"Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot physically see with his eyes...Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an explosion into unknown areas." ~Arshile Gorky To begin your 'stamp painting' I suggest you just choose a handful of your favorite StampStract 'images', a waterproof ink pad in black or dark grey, some scrap paper and just start stamping to play with composition and as a 'warm up'. Once you are ready to start on your painting, I highly recommend using a claybord substrate. This surface has maximum 'forgiveness' and if you stamp something you don't like, you can easliy wipe it away using a baby wipe. Remember that that this stamped, first layer is only a base and much of it may be covered up.
Start on your board by loosely stamping your composition. Keep in mind as you are working, that uneven numbers seem to work best visually and keeping the focal point a bit off center is also a good 'rule of thumb'.
Compositionally you want to strive to keep the viewers eye traveling around inside the parameters of your painting and for the eye to not be directed outward. You accomplish this through keeping the elements of design in mind: Balance, Scale, Unity and Variety, Color Emphasis, Line and Asymmetry.
Once your base layer is stamped you will want to begin painting using your choice of acrylic paints. (of course you may use any type of paint that you like and/or other mixed media such as pencils, pastels or crayons-but in this project I focus on acrylic paint.)
If you are using Claybord, be patient with the process, as it is a slick surface and may look streaky and uneven at first. I recommend building many layers and thin washes of color.
Choose your color palette and begin laying down 'blocks' of color. Again, I suggest the working in odd numbers and uneven sizes for this part of the process too.
Note that in the above photo I have laid down 3 colors in 'area swatches' of 3's or 5's. I have kept the areas asymmetrical and made sure they were not all the same scale. I continue to build upon the colors and blend the 'seams' (where the colors meet). I will also use white gesso to build opacity between layers and then wash colors over the gesso again. It is a process of putting down, taking back up and doing it all again. Sort of like a good hair washing...Rinse and Repeat!
Remember you can remove mistakes or unwanted lines using a baby wipe.
You may want to use white gesso and/or paint to go over your stamped lines to give the illusion of a more painterly look. Continue to layer and build your colors and deepen areas with darker values.
After continuing to build my layers, deepen my darker values and add highlights then begin to use your stamps as subtle texture, 'inked up' with gesso and some of the paint colors you used.....this will add interest as well as help to unify your painting.
I also like to use ink pad colors in the same family as the base paint colors I used. Layering on a bit more stamped imagery in a very subtle way. In the photo below, I show how I used a dandelion colored pad to stamp over my yellow and light valued hues....
For finishing touches, I like to add 'swatches' or bits of white gesso or light paint over dark areas and then lightly scrape away, using a stylus, the end of a paintbrush or pointy tool to created little patterns or scribbles like this....
Remember to follow your instincts and intuition and that if you don't like something you can easily pull it back and rework it. Have fun with it. I truly believe that your joy will shine through in your piece and if you love it then so will the rest of the world! Part of the beauty in creating this type of art is all of the nuances and subtleties that come together as a whole. I hope you enjoy every second of this process and have a blast with your StampStracts!
"The works of 'abstract' art are subtle creations of order out of simple contrasting elements. ~Jan Tschichold
I always thought abstract paintings looked easy. For years, whenever I saw abstract work, I thought, "I could do that." Until I tried it. I never had the desire to create abstracts until I was in art school and I was introduced to a wonderful artist named, Marian Steen. Her lively work inspired me to try my hand at this art form and it was then that I learned that 'simple' does not always equal 'easy'. I realized that the process is very thoughtful and much more challenging than meets the eye. For the past seven years I have continued to explore abstract painting. I do this for my own enjoyment and it is one of my favorite ways to relax.
I began using a lot of background and texture stamps in my work and I thought it would be really fun and innovative to bring my love of abstract art to the 'stamp world'. The idea for a series of stamps that were to be used more like tools than stamps, swirled around in my head for almost a year until, finally, in July of 2016 the first Set of StampStracts was rubberized. The second set was released in October 2016 and the response has been terrific! I really hoped that the loose line, organic shapes would inspire others to explore all of the mystery and challenges of creating abstract art. I feel that it has opened up a whole new way of using rubber stamps and also a new way to create art. And, even though, when I first introduced this line, I had intended them to be specifically used to create abstractly (which they do). But what I soon found out, was that they could be used for so much more! Sixty five interactive shapes that have limitless possibilities! I am so glad you are here. I hope you enjoy these stamps and this class as much as I am enjoying sharing it all with you.
“The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” ~ Paul Strand
Creating fun, quick abstract journal pages with StampStracts and a few simple supplies is so easy and satisfying. I really enjoy covering a page with color and depth quickly and the process of using stamps as tools to blend, add texture, pattern and interest in a random and intuitive way. I think it is so nice and relaxing to have a bit of instant gratification and not overthink the pages.
Here are the materials I used to achieve terrific results in just minutes. Of course, you can use just a couple or many of the StampStract images. Half the fun is mixing it up and creating your own unique, abstract patterns and backgrounds!
You may choose to use any type of journal that you like. Here, I have just used soft cover 'booklet journals'. For this technique I recommend smooth paper and not textured or rough paper. You may use any of your ink pad colors of your choice. But I do suggest a darker border color.Here are a few step by step pictures of the process.
Once you have your base layers applied, you just choose your stamps and use white gesso and the same ink pads you used to stamp your imagery to create wonderful abstract pages! Have Fun!
Rub your ink pads over the dry white gessoed areas and add a few more stamped images....
In about ten minutes, you can have wonderful, colorful pages ready to write on or embellish further with photos, collage or leave them as is for abstract inspiration!
Here are some more pages...
Below is the video with the full demo and a few other fun ideas too!
“The sky is the limit. You never have the same experience twice." ~ Frank McCourt
With StampStracts, I feel the same way! That there is no limit to what can be created with these stamps. I love to just get out my StampStract stamps and knock out a bunch of random stamp 'sketches' with the images that call to me. I cut up a big stack of scratch paper the same size as my substrate is, and just play away!
I think this is a great way to experiment with ideas without a real commitment. Then, when I am done, I can throw away the ones I know don't work or that I just know I don't like, save the others and then choose and use my favorite to re-create on my substrate. Once I decide for sure, I then stamp it, using black archival ink*, onto my board. Simple as that, I have and illustration or pattern to paint! *of course, you can use any color of ink you like. (I recommend using a waterproof inkpad.)
My next step is to paint using a variety of acrylics and white gesso. *see materials used below
Stamp out your ideas!
Go ahead and stamp yours out! Like this:
Paint! Work in layers as I show in the video. And just follow your heart as you work. Color and design decisions are yours to make. Relax and have fun!
You may add a face to your "dream maker" stamp. Or if you don't want to, you can always paint it a solid color as shown here:
Finish off your edges using whatever color or gesso, you like or maybe you want to collage them? Whatever you like....
I hope you have enjoyed, AND CONTINUE TO ENJOY, playing with stamps the StampStract way! I thank you so much for joining me and I am here to support you if you have questions or would like feedback!
Love you to the Moon and Back!
P.S. Also see a the 'extra' video on how to wire your paintings