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Dragons Fly
Asian folding screen and curious cat
Media: Intaglio etching, chine collé (see definition tab) and colored pencil

Mixed media, etched drawing, color ink roll with assemblage/chine colle; 6 plates
Dimensions: image 24” x 14.25”; framed 33.5” x 26.5”

Background story: I don’t know why, but I have always liked dragons. I have drawn them, made wood cuts of them, painted them, and sculpted them. Some of my dragons are Medieval, others are Asian in style. In this piece my dragons are a work of whimsy mimicking dragonflies that can light on even wispy plants.

This work is a triptych inspired by the Japanese folding screen, byobu, which are usually made of paper or silk. Byobu are often used as room dividers but are esteemed for their unique art and especially for scenes from folklore, history, and nature. This piece is at once evocative of Japanese paper screens and is printed with an intricate design calling to mind heavily embroidered oriental silks.

On the farm where I grew up, we had many, many cats. They lived in the barns and outbuildings catching vermin that otherwise would eat the grain we fed our livestock. Every year there would be a new litter or two. When my father milked our cows, he would always splash fresh milk into a large tin plate and cats would come from all around to lap it up.

The black cat in this work represents a creature with magical powers—the link between the mundane world of the barnyard cat and the realm of myth and of flying dragons. The cat is made from chine collé —a papermaking technique that originated in China—and is adhered to the piece as the last stage of the print-making process. 

Amelia Island: After I moved here, I immediately recognized this as a dog lovers’ island. Then I began making friends and realized that it is also an incredibly cat friendly island. At a recent art show, a woman saw this piece and immediately identified with it because she had three black cats. This piece is right at home on Amelia Island.

Nature Facts: The branches on the screens are impressed leaves of Creeping Charlie or ground ivy. I first discovered this plant in my yard and was delighted with its lace-edged and delicate leaves. Then my husband told me it was an invasive weed. I still like its look but there is none of it in our lawn today.


Location: This artwork is online only but can be viewed by appointment at the Plantation Artists Guild and Gallery.


SHIPPING NOTE: This is a large piece!  Please contact the Gallery at for shipping costs if you are not local. (Free local delivery within 32034. Select “Pickup in Gallery“ as your shipping option.)


More about Marcia DeFalco 


Marcia’s editions are in very small, hand-pulled editions. The Artist Proof (AP) is a way for the artist to assess what has been produced on the plate and to experiment with different colors and combinations of colors before deciding on a final edition. An original print when combined with other media such as colored oil pencils, watercolors, collage, assemblage, or pen and ink is one of a kind.


What is mixed media art?

Mixed media describes artwork in which more than one medium or material has been employed. Assemblages, collages, and sculpture are three common examples of art using different media. Materials used to create mixed media art include, but are not limited to, paint, cloth, paper, wood and found objects. The first modern artwork to be considered mixed media is Pablo Picasso's 1912 collage Still Life with Chair Caning, which used paper, cloth, paint and rope.


What is a fine art print?

It is an original work of art drawn and designed by the artist. Because each print is made -- inked and pulled by hand printed usually on hand-made, acid free paper -- each is considered an original work of art produced in limited editions. Prints are graphic arts because they were among the earliest forms of mass communications. 


The richness and variety of the hand-printmaking process has always attracted fine artists. Some of the old and modern masters include Durer, Ernst, Lasansky, Goya and Picasso.


There are many forms of printmaking. Some examples include:

Monoprints, etchings (including intaglio), lithographs, linoleum or linocut, and woodcut.


What is an intaglio etching?

A metal plate is first covered with an acid-resistant ground. The original drawing is transferred to the dried ground then a needle is used to redraw the lines. After parts of the metal are exposed, it is placed in an acid bath where the initial line drawing is eaten or etched into the metal to create depressed lines. Shading, depth and additional detail are created with other techniques and through multiple submersions in the acid to etch the plate.


The final plate is individually hand-inked and rolled through a press, printing on wet paper, pulling one print at a time off the metal plate. 


What is chine colle’?

A piece of Oriental, handmade paper is pre-glued and pressed into the surface of the print as it is run by hand through a press. “Chine” is the French word for China, referring to the fact that the thin paper originally used with this technique was imported from China.


What is a lithograph?

This method of printing is based on the immiscibility of oil and water. The image is drawn with oil, fat, or wax-based substances onto the surface of a smooth plate. The surface is treated with a mixture of acid and gum Arabic, etching the portions of the plate that are not protected by the grease-based image. 


When the plate is subsequently moistened, these etched areas retain water; an oil-based ink is applied and is repelled by the water, sticking only to the original drawing. The ink is finally transferred to a blank piece of acid-free, hand-made paper, producing a print limited number of signed pieces of art. 


What is a woodcut?

The oldest form of printmaking, woodcut is a relief process in which knives and other tools are used to carve a design into the surface of a wooden block. The raised areas that remain after the block has been cut are inked and printed, while the recessed areas that are cut away do not retain ink and will remain blank in the final print.


Multiple colors are printed individually after cutting away the surface for the previous color after printing it; the paper must be perfectly registered each time; the process is repeated until the surface is devoid of the image and no more prints can be made.


What is a linocut?

Lino printing is a form of fine art printmaking where the printing plate is cut into lino. Yes, lino as in linoleum, as in the floor covering. The lino is then inked, a piece of paper placed over it, and then run through a printing press or pressure applied by hand to transfer the ink to the paper. The result, a linocut print. Because it's a smooth surface, the lino itself doesn't add texture to the print.

Dragons Fly by Marcia DeFalco

SKU: OMD3 54, 60
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