Pandemic Pairs

I’m measuring the pandemic by completed sketchbooks: another one down! (See round 1 here.) While there was less lockdown for this round — tentative, masked studio visits and a haircut or two — it still felt constrained, so I continued work at home on this lovely small, square book. Here, have a flip through…

When I saw how good the paper quality was, I realized I could work on both sides of a page. And so the theme became pairs — across the page from each other, having a conversation. It follows from the obsession I’ve been having with diptychs, double-wide or tall images where each half looks good as its own square, like this latest one from my fall series.

I wanted to explore what minimal looks like for me — is it elements? Palette? I soon found I need a few layers, often with mark-making if not just paper. Sometimes I went overboard; other times, I circled back to add a little more.

And I can see where influences crept in:

  • New supplies, like Beam Paints (pairs #07 and #12) or Krink inks (pair #24)
  • A discussion of work by Tim Hallinan in my art group, where I tried MANY layers to get the same effect (pair #8)
  • New materials — a trove of stamps (pair #14), the wrapping from an Asian pear (pair #31), or bubble wrap (pairs #15 and #17)

Longer-term influences like the beautifully minimal art of David Smith in the UK and lessons from Nicholas Wilton and Melinda Tidwell are always present too.

So, next steps… I’m happy with the book as it is, and I need to capture high-quality scans of each page. But, after that? I could frame a selection of pairs, or individual pieces; I could add more to each page, especially with paint; I could develop any of the pieces into something bigger. But mostly, it’s time to start a new sketchbook!

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