and settings of her home, but depicted with broad areas of chalky, flattened colour and perspective – observing the essential shapes and patterns of design. She uses a limited, muted palette influenced by the colours of the nearby coastline. Painting near the sea is a constant inspiration not only for colour but also texture. While celebrating the intimate and every day her work has echoes of narrative, the chair is empty the objects seem to hang in the air reflecting a departed presence. She relies on memory, instinct, observation and numerous sketchbooks.
Incorporating favourite objects into her still lifes, Christie rejoices in the relationships and spaces made by these forms and the compositions they create on the flat plane of the table. Her colours are influenced by the view from her studio: greys, whites and blues of the seas, skies and chalky cliffs. The texture of her work is built up by scratching, sanding and painting and reflects the smooth, porous pebbles and bleached shells of the bay where she lives.
She is an associate member of the Royal Watercolour Society and won the RWS and David Gluck Award 2017. She is a regular exhibitor at the RWS contemporary watercolour exhibition and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. She has also been selected for the Sunday Times Watercolour exhibition and has shown in London, Winchester, St Ives and the Isle of Wight. Christie’s most recent work, her Fruitbowl series, started during lockdown when she was drawn back to her Tropical roots when the calamity brought on feelings of childhood nostalgia, and memories of her mother’s kitchen. She has found painting them has been a great source of comfort.