Creative Squad: In the City – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a really fun project from Maura Hibbitts using some of my rubber stamps and the Water Tower mini cardboard model. This month’s theme is: In the City – Although we aren’t traveling much these days, let’s reminisce about a time we traveled to another town or city. Think about the flavor of the place and let that guide your color and design choices.

I will admit, I am a country girl…I love the mountains and forests and wide open spaces…but every once in awhile I head to the city. I may have an appointment, or go to a museum or a show, but it seems there is always something that draws me there from time to time. I live in an area with small cities, and these have a lot to offer too, that’s where I go to the Asian and Indian markets, to Trader Joe’s, the art store, to the co-op to get the roasted coffee beans I love, to photograph buildings and people and rusty structures. I am a train ride and a few hours away from New York City, and have taken 150 middle school students to explore the city (yep, a few gray hairs from those trips), met my sister for a few days on her business trip and explored Central Park, attended and presented at conferences for education, enjoyed a wonderful high tea with my sisters at a ritzy hotel…truly memories that will be with me forever. No matter if the city near you is small, or a metropolis, go out and explore and see what it has to offer.

We received these cool models from Nat for this month’s project from a company called Boundless Brooklyn, and mine is a replica of real water tower in the city…I may just have to visit and try to find it. I took everything out of the folder, laid it out, and thought of ideas. I wanted a grungy look, so I started by stamping the bases with the Wabi Sabi stamps – gnarly, funky, jazzed, and far out, and a variety of archival inks in brown, black, grey and blue. I kept the pieces flat for the stamping.

I stamped the walls using the Wabi Sabi stamps, groovy and neato, using archival red, black and orange inks. I also wanted to add a graffiti-like image, so added the Love stamp. I was happy with my design, it looked like fish swimming around the tank. 

I decided to pretty up the roof too, after all if you were looking down from a higher building, it would be nice to see. I stamped around the piece using the Jugendstil stamp from the Mini Motifs set and black ink.

Now, it’s time to add the paint. I used fluid acrylics so that my stamped images would show through. I started with Transparent Yellow Ochre and an old brush, and pounced the paint randomly onto the pieces. I repeated this step with Burnt Sienna and Quinacridone Gold. It created a rusty appearance to age the water tower.

To add more depth to the painting of the tower and a patina effect, I went in and pounced on Cobalt Teal Hue. I felt this would allude to the water tower being constructed of metal.

I added a bit of detail to the Love stamp and roof with a light orange Posca pen.

Then I just followed the kit’s directions to assemble the water tower…and that is when I discovered I had stamped the walls upside down…darn it! I thought I was being so careful in laying out all the pieces before I began. So, in order to save my idea, I stamped Love again, upside-down over the first one. Luckily, I had stamped the first one in red, so the second one in black took over.

I thought about how structures in the city often advertise businesses in the area, so I made a flag using a skewer and teal paper and added “Eat at Loves in the city”.

What a great little model, and so fun to alter and assemble! You can create a lot of texture and age with stamped images and the right paint colors. I admit, I do love finding rusty structures and photographing them, and the city is a great place to find them.

Find out what makes the city near you unique and different, and go explore. I learned the small cities in my area are known historically for glove making, horse racing, and carpets. I found a small local railway line, which is now a bike path. I’ve learned about the role the Erie Canal played in developing my region. Discover who first settled the city and learn about them, like I found out how many areas near me were settled by the Dutch, and when you look closely, you can find the clues in place names and architecture. Enjoy learning about your city! – Maura

Thanks Maura – love the feeling of age and patina that you were able to create with rubber stamps and paint – this really looks like you could find it in real life. Now… I wonder how the menu is at Love’s :)

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps and those cool Cardboard Models in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Maura used:

Follow Nat’s Creative Squad on Instagram too: Each week we post projects, ideas, and inspiration for mixed media art.

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    Maura, I love the color that you created. It looks so real.


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