Rings Links: before Friendship Bands
Before Friendship Bands, there were doodles that became Rings and Links. Those paintings began my celebration and exploration of connections. They were also true “nanoscapes,’ made with five steps of Painstaking Exuberance: (1) make a pencil drawing; (2) resolve the “over and unders” with pencil and eraser; (3) paint the outlines with Davy’s Gray; (4) paint inside the lines; (5) paint the outlines of each ring and link. I had a life-long love of tiny shapes and spaces, and quick as a wink! my favorite art-making tool became a double-zero sable brush.
The earliest Rings-and-Links were clearly defined round and oval links that still remind me of the paper chains that we made in elementary school to decorate Christmas trees. Ten were in a show at The Frameworks Gallery in Saint Paul in 2011. After the show, they went into hiding.
Two things happened. I got tired of rings-and-links, and my subconscious noticed that the Rings-and-Links approach to connections between and among people was a bit too literal and woefully nuance-free, I doodled some more.
Time passed. Out came Friendship Bands. These paintings depict Friendship as “complicated; sometimes messy; beautiful if you’re lucky.” Just as Rings-and-Links, they begin with a pencil drawing and painstaking drawing and erasing to make sure that the rings and links link correctly. Making the “over and unders” work correctly is absorbing, challenging, and oddly relaxing.
Friendship Bands are pencil-then-watercolor abstracts, and they are true nanoscapes. The nanoscapes, my original watercolor work, are the product of painstaking exuberance. Click here to see a video that shows how these paintings begin. It was made in conjunction with The Vine Arts Center show called “Behind the Work #2.“
Purple Dreams: links to the future
Friendship Bands: the series
The more time that I spend with my paintings, the more I am reminded of my earliest art obsession: I was a passionate finger painter. All that I wanted to do was to finger paint. All day. Everyday. Everywhere. I was a willful child, and made no secret of wanting to do this. My Mother had her limits, and one limit was a clear understanding that she didn’t want to clean up behind non-stop finger painting. Crayons came into my life. They could be corralled.
I have made more than a dozen of these Friendship Band paintings. Some are rectangular, some round, some large, and some small. Except for Band #1, which has a dove inside it, none contain any secret images or surprises.