“Embracing It All/Mostly”


My old sketchbooks periodically reveal the phrase, “Embracing It All.”  As this phrase increasingly caught my attention, I finally decided to explore its meaning in a new series of 12 paintings.  These paintings are all oil on canvas and are 4’ by 3’.


I learned that this phrase resonated for me on numerous levels.  The most literal meaning I discovered has to do with the paint itself, and how I use it.  I found myself wielding paintbrush and palette knife on the canvas. This yielded eventually to drawing through wet paint with a variety of narrow implements, such as a ruling pen and improvised wooden sticks.


Every piece in the series contains references to non-human nature.  The initial inspiration was a century-old orchard on Orcas, full of many remarkably twisted old branches. I ultimately felt a need to include humans.  I later realized I was often interested in painting humans, alluding to our breathtaking sides but also to our more troubling aspects.  Later the quotidian crept in, as well as the comical.  Partly I wanted to discover what might happen when diverse objects were somehow trying to co-exist in the same painting.  Many partially hidden elements may be found on closer inspection, such as faces drawn on many of the ginkgo leaves. I also wryly learned that “Mostly” combined with “Embracing It All”.


Having recently completed several series that were more improvisatory, I now wanted to try combining more planned elements with times of improvisation.  Somewhat connected with this, I also decided to join abstract elements with more representational aspects.  Although I selected a specific palette to use for the entire series, I have embraced a wide gamut of colors within this palette. Four elements in this series seem key to me—color, movement/stillness, inter-connection, and surprise.


A small acrylic and ink on paper series spun forth from the above series. Each of these paintings contains a poem I wrote in response to the oil paintings. The dimensions of this series are 9” by 10-1/4”. I have also made an artist’s book, containing photos of the oil paintings, as well as the poems printed on light versions of the oil paintings. The dimensions of the book are 9-1/4” by 10-3/4”.