Tag Archives: stamps

Seeing in Reverse

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In grappling with making a stamped white cat there was the obvious option of carving the image in reverse so that the lines remain and the rest is carved away. It is not how I usually carve, so thinking this way is a challenge. Lines tend to become wider because extremely fine lines become unstable. That’s not entirely true. They have to be carved at an angle leaving a wider base for stability, which can be done more easily for straight lines and open areas. And some of it comes down to comfort and skill. I’ve seen plenty of negative carving, much of it Japanese, that is exquisitely done in miniature. It tends to be done with an X-acto blade. It baffles me.

I think she loses some of the delicacy and subtlety. Regardless, this was an interesting exercise. I feel a little more confident now using this technique. Practice, practice, practice. Especially those things that we fear.

Up on a Hill (Sketching it Out)

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My friend’s story has a cat and a dog who are both white as the central characters. If I were illustrating them using line drawings this would be no problem, but when stamping, it is more of a challenge. I tried roughing it out on butcher paper instead of white paper and think that may be (at least part of) the solution. The other thing I experimented with is using watercolor over the stamped image. This helps give more dimension to them as well as integrating the watercolor used in the background. The cat has black markings in the story and that is another challenge I tried to address using paint detail.

There are two dogs because I was trying to see if I could solve the problem of scale between the cat and the dog without carving a new one of either of them. They are supposed to be sitting together on a hill, but as we all know a cat’s idea of “together” is a little more distant than most.

Straddling Two Worlds

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I want to deepen my illustrations by adding water color and collage. I want that in my mind, but when it comes to actually doing it I freeze up a bit and fall back on old habits. I am more comfortable sticking with the familiar if I can be more sure of the results, which goes without saying if you choose a technique you have done dozens of times before. New materials represent the unknown and that is awkward and the outcome is usually amateur at first. So, here I go. Making some stilted art in hopes of getting to a more layered and interesting place.

Little Pink Houses (and green and red and purple and…)

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I can’t stop carving houses! It seems to be a problem – maybe a crutch to keep me from doing anything else. They are fun and satisfying and I keep finding *just* one more that want to add to the line up.

Of course, to the outsider’s eye it looks like a gaggle of kids where you loose track of their ages and mix them up on the annual Christmas card. But to me they are all individuals with different qualities. For instance, tonight’s addition isn’t even Victorian architecture and would never be found on the same row as the rest. I enjoy geeky anachronistic inside references only a nerd would catch.

I have one or two more houses in the queue that are calling my name. After that I vow to mix and match them with some of my animals to create a neighborhood. That should be fun!

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The Rainbow Always Leads Home

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I’m not highly political. But as soon as I made my little row house stamps I knew there was one card I had to make with them.

Marriage equality interests me because it is such an obvious right and one that falls into my pro-choice beliefs. You live as you wish. I’ll live as I wish. It is the newest frontier in civil rights. My belief and fervent hope is that my son will think it odd when he grows up that marriage equality was ever an issue, much as going to school with different races was an assumed for me, but a complete shift from just a generation before.

I wanted to make something joyful instead of heavy. There is no reason a couple has to be married or gay to give or receive this card. It’s just fun. But I am also aware of what the rainbow has come to represent and I used these colors with intention.

Welcome home EVERYONE!

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Home, Sweet Home!

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I don’t usually get excited abut carving inanimate objects. By definition, they have no life. But houses are different. After all, people (and creatures) live inside them so they emanate a certain energy. Who’s inside? What are they doing? 

This is the first of my row houses. I want to carve at least one more so I can make a mash up of them using various colors. You can see how the different colors give totally different moods (twilight?) 

There are whole pages devoted to Tiny Houses on Pinterest and it baffled me. What’s the fascination? However, after stamping this row I think I understand!

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Into the Woods

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Again avoiding what I’m “supposed” to be doing, I started stamping at random. I’m not really ready for fall and always view August as one giant Sunday that just looms as I watch summer fizzle away. But I used autumnal colors because adding green leaves to the trees seemed too harsh. I was enjoying something about the harmonious pallet.

Exploring Society 6 (aka Adventures in Marketing)

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Well, I’m clearly late to the party, but I got around to posting a few images on Society 6 for purchase. If you are unfamiliar with the site, it is a neat collection of disparate artists who partner with S6 to reproduce their images on various products; tote bags, t-shirts, stretched canvas, framed prints, note cards, phone cases, you name it.

I have read about it on several people’s blogs and was intrigued. I’ve just dipped my toe in the water… and the water is unexpectedly deep. For instance, in order to offer your art on specific products you have to take the time to format each image to exactly the pixelization they specify. I’m sure this is easy for the tech savvy, but I don’t count myself among them. (It’s why I choose to spend hours hand carving stamps!) I also need to take more care in getting high quality shots of my art (rather than the ones I snap with my phone at the end of the night.)

Still, I’m of the philosophy, “ready, fire, aim!” In other words, you have to dive in to figure it out and spend some time floundering about in the water. If you wait to pull the trigger until you think you know all the details, the target will keep shifting and you’ll never get things underway (to mix metaphors) . So, without further adieu…. drum roll please… I welcome you to explore my newest marketing venture through Society 6. (The one image will lead you to the others so you can poke around a bit.)

More shameless self-promotion to come!