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.

20 thoughts on “Disappearing Act with Paint and Stamps

  1. Naples yellow – I used to use it a lot and have stopped for some reason. Thanks for reminding me what a great colour it is. Love the effect on the left with the Payne’s Gray. Glad you decided to ‘press ahead’ despite the voice in your head – the results are great.

  2. I LOVE those colors together. The turquoise and yellow. I must use this a LOT now. I like the disappearing act. I found that, too, that thicker paint looked best, but even the craft paint really makes a mystery.

  3. Yum! I love Naples Yellow! Great results you got! I am behind on this one! Tried it once and was not AT ALL pleased with the results – so I hope to try again this weekend – maybe make the 10/1 deadline ?

    I have to have a gander at your book soon too ! Congrats on that !

  4. I love how you experiment and then really think about what is happening. Most of us just do something and decide if we like it or not, plain and simple. I seldom take the time to really look at what I’ve done.
    Thank you.

    • And I’m the one who dyes paper towels, irons them, then uses them on postcards, so it was a logical conclusion. But I loved this technique so much more that I used watercolor paper to cut-up and re-use.

  5. Quinn, I like your observation of the effect being ghostly and ancient. The purpose is to be imperfect, therefore unpredicable. The messier we get, the more interesting it becomes. Even your paper towel rub-offs look cool! Glad you decided to give it a try, and had a fun experience. Thanks for sharing your work with the team!

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