Wivenhoe Bookshop Magazine & Newsletter | Thursday 21 September 2023

April 2017 – Ella Johnston

‘Lapwing’ by Ella Johnston

‘Family Portraits’

Watercolour and Ink Drawings by Ella Johnston

Ella Johnston is an artist based in the East Anglian countryside. Her artistic practice reflects a long-standing interest in nature and the visceral relationship humans have with plants and animals.

Ella’s drawings examine birds that appear throughout the UK including more exotic examples that we keep as pets. Her work explores the personal bonds and life stories that we build through our encounters with such creatures.

Inspired by classic botanical and avian illustrative prints of the 19th Century, Ella’s pieces hope to act as portraits of the individual subject. The white background decontextualises the birds and aims to emphasize and focus the viewer’s attention on decorative, sensual elements of the creature itself – giving each piece harmony and rhythm while allowing the spectator to scrutinize, deconstruct and interact with the animal. The execution of the drawings also hopes to recall both anatomical studies and romantic painting, evoking a sense of exploration and investigation and highlighting the ephemerality and fragility of nature under threat from the world it inhabits.

‘Pigeon’ by Ella Johnston

Ella trained in art and the history of art at Chelsea College of Art and the University of Essex. Her drawings have been shown in London and across the South East over the past 17 years. Recent illustrations have appeared in magazines including Homemaker, Firewords Quarterly and The Eighty-Eight. Ella is a co-founder of Dunlin Press. You can see more of her work at ellajohnston.wordpress.com.

Ella’s exhibition is on show until 30th April.