March 30, 2009

Leaves, leaves, leaves.

I've just returned from Costa Rica today. I saw a lot of amazing things while there but my main purpose for wanting to go to CR was to see the cloud forests. They were beautiful, of course. Verdant, thick, lush, full of singing birds and other organisms. The Quetzal is truly a beautiful bird, well worth the hours spent tracking it down, though I couldn't get close enough to get a picture of his fuzzy blue mohawk, he was fabulous just the same (you can find someone else's pictures of the Quetzals here: ).

The first thing we saw in the first cloud forest we went to (Bosque Nuboso Los Angelos) were leaf-cutter ants. There were a couple hundred of them busily at work- they managed to be quite difficult to avoid at times. You read about these industrious little workers of tropical biomes but it has never occurred to me that I might actually see them at some point in my life. But there they were! Carrying their huge green leaf cutouts on their backs up the trail to a storage warehouse under one of the muddy steps.

I have to admit, I have never worked as hard as these ants, these guys are true manual laborers. What was really curious was to see some of the leaves that they cut these leaf chunks out of. Look at these big loads they're carrying and how perfect these lines of cutouts are on the leaves:

I was mostly fascinated by the strange and wonderful leaf patterns in the cloud forests. These are not your ordinary everyday leaves. I've been working out some new art designs in my head using these patterns and hope to have some new things to show you soon, at which time I'll post the pictures of the leaves in a longer post. The design diversity found in nature is impressive; and great fodder for the imagination.

I wish everyone could experience the cloud forests before they disappear. They are amazing ecosystems that are disappearing quickly.
Andrea at Studio6

March 19, 2009

Putting the pieces together

I'm working on a new piece in anticipation of all the pink spring blooms that have to arrive in the city. I thought I would post some pictures along the way of how it all goes together.

First I decide on background colors. In this case it's greens & blues for grass and sky. The first step is to wrap stamps around the sides of the canvas. Sometime I do all the sides first, especially if it's all going to be one color, but in this case I only wrapped the grass and then worked my way across the front. I try not to have too much overlap of stamps because I hate to lose any of their artistic 'face value', but I find it nearly impossible to lay them out in such a way that there is no overlap. This is the incomplete piece with the grass laid down.

Next I'll lay down the sky. Then the tree trunk and branches and then finally, the fun part, the profusion of pink blooms. I'll post more pics along the way as I go through these steps. I'm hoping to have this piece completed by tomorrow but that might require working most of the night, so we'll see.

Andrea at Studio6

March 18, 2009

Almost an art disaster...

I very nearly ruined my latest piece. Luckily, it's small, because I was experimenting with a new technique, so it wouldn't have been a huge disaster to have to throw it away, but I would have been bummed.

I've been experimenting with acrylic. I have been using stamps of one or two colors for my backgrounds, as in the two pieces below, but as you can see , the backgrounds get noisy sometimes. I like them for their colorfulness and the backgrounds are interesting if you take a close look, because of course I think most stamps are interesting, but sometimes the stamp backgrounds drown out my message.

Which is why I've been experimenting with painted backgrounds. They definitely make my pictures pop out more, though to me these backgrounds are a little less interesting. But the paint is really difficult to adhere the stamps to. They slip and slide all around, frequently become crooked and have to be completely reworked- it takes a lot more time to build on the paint background than on a background made of stamps.

Today I tried sealing the paint first, with varnish, before laying my picture down on the black paint, but the varnish and the adhesive had some weird chemical reaction and all of my yellow stamps looked gray from smudges of paint! Very disappointing- especially because yellow stamps are incredibly hard to find- countries just don't make many yellow stamps for some reason. Luckily, I was able to take the whole picture off, repaint the canvas and rebuild another yellow house. I actually like this one a little better than the first one, so I suppose it all worked out.

Here's my latest miniature canvas 'Spring House':

Andrea at Studio6

March 16, 2009

Quiet day in the world of stamps...

I found this brilliant and succinct little stamp. It conveys so much, with so little. I particularly love the face on the droopy little flower.

I've been sifting and sorting stamps and now have another huge pile of pinks and purples. I love these colors. The stamps from Spain have the best color of any stamps I've had so far.

I haven't gotten any work done on my current art piece today, but I am currently working on a large piece similar to the one below because I love the colors of these pinks, purples and all-shades-in-between stamps.
They remind me of Spring in the city when the cherry blossoms are blooming.

Andrea at Studio6

March 15, 2009

New Stamps

Yesterday I received a fantastic shipment of a couple hundred triangular stamps from someone in Argentina, which I've been waiting to arrive for many weeks now.  Well it was well worth the wait.  These are just a very few of them.  The colors and designs are really striking.  

 I love when new stamps arrive either by post or by friends, and I get to sift through them, imagining the stories that they tell and how they will play into the stories that I tell in my art pieces.  I probably spend entirely too much time on this phase of the process, but it's mesmerizing, for hours sometimes.  

My problem now with the new stamps is deciding just what to use them for.  Sometimes I get stamps that are just so interesting!  And I have a really hard time giving them up to a piece because I know that most of them get partially or fully covered up by the time I'm done.  

I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the triangles when I originally ordered them, but they're such great stamps, I may need to find a more interesting and prominent use for them in my work now.

Andrea at Studio6

March 14, 2009

Here we are!

We're throwing ourselves out to the world finally.  Studio6or7 is really two studios (6 and 7) at the moment.  Studio6 (that's me!) makes mixed-media art.  Studio7 (that's Cori) makes beaded and upcycled jewelry.  

Intro to Studio6:

My main materials are postage stamps, canvas and paint which I use to create my own personal vision of the world through my art pieces.  I've had a fascination with stamps for a long time because each one is a miniature little story in itself and I find the colors mesmerizing.  I spend a lot of time sifting through my huge stamp collection sorting by color and themes (like ships, planes, sports, animals, flowers, country, writers, etc...).  

I do mostly small works because they take a really long time to put all the layers together, but some new, larger pieces are currently in the works.  My initial idea with the stamps was to create a huge world map on a wall in my house.  Unfortunately, I just haven't had the right house yet in which to do it.  I imagine that will be a huge project of possibly 100,000+ stamps, but one I've been talking about and thinking about for probably 10 years or more.  In the meantime, I'm quite happy creating smaller visions and working on other ideas.  

Cori, over at Studio7 is really tied up right now with her 'real' job and working on her Masters degree, but she'll be posting more info. on Studio7 soon.

If you want to check out any of our works you can see them at:

I'm currently working on a website for Studio6or7 and will post the information for it once we have it up and running, which will probably be sometime in April.

Andrea at Studio6