Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello Monday! Hello Ideas!

Hand Carved Lino Cut Stamp, "Not Just a Moth" by Kellee Wynne Conrad

Too many of them to be exact. I suspect anyone with a creative mind and a busy life will find themselves divided among their ideas, but clearly with good intentions. You see, it was never a lack of ideas that has kept me from finding motivation; most likely it was where to begin with all these possibilities, and where do I find the time, and what if I do the wrong thing, and should I delve into pastel or collage, and what if it turns out awful, and, and….And that is the ultimate form of a creative block. Not a lack of ideas, but rather learning how to narrow your focus and just do something until you find the path you were meant to be following.
But I have a plan. I’m going to get through one idea at a time and see where it takes me. I’ll put it to the side if I don’t like it and pick up something else, and sooner or later I will find the path that suits me well. I suspect it will probably present itself in its own due time if I just keep moving forward. If I just keep doing something, anything! rather than nothing at all. And when the inspiration strikes, I hope you will be here to witness it and watch as this story unfolds. Maybe, if I’m doing what I’ve set out to do, I will inspire you to start your own creative journey!
This week I have one more hand-carved stamp. I like to think of it as a mate to the raven. Just to show you what happens when ideas get carried away, I am sharing a few of the different phases this project has been through.

I started by sketching from a reference photo. As I finished the design, I defined where the lights and darks would be, and then darkened the lines to get it ready for carving.

I spent hours cutting away on a sheet of rubber. I had to decide where to keep detail and where to let it go, all along trying not to cut my fingers!

I experimented with printing it on watercolor paper and coloring it, but I discovered the printing ink runs and the texture of the paper blurs the detail of the stamp. I'll have to make adjustments with my supplies and try it again.

Just for fun I wanted to see what would happen if I made the background first and printed it directly on a collage. It was an uneven surface and the image was not clearly printed, but it has a neat graphic effect. I think I would fine tune the collage process and see if I could get a smoother surface if I were to attempt this again.
There you have it, just a few ideas I was working on this week. What do you think? Any suggestions? I would love a request for the next hand-cut design! Or something unique I could do with my accumulating stamp pile!
Mostly, I hope you found some inspiration of your own and go have a Happy Monday!
"It's never too late to be who you might have been." George Eliot


  1. Wow! That is really beautiful!

  2. I have to say, that I loved them all!! Each idea unique, and all fabulous. I know it takes a lot of time to not only create your expressions, but it takes time to photograph everything and turn it into an inspirational blog! Thank you for taking the time to share your talents, ideas, and motivation to do the things we all want to do. Thank you for a great Monday morning message <3

  3. Thanks for the insight into your creative process. That kind of sneak-peak always fascinates me.

  4. Incredible Kellee. I think it is fun to just play with stuff and see where you end up. :)

  5. Awesome! I think it goes great with the your other one. It might be rad to see one more that fits together, then all three on one background almost like a circle of life type idea. I wanted my signatures on my paintings readable so if anyone ever saw a painting they liked they could actually see who made it and could hunt me down on the net or something... so I had a stamp made with my name and an image I liked(the paper plane). Why I'm telling you this is: I started hand brushing acrylic paint on the stamp to match the colors of the painting for my signature. If your careful, you could try instead of ink, try acrylic on the stamp, then press on paper. Just an idea.
    ps, where do you get the rubber pads to cut? What do you use to cut it, carving tools?

  6. James, I use a type of acrylic ink that comes in a rainbow of colors and are mixable. I buy basic supplies - the rubber, the lino cutting tools, a brayer for rolling the ink and the ink at Micheals. You can find everything online as well. I plan on doing a tutorial in detail later this month. As for a third...I'm pondering it...I admit that I love your signature stamp on your artwork. I might make one of those!

  7. I can't believe you hand carved your own freakin' stamp, Kel! That is all sorts of awesomeness. You go, girl!

  8. Nice work Kel. I particularly like the effect of printing on the uneven surface. Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and the progress of your work.