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It's a bird's life

Posted by on in Life at Tranquil Otter
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Through the colder winter months, when I would sit inside of an evening and watch Leah curled up on her blanket in her favourite spot by the door, I used to think ‘A Dog’s Life’ maybe wasn’t that bad.

Now that we’ve been spending more and more time sitting outside, enjoying watching nature unfold in front of us and, I don’t know if it’s the same where you are, but the bird life this early summer has been just spectacular.

The reed buntings in particular seem to be enjoying the fabulous weather as much as we are, and when I sit quietly, watching them flitting away around the lough, tending their nests and keeping the midges down, I’m start thinking that ’A Bird’s Life’ may not actually be so bad!

I don’t know about you but I just love the small birds, sparrows used to be my favourite, and I simply adored my sparrow etching by Melanie Geomans (above left) so much so that we had her create an etching of the reed bunting for Tranquil Otter guests to buy and enjoy at home. I think Melanie has captured this beautiful little bird perfectly, which can’t be easy given how rarely they stay still!

Melanie etches onto zinc using a wide range of techniques including hardground, aquatint, sugarlift, In hardground etching, a metal plate is covered with a waxy ground. The artist draws through the ground with a point, revealing the bare metal. The plate is immersed in acid, which eats into the metal where it is exposed by the drawing. These marks hold ink, which is printed onto paper in a heavy rolling press.

Aquatint creates tone by etching a random pattern of 'dots' through a ground of scattered grains of resin. Sugarlift allows the artist to paint with a solution that lifts the ground when immersed in water. It all sounds very scientific to me, but whatever the process, I think you’ll agree the finished piece is just stunning! ‘Reed Bunting at the Tranquil Otter’ – aquatint, limited run of 30, Melanie Goemans, 2013. 380 x 280 mm, strong black ink on 300 gsm ‘Somerset’ paper, £89.

Please feel free to call on 01228 576661 or email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you would like to buy one of these delightful limited edition prints. Or you can contact Melanie direct through her website