Branching out

Branching Out

By Chris Graebner


When Eric Saunders, Pat Lloyd and I first talked about this show last fall and came up with a title, we thought that Branching Out would speak to the subject matter of all three of us in some way. Pat is a wood turner, Eric often photographs natural settings – trees and woods, and I was planning that my work for this show would all be botanical subjects. However, life intervened. Pat dropped out of the show, and Michael Salemi, also a wood turner, came on board. The title still worked. Then life intervened again. In December I discovered that I had cancer and that the next several months would be filled with 2 major surgeries and a lot of slow recovery. The few pieces that I had underway were not botanicals, so that connection to the show title was out. I would not have the time or considerable energy it takes to do a whole show of new botanical work.


As I was slowly recovering from surgery I became fascinated with clouds and decided to make them the focus of a small group of paintings. Usually, clouds are just a sort of backdrop, making the sky a little more lively and realistic. They provide a bit of movement in a landscape. But in these paintings I wanted the clouds to take center stage and do all the talking – a little bit of “branching out,” if you will. I enjoy painting night scenes, so clouds at night became a natural progression – another bit of branching out.


When plants get trimmed or blocked, they send out branches and move in a different direction so they can continue to grow. In similar fashion, these paintings have been a way of trimming my expectations – of moving in another direction and continuing to grow. I hope you enjoy them!

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