Molly Rausch of New Paltz began creating her unique stamp paintings by accident. Several years ago, she started a sketch that she didn’t care for and wanted to cover up. So she chose a stamp from her father’s collection and pasted it over the mistake. From there, Rausch extended the scene depicted on that stamp, and was intrigued by the result. She tried it again with another stamp — on purpose this time. The idea took off; now she creates these unique paintings both for her own pleasure and for sale.
In order to ensure an exact color match with the stamp, Rausch uses several layers of gouache and watercolors in her works. Each piece is no bigger than three or four inches, but can nonetheless take her from 12 to 15 hours to complete. “I can go a little cross-eyed, and had to get new glasses last year,” she says with a laugh. As far as research into the stamp’s background, she does none. “I did look up the accurate squares on a Monopoly board for one, but for the most part I just look at the stamp and try to imagine what would be around it,” she explains.
Each piece can cost anywhere from $300 to $450, depending on the amount of time and detail that goes into it. The works are often displayed in shows and galleries around Ulster County. Rausch enjoys watching the reaction of viewers who are seeing the pieces for the first time. “I’ll get silence for five minutes, and then someone goes ‘Oooh’ when they figure out it’s a stamp. That’s delightful to hear over and over again.”
Setting the scene: Click on the gallery of images below to see a few of Rausch’s distinctive pieces. Find more of Rausch’s work at www.postagestamppaintings.com.