Disappearing Act with Paint and Stamps

Before September is over, I want to try Michelle Ward’s Street Team Challenge #55–The Disappearing Act.

Michelle did make the challenge seem interesting: Paint two colors on a piece of paper, ink up your stamp with the same colors, then stamp and watch the colors blend and disappear when stamp/paint match.

At first, I wasn’t too keen on tackling the challenge. For many years, I didn’t work with rubber stamps (because I was selling my work and I was concerned over copyright issues) so the idea of finding the right stamp and painting it with acrylic paint seemed like asking for clean-up issues. I live in a dry climate, and stamping in acrylic has to be followed by an immediate trip to the sink.

On the other hand, that sounded like an inner-critic conversation, so off I went to gather paints and stamps.

Here is the stamp I used. In this image, I used Payne’s Gray and Naples yellow to paint the stamp (cleaned in between uses). When it was dry, I used Copic markers (on the left) and Caran D’Ache watercolor pencils (right) to add detail to the stamping. I was immediately taken by the different effect. They don’t look like the same stamp, although I used the same stamp in all the experiments.

I used Napels yellow and turquoise for my colors to get good contrast. The first stamping was a clean stamp on Naples yellow and then immediately stamped on the turquoise. This result was far more pleasing than I thought. The impression looked both ghostly and ancient. I love the yellow highlights in the turquoise.  I pressed on. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

Repeating the stamping, but this time, I painted the stamp before pushing it into the wet paint–half Naples yellow, half turquoise. Blending colors so some colors appeared positive and some negative also has good results. Even when the color doesn’t show up, the image does, and it makes the eyes focus to find detail. Interesting effect.

Next, I painted the stamp and pressed it onto dry paper. You can see the results from very wet paint to almost-dry paint.  Michelle suggested index cards, but I decided to use hot-press watercolor paper. These pieces will all be re-used.

Finally, I wanted to see what happened when I switched colors to Payne’s Gray and Titan Buff.  I wasn’t prepared for the dramatic change. The effect is completely different. My favorite surprise was on the buff side–right next to the gray edge, the stamp has a clear number 3, something that I had not noticed in the design before.

Thanks, Michelle! I would never have thought of doing this on my own. It was a rich and interesting experiment, and one I’ll use again.

Quinn McDonald is an art instigator who wrote Raw Art Journaling, available on amazon and on Quinn’s website–with free shipping till December.