Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tapestry of Feathers

I recently finished a second "kid friendly" print for an upcoming children's exhibition and had a lot of fun just playing around with the monotype process. I based the print on a photo I took last year of a beautiful peacock at the Honolulu Zoo. I felt it would be eye-catching and appeal to children of all ages.

The print is a monotype created with Akua Intaglio ink. After masking out the bird's body, I inked up some bubble wrap scraps to lay in a basic background texture and rolled in other areas of color directly with the brayer; unwanted areas of ink were wiped away with a cotton swab. I created the image on a sheet of plexiglass and ran it through the press each time new information was added to the plate. I also used a few found objects as stamps.

When you're up close to one of these magnificent birds, all you notice is layer upon layer of beautiful feathers. Since I couldn't resist printing some actual feathers, I sacrificed an old feather duster and printed with wild abandon. Since my goal was to create intricate, complex layers to imitate the birds plumage, the actual feathers worked well.

Periodically, I would paint directly onto the plate to add detailed elements; some of which would get lost as I overprinted textural elements. I finally reached a point where I just had to force myself to stop.

This turned out to be a good exercise and forced me to let go and embrace the process rather than the outcome. It was all about experimentation tempered with experience which ultimately yielded an interesting print.


  1. So great! An explosion of feathers. I love the energy of the print, and am delighted to have a peek at your process. That feather duster went on to a better life!! Great print, Melody.

  2. Thanks Annie. And I agree; it's a much better use for a feather duster! I think the children will like the image.