Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stamping Techniques

The painting above illustrates all three stamping techniques discussed below.

Watercolor painting lends itself to stamping techniques to apply paint to create rocks, trees, and texture patterns in paintings. This technique is especially useful for backgrounds in detailed paintings or in any area of an Impressionistic painting. Stamping was used by the Japanese in making fish prints which were made by inking the side of an actual fish and stamping it on paper to leave behind an impression of not only its shape but also its scales and other surface textures. Stamping can be used in watercolor painting to create realistic results that are easier accomplished with stamping than with a brush. This a very effective means to achieve realism in one's work.

Stamps can be made from pieces of mat board that can be made in any size or shape you need. I will discuss three uses of stamps:
  1. Stamping rock textures,
  2. Stamping trees,
  3. Stamping grass.
How to make the stamps
Cut a square or rectangular shape from mat board of any size you need. However, to begin start working with a piece about 2" x 3" or 3" x 3". Turn it colored side up and attach a masking tape handle to the piece of board.

The picture below shows both sides of the stamps and examples of their use.

Rock Textures
To stamp rock textures, there is no need to do anything else to the stamp. Apply a variety of "rock" colors on the white side of the stamp or on your painting. Next, press the stamp on the painting surface. When you press it down, it should feel "squishy." Lift the stamp and you will see texture like the surface of a wet rock covered with lichen and mosses. The stamp can be presseed several times without applying more paint. The dryer the paint the more the stamped pattern will resemble rocks in fields or cliffs and mountains. You can make a scratch or two on the surface to create more realistic looking rocks.

Stamping Pine Trees
Prepare the stamp with the masking tape handle. Then draw a pine tree on the white side: start with a trunk and add all the branches. Scratch or dig this drawing with the corner of your utility knife. You do not have to be precise in this cutting. You can make serveral using different shapes to utilize in the same paniting or simply adjust the colors to add variety using the same stamp. Each stamp will look different when applied.

Stamping Grass
Prepare the stamp with the masking tape handle. Scratch and gouge lines for a grass pattern keeping in mind that the stamp will print in reverse. This is especailly important if you have grass blowing in a specific direction.

With all of these stamps, one can spray water to blend the stamp into the background. The tops of the trees can be sprayed to blend into the sky; the rocks can be sprayed at the bottom to blend into water or a misty mountain; and the grasses can be sprayed at the top to blend into a mist, etc.

Stamping is ideal for background painting or adding texture to any part of your painting. Stamps can be made to use in stone buildings, brick walls, etc. in addition to landscapes.

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