In the Studio
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Experimentation (Or, Not Knowing What You’re Doing)

Rubber stamp design

Last Sunday’s annual spring Art Walk in Boston was a great day! I don’t know who was counting, or how, but I heard 5,000 people attended. Many people who came into my studio wanted to know about my digital paint process. It felt great to talk with people who were excited about how I create images.  I especially enjoyed a repeat visit from a young printmaker who understands the value of experimentation in making art. I use the word “experiment” a lot in describing my work process.

With preparations for Art Walk behind me, I craved some experimental creativity today. Experimental, yes. Digital, no. I pulled out the Moo Carve rubber I purchased over the winter. I drew a quick, unplanned design on some tracing paper with a #2 pencil. I then flipped it pencil mark side down on top of the rubber. After holding the paper still and rubbing the paper for about a minute, there were easily visible lines on the surface of the rubber.

stamp transfer

First I carved along the lines in the design using a narrow blade. Using a box cutter, I cut the outer rough circle shape. I tried a few inkings with an ink pad featuring graduated shades of brown, but it didn’t get as inky as I wanted, so I opted for a brush marker. I neglected to wash off the rubber before stamping, and this can leave gritty little specks. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. It just depends on the effect you want.

stamp circular

First inking attempts in the early stages of carving a stamp

Studying the design, I considered what effects would be achieved if I carved out certain areas within the lines. I picked a small jagged section around the center image to carve out. The carved out areas are what would show as white, or non-inked.

Rubber Stamp carving

This time I washed the rubber before coloring to remove any tiny bits of rubber. When it felt smooth and clean, I painted the face of the stamp with brush markers. I alternated a few different colors, coming out with the varied looks you see here.

rubber stamp variations

The same rubber stamp using varied colors and carved areas.

I plan to continue with the carving process on this particular stamp, carving out more areas. These carved areas will show up as white.

You might well ask what a digital painter is going to do with rubber stamps. I don’t know yet. That’s what experimentation is about. You’re not supposed to know where it’s going.

I have some vague ideas. Once I have a set of images I like, I’ll photograph them and create jpg files. I may string them together to create a border or I may pull sections of them out a year or more from now and use them to create a pattern in a larger (yes, digitally created) piece. That happens a lot. Sometimes images I make are forgotten for long periods of time until I start sifting through my digital files and rediscover them. It’s like keeping collage parts in storage.

Have a great weekend!

You can see many of my paintings here.


This entry was posted in: In the Studio


Hi there. I’m Boston-based digital artist Paula Ogier. In this blog I write about about my art new works, projects in process, life in Boston, inspirations, ideas, and creative challenges. I live and work in Boston's South End neighborhood, in the enclave known as the SoWa Art + Design district. I'm fond of big cities, architecture, great imaginative spaces, food & drink, gardening, wandering around the city on foot, binge-watching well written shows, talking to cats, and of course, making and experiencing art. Artist website: Twitter: Paula Ogier Artworks My studio is at 450 Harrison Avenue, Studio 203.

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