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Scenic Stamping with Kevin Nakagawa of Stampscapes Kevin gives detailed answers regarding scenic stamping, techniques and color application.

 
 
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:34 PM
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Default Question about color and image placement

Kevin

I just read an article in an old issue of RSM. It talks about composing by threes and the rule of thirds. What's your take on these concepts?

I've only done minor amounts of scene stamping and have just read some of your posts here on RSC. I appreciate any suggestions you have.

Thank you!
Roberta
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:21 PM
k_nak k_nak is offline
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Hello Roberta,

There are a lot of different traditional visual compositional structures out there and the rule-of-thirds is one that I often use in my own work --stamping and photography. Without getting into the details of what this rule-of-thirds is (for those interested, check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds ), employing this structure when building a scene can potentially increase the drama of a scene. There's more to it than this, but the basic premise is key elements within a composition being placed off center for greater visual interest or "movement". Things are placed in a way that will induce a kind of movement or path for the viewers eye to follow as opposed to placing a key element smack dab in the center of a composition (such as a bulls-eye that grabs a viewers eye and really doesn't "let go" of it). This goes for scenic stamping but also for any stamping.

By no means, however, is this "the" way to go. I use a couple different models of compositional structures and one of them is a pyramid. I tend to like balance in a lot of my work and structure things accordingly. Sometimes I'll even make it very apparent by drawing lines into scenes where this pyramid is:

http://stampscapes.com/stone18.html

http://stampscapes.com/fusion14.html

These are extreme examples but even in a scene like this one:

http://stampscapes.com/misc144.html

You can, visually, follow a suggested pyramid shape from the bottom corners of the scene to the top of the mountain --which is roughly about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the page. The "rule-of-thirds".

They say that composition likes odd numbers --spacing in threes, groups of threes as far as objects, etc.

Again, though, so many exceptions to this. In scenic stamping, I tend to put a much greater value on things like the blending of imagery and applications of color. However, any visual communication can benefit from a basic knowledge of compositional structures. As visual communicators --which we all are as rubber stampers-- it could increase our visual "vocabulary" and help us get across what we want to say in our pieces. But, do stampers need to know these types of things? Not at all. Biggest thing is to have fun and enjoy the process. Find out what you like and do it. Then, if someone felt inclined to look into things like compositional structures, they could do that. You don't need too many of them. I basically use 3 or so different ones. ~K
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:16 AM
stampin stacy
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Have you ever heard of using the color white or very light colors to draw the viewer in and across a scene?

I have heard and seen this theory explained at a local museum of western art. Basically if I understand correctly, using white across the picture in various ways draws the eye in and then across the scene. Is that correct?
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:03 AM
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Lovely question Stacy! Can't wait for the answer.

I'm drawn to the use of darks in much of the Stampscapes gallery but am always intrigued by how the light or white pulls me in. How does the artist know when enough light or white is enough? (I'm always worried I may add too much and don't know when to stop!)
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:56 PM
k_nak k_nak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampin stacy View Post
Have you ever heard of using the color white or very light colors to draw the viewer in and across a scene?

I have heard and seen this theory explained at a local museum of western art. Basically if I understand correctly, using white across the picture in various ways draws the eye in and then across the scene. Is that correct?
I haven't heard of it put into those words but the concept of it is certainly something that I like to use in scenes. I like to oscillate the usage of dark and light across a scene to try and make a scene more visually rich than to have the same value. An instructor of mine called referred to this as "checkerboarding".

Lit areas would certainly pull the viewers eye in as we're drawn to illumination. If we were walking in poor illumination or at night, etc. the eye would be drawn to an area under a street lamp, or a illuminated window, neon sign, etc. In a scene, spotlit areas of light create points of visual interest and cause the viewers eye to wander from point to point across the composition. It, therefore, creates movement and a potentially more dynamic surface.

In my scenes, I use this trick of two or more spots of light. What I'm often doing is creating a light source and an area of reflected light. What separates the two areas is a darker area.

This scene below is quite literal. It's a light moon and it's illuminating the clouds:

http://stampscapes.com/misc107.html

The dark band of sky underneath the moon and above the clouds separates the two spaces and says that one is the source of light and the other is reflecting it.

This scene below isn't so apparent. But you can see where I've made that oscillation between dark and light. Start on the top of the scene and work your way down observing the clouds first. You'll see this light-dark-light-dark-etc. structure. Then you'll see how the dark sides of the huts separate the next two areas of light --the top of the huts and the water.

The areas of light and dark, that one creates, isn't science. It's whatever someone wants to stand out --just simply leave those areas lighter by not darkening them.

In artwork in general and in scenic stamping it should be noted that it's somewhat limiting and can be frustrating if you try and replicate nature. I think it's better to see things as referencing nature and approaching the scene more like a set designer on a stage. Instead of thinking in terms of "What light would be "here" (in a given space while working on a scene)", a set designer would ask, "What lighting do I want in this area?" and use the appropriate lamps or spotlights in that space. We can direct the viewers eye wherever we want it to go, get them to see whatever we want them to see, and subdue anything we don't want to stand out in a scene. And, in many cases we can get them to follow whatever path we want them to discover those points of interest in. ~K
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:58 PM
k_nak k_nak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k_nak View Post
This scene below isn't so apparent.
I forgot this link that goes under this note above:

http://stampscapes.com/misc144.html
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:17 PM
stampin stacy
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Thank you so very much for taking so much time to explain and give examples of what you are explaining. You have a wonderful ability to explain things in simple term that are easy to grasp.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:27 PM
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Kevin

Thank you so much for the link to the definition for the application of thirds. I love that third scene you provided the link to! Wow! It just amazes me what someone can do with a white gel pen! I'm always trying to 'color' water, but understand from some artist friends of mine that water is the color of what it reflects.

Will you shed some light on that (no pun intended)?
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:54 AM
k_nak k_nak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAfricanQueen View Post
I'm always trying to 'color' water, but understand from some artist friends of mine that water is the color of what it reflects.

Will you shed some light on that (no pun intended)?
Yes, water in most cases acts like a mirror reflecting the surroundings and color of the sky/light in nature. For example, during dusk or dawn if the sky is ablaze in red/golden light above a body of water, it would take on a different appearance than if it were high noon.

http://www.terragalleria.com/califor....usca9436.html

http://www.terragalleria.com/america...ussc37965.html

If one were to look at a blue sea or lake during the day, it would probably look more like a black glistening sheet at night.

http://www.terragalleria.com/pacific...aust26065.html

But, as I was mentioning in one of the responses above, we're not necessarily trying to replicate nature or natural lighting. You can make anything any color you want. In my scenes, I like to give my water the illusion that it's illuminated or the source of illumination. I'll make the surrounding area darker to "pop out" the water.

http://stampscapes.com/misc8.html

http://stampscapes.com/misc15.html

There's also the notion of what's called "local color". It's how most people make their associations through perception. It's the notion of what color something is associated with under neutral lighting. For example, grass is the color "grass green", pine trees are green, water is blue, a white wall is always white, etc. This might be the case under that neutral lighting but it's not taking into consideration environmental factors such as lighting during other times of day, seasonal changes, weather, etc. Take a look at this photograph and see just what a difference the light makes on the grass:

http://www.terragalleria.com/america...ussc37970.html

You have an almost emerald green in the shadows and an ochre and green in the light. Also, take a look at the tree. This tree would probably be various shades of olive green, maybe, during the day but the tree is backlit in this scene and completely in shadow.

(link below) This is a lighthouse that's painted white. Observe the colors in the sky and what color the lighthouse has taken on:

http://www.terragalleria.com/califor....usca9715.html

Kind of a pink/orange?

Here's another view at another time of day. Maybe even a few minutes before the top link:

http://www.terragalleria.com/califor....usca9715.html

The lit area is yellow? And how about the rounded area below the light? Maybe almost a rust color as it transitions into shadow?

Thanks to QT Luong. I don't know this guy but came across his site a few years ago and love his photos.

~K
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:00 PM
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Thank you so much Kevin! I think that is my main problem is that I try to hard to replicate nature. It makes so much sense as to how you explained neutral color.

Will you be giving any classes in the Seattle area this year or next?
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