May 29, 2009

New Paintings

I've been working on some paintings of rain this week. I've been wanting to do them the last few months but have been thinking about the best way to capture it through my paints. I love the rain. I can never get enough of it.

These first two are called Summer Rain I and II. They are beautiful yellows and I'm afraid I did a terrible job of accurately capturing the subtleties in these photos. They are little more neony yellow than this. I used about 8 different shades of yellow in each.

This is my Spring Rain painting. I painted all of these on heavyweight acrylic paper. I think I'm going to look for some vintage frames for them.

May 28, 2009

New Piece- Global Village at Sunrise

I finished a new piece today titled 'Global Village at Sunrise'. I really love this blue (this is the blue that I used for the background of yesterday's 'Stamps of the Week') and had initially intended for it to be a dark, dreary, rainy sky (my favorite kind of sky in real life!) but this blue is such a vibrant color, it simply screamed for something more colorful.

I tried to capture the colorfulness of traveling overseas. When I went to China, I really had in my mind that everything would be drab browns and grays. I don't know why I had this impression beforehand, but I did. Traveling through China, however, gave me a completely different perspective on things as it was an incredibly colorful country- vibrant and alive with color, and kindness, everywhere. With this piece, I was really trying to capture the moment that I came to this realization when I was in China. I have never viewed the world the same since then.

May 27, 2009

Stamps of the Week

I found some more interesting stamps this week- too many to show them all to you at once but here are a few. Do you like this blue background? It's the background of a painting that I'm working on. I love this blue!

This first stamp I really liked for its design. Simple, colorful and has a big 'A' which I'm sure they put on this stamp to symbolize my name. This stamp is a definite keeper. I have a little box of stamps that are 'Andrea' stamps- meaning that all the stamps in this particular box have some sort of meaning to me and someday I'll be putting them to use in a project just for me. This stamp is going to be living in that box for a while....

I'm not sure what I love about this stamp. Certainly the black and white, which reminds me of newspapers, but perhaps also the theatre-like feel to the stamp.

I don't know what these are. But they're interesting little animals with their stripes and pointy ears.

I think these are a great collection of wildlife stamps. I'm a fiend for bird stamps- I have a couple hundred bird stamps at a minimum, maybe more. I love the simplicity of these stamps because often the background colors of bird stamps drown out the beautiful little birds.

I don't even eat mushrooms, but these stamps are fabulous! They're from 1985 and they definitely have a 'retro' feel in their designs.

Blog readers- if you ever see stamps highlighted in this blog that you're particularly interested in or that you just really like, let me know. I'd be happy to send them to you. For instance, if anyone just loves these little mushroom stamps, I'm really happy to ship them off to you straightaway. Most of the stamps that I show on this blog don't really fit into my artwork because they are generally too colorful so most of them just get thrown back into the bin and I'd be happy to give them to someone that really likes them.

May 26, 2009

'Winter Flowers' is finally finished

This is the large piece that I've been working on for what seems like a really long time. At the last minute, I decided to paint the stems and I'm happy with how it turned out. I put so many hours into this piece that I finally lost track of the total.

I used a lot of really great vibrantly colored stamps in this piece and think it might be time to replenish my stamp holdings. It's not that I don't still have a lot, but it takes a lot of stamps to come up with a very small percentage of these fabulous colors.

Tomorrow I will have some cool 'stamps of the week' to show you.

May 21, 2009

Latest Artwork in Process

I'm working on my largest piece ever- 3 feet wide by 16 inches tall. I'm reeeally excited about it. It was a little nerve wracking to have such a huge (i.e. expensive!) blank canvas and wonder if I would create a disaster of it. There's always that possibility, but I'm really pleased with how the background came out though it took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

I considered doing the entire background in stamps but by the time I did all of the sides and a border around the face of the canvas I realized it would be too noisy to see any picture that I might design on top. This has been somewhat of an issue with a couple of my other pieces- I think some of the details of the picture gets lost in the background sometimes. So instead of finishing off the background with stamps, I used pages from a french paperback book called 'D'amour et d'exil'. It's 10 years old so the paper has yellowed nicely.

Once I settled on using paper, my piece really came together and went a whole new direction as I began creating a cloud-like effect with the paper. And I'm just really happy with how it is turning out so far.

These pictures show the piece in it's current state. I'm still working out some of the details of the layout for my picture so the little piles of colored stamps are just sitting on top of the canvas right now as I play with placement, color and design.

If you click on the pictures you can see larger versions with more detail.

May 18, 2009

Stamps of the Week

Last night I was sifting and sorting stamps for my next project and I ended up with a huge stack of 'someday' stamps. Those are stamps that I set aside for a 'special' project that will happen 'someday'. But really, they're just stamps that I like to look at and so I set them aside telling myself that I will use them for the 'perfect' project someday. I have to say, this stack is growing ridiculously large....

This first one is a bit scary. Being a tree-hugger, I find it a little disturbing, but I like her hair.

This one has great colors and I'm always partial to colorful stamps with a perfectly placed cancellation stamp.

This next stamp is one that I used for the center of a piece I made a couple of months ago titled 'Incognito'. I didn't think I would ever see this stamp again, but as luck would have it, I found two of them last night. And I promptly set them both aside. These are both going into my next piece with will be a grouping of flowers on a very large canvas.

This one is yellow. So I love it. There are SO few yellow stamps! I don't know why this is, but I think yellow is the least used color in postage stamps. I almost never run across them and when I do, they get set aside. I have a big project planned to do a picture of my 'hot yellow' Nirve bike. It's a cruiser that my hub-dude won on the radio. The frame is handmade and it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. And I love riding it. The tires have 'flames' embedded in the rubber. So I want to do canvas piece but I need a lot of yellow stamps.

I love birds. I have binoculars and a bird book. I think that makes me a bird geek. So be it. I set aside all of the bird stamps. They are all fascinating to me. I love the crest on this little guy. It reminds me of a native American Indian headdress.

I chose this one for the lines. I love how the entire tree looks like a leaf. I've drawn some similar trees, which might be why I like this stamp so much. This stamp is a great illustration of how much you can convey with just a simple straight line.

These last three I really liked for the interesting buildings. Who can resist a castle? I love the silver background on that one. I love the blue design behind the building in this first one and the bricks in the last stamp.

May 16, 2009

Studio Repainting is Finished

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I've written an update. Well, that's the way it goes sometimes I guess. So I finished painting last weekend and moved everything back into my studio earlier this week, but I've had a visitor since then so haven't had much time for blogging until now.

My intention was to paint the studio a really vibrant yellow on 2 walls, and a light gray on the 3rd wall but when I tried to buy non-VOC paints, they just simply don't have them in super fabulous colors. So I had to compromise and settle for a very light lemony yellow, which I really like, and a blue. When I bought the blue paint I thought it was more of a gray-blue but when painted on a big wall, it's oh-so-very-blue. And I didn't think I minded it at first. But after looking at it for a week, I really don't like it. But I'm not painting again for a while, so for now the blue stays. I did buy some low-VOC bright yellow paint and used it on the inside of the window where the gross brown/rust color was before and it looks great. I lust after full walls that color. So here are the before and after photos.

I purposely didn't hang much on this wall because I have some very large canvases that I'm hoping to work in the next couple of weeks and wanted a big empty space to hang them. I also ordered a paper covered light switch from an Etsy seller that's been added since I took this photo (light switch photo below). The little table in the 'after' photo is one of my refinishing projects for the summer. I'm planning to refinish this table as well as my little desk. I'm still mulling it over because I want to incorporate vintage paper into both projects.

The little chair in the 'after' photo below is also a summer refinishing project. I found fabulous fabric and can't wait to do this one.

I was hoping to somehow NOT let my books take over the room, but we have so many other books in ever other possible space in the house that it was impossible to move all but a very few out of my studio so they are still taking the room over. They're actually double stacked in these shelves so there are twice as many as can be seen. It's a real problem, but I love them and they're like my friends, so I really can't seem to get rid of any of them. I'm only really a pack rat when it comes to books. I'm thinking about trying to build some tall shelves for the studio this summer in order to give the books proper space. We'll see if that happens.

This is the light switch cover that I ordered from 'ablemabel' on Etsy. It's even better than I thought it would be. She has some really great other light switch covers and they're very reasonably priced. I may get another one for the other wall.

So it's not the completely fabulous studio re-do that I was hoping for, but it's definitely better than it was and I still have a few other things to do in here before I'm done so I'll update you a little later in the summer when everything is finished.

May 9, 2009

Mid-painting of the Studio...

Well, everything is taped and I have one wall painted as well as the window sill. I wanted non-VOC paints but they only come in rather dull colors, so the studio won't be quite as fab as I was hoping, but it wasn't really negotiable.

The gray wall is a little more blue than gray, but I like it so the blue/gray is staying. In a couple of hours I can paint the other two walls which are going to be a pale yellow called 'Ray of Hope'. It looks reeeeeeally pale, but so did the blue/gray and it's actually pretty dark. So we'll see. I've taken pictures along the way which I'll post tomorrow when I'm all done.

One things I'm stuck on: On the blue/gray wall I want to paint three yellow 'frames' but the walls have yucky texture on them and I don't know how to get a really REALLY straight line taped off with the texture in order to have perfectly straight lines on the frames. Hope google can save the day. Again. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.....

May 7, 2009

Re-doing the Studio

Well, my studio is mostly empty. It took a while to get all the books out. I have a terrible addiction to them and we literally have hundreds and hundreds of books. Everywhere. Which is great, except that they invade every area and space of this oh-so-small row house.

My studio is approximately 80ish square feet small, or 10% of our house, which makes me lucky. But my desk has to fit in here too. So I'm de-cluttering, craigslisting some of the shelves and plants and trying to condense before I put it all back together with some semblance of order and utility. Instead of office taking over the studio, I need it to be studio, with just a hint of office in the corner.

We bought this place about a year ago and haven't done anything to the inside of it- yet. This is the summer of painting and making it mine. So. Here are the before pictures:

This is my sweet super small vintage desk that I found at a store called Decade on Broadway in Denver. A fantastic store. I love this desk. My mom, who has an antique shop, says it's an old sewing desk. I say it's 'super cool laptop desk'. I'm hoping to refinish it this summer by repainting and putting some vintage paper on the front of the drawers. I'm not sure this is within my capabilities, but I still might give it a try. We'll see how the studio painting goes first.

Check out the totally garish rust colored paint on the inside of the entire window. I don't know who thought this was a good idea, but it looks awful and THIS is really the impetus behind my redoing the studio. I simply can't live with the window sill paint job. So while I'm at it, I might as well just do the whole thing. So I'm still looking at a brighter yellow for two of the walls and I'm really leaning towards a light gray for the third wall- if I can find one that's not duct-tape or car-primer gray. I couldn't live with that and I only want to do this once. Other possible options are a light green or pale blue on the third wall.

So I'm on my way. Officially committed to this project and hoping to heave pictures of the 'new and improved' studio up for you by Sunday night. At the very latest by Tuesday. We have a visitor coming to stay with us for a few days starting next Wednesday morning and it has to be done by then. Now if only I could figure out a way to get rid of the crazy popcorn ceiling....

May 5, 2009

Stamps of the Week

I used some really great stamps in the piece I finished earlier this week called 'Armchair Traveler Blues' which I blogged about previously, but didn't show you many of the details. Here are few of my favorites that went into that piece. Most of these were from my little stashes of 'special' stamps waiting for just such as occasion.....

I mentioned last week that I had some really cool Gilbert and Sullivan stamps to show you and here they are. I love these stamps because of the fantastic colors and designs.

Slow Studio Week

I'm wrapping up some other projects and prepping for another field season of plant surveys so work in the studio has been slow.

Today I went a little nuts painting canvases yellow. I mixed way too much paint, so I just kept painting canvases yellow until I ran out of the yellow paint. I've been on a yellow kick lately, so definitely more yellow pieces coming soon...

I finished putting together another penguin. Pancho. Pancho wears a sombrero and takes a lot of siestas. It's appropriate that he make his debut on Cinco de Mayo.

I also painted a blue canvas and started testing rough layouts for a new piece I have in mind. I'm not very happy with this particular design and will probably scrap the whole thing and start over, but I thought I would show you how it all begins.

Sometimes my initial ideas play out well, and other times I'm really unhappy with them and abandon them altogether. I think I have a strong idea, but need to find another way to get it across.

This is one of the nicest blues that I've mixed but I'm going to set this project (and canvas) aside until I resolve the design issue.

My posts may be a little slow in coming this week as I'm packing up my studio on Thursday, patching the nail holes in the walls, taping off the window and prepping to paint this weekend. I can't stand the pale butter yellow walls or the garish rust colored window casing. It all must go. I plan to repaint 2 of the walls a different, brighter yellow and a 3rd wall a pale green/gold color. Or a pale blue. Or a pale gray. Ok, I'm still undecided on the 3rd wall. I suppose I should make a decision rather soon.... I'll post before and after pics.

May 3, 2009

Armchair Traveler Blues

Yesterday I finally finished a new piece that I started several weeks ago. I painted the yellow canvas several weeks ago and laid out several different designs for it, but wasn't happy with them. So the canvas has been sitting blank while new ideas were germinating and sliding around in my head.

I had a little lightbulb moment the other day with this idea and I'm pleased with how it finally turned out. Though I was a little anxious about using book pages as I tend to hold books as pretty sacred. What if someone really wanted to read that Hardy Boys book? (The Tower Treasure) Well, hopefully it's been put to good use and I have some other ideas for future projects with these mixed papers and intend to use the rest of the pages as well.

This is the final piece in its entirety:

I used some of my most favorite stamps for this piece, ones that I had tucked away from my main collection. It was particularly difficult to use the Prince Charles/Princess Diana stamp. It's one of my favorites and out of 30,000 or so stamps that I've run through, I've only seen it once. I hope I'm lucky enough to have another one come my way.

The ship stamp just below and to the left of it is also another particular favorite that was sequestered with all the other ship stamps in my collection, but I dream of sailing the world or traveling by ship, so it was an important addition to the piece.

Here's one close up:

I'm excited about taking my work in new and varied directions, and looking forward to see what the reactions are to this particular piece. I'd love it if you left a comment with your thoughts about it. There are additional photos of this piece in my shop:

May 2, 2009

Foreign Wall Flower

Well, I mentioned in my last post that I was working on a new piece, likely to be a tree. But, I was really intrigued by this stamp:

And I ended up with a little sweetheart of a flower instead:
There are additional pictures of the piece in my shop here:

This afternoon I picked up some new, and very small, canvases and small brushes today in order to work up some blockhead penguins. I created one a week or two ago which I thought turned out pretty well, so Pablo the Penguin will have some siblings soon.

We hit an indie bookstore this morning where I picked up a 1939 copy of Lost Horizon by James Hilton which is one of my favorite old movies. Who doesn't love thoughts of Utopia? I'm sure it will be a great read, but the cover alone was worth picking up the book. They just don't make covers like this anymore:

There is actually a whole website dedicated to all things 'Lost Horizon' if you want to check it out: