I'm Andrea Levanti, the artist behind Gossamer Lane Fine Art.
I live in rural Western Washington, part of the amazing Pacific Northwest where daily inspiration from nature is boundless, with views of beautiful Mt. Rainier and its Cascade Range to the east and the Olympic Mountains westward toward the great Pacific ocean.
In spite of the grand views, the focus of my art is nature, up close and personal and often larger than life. I find many of my subjects right on the land where I live, from the barred owls that come to the woods to hunt in spring to the industrious honey bees that work busily in the gardens.
But flowers...flowers started it all. Macro photography that showed me their inner mystery was my first step toward painting. A character in the movie Ms. Potter expresses it best: "I love flowers shockingly."
Eventually it wasn't enough simply to see a photo of a subject; I became compelled to immerse myself in it and then bring it to life with my own hands in full living color. I never tire of the journey -- every new subject has new things to tell me. And learning the structures of natural things has shown me the deeper connection between everything in our physical world, that the graceful forms of moving life are repeated from a flower unfurling to the growth pattern of an animal's fur to the way the wind blows sand and clouds.
I work with colored pencil and wet-on-dry watercolor using tiny brushes, both of which allow the precision necessary for the realism I love. The subject tends to dictate which medium I choose, which isn't always obvious at first. My octopus Oswald changed his mind about my using watercolor almost right away and said that only colored pencil would do.
Some of my greatest artistic inspirations along with nature are Anna Mason from whom I learned my watercolor technique; Beatrix Potter whose unique vision and dear paintings of animals have always captivated me; the Art Nouveau style and Charles Renee Mackintosh for his genius in architecture and art that went against the grain of his time and left an extraordinary legacy; Emily Carr who did art by her own rules at the turn of the 20th century, letting her hunger to paint Pacific Northwest native life lead her into the wilderness where women simply didn't go in those days, especially alone; and The Group of Seven for their magnificent depictions of Canadian landscapes.
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