Boston Gallery Celebrates the Perfectly Imperfect

perfectly imperfect

© Betty Butler, Australian Fires, Digital Collage/Painting, 2020

I am thrilled to be part of Boston’s Art Fluent Gallery online exhibition, Beyond the Scars. The curators sought work that celebrates perfectly imperfect things, bursting with character and emotion—works highlighting the charm of irregularities and asymmetries, turning so-called defects into striking focal points. Within these stories, emotions, and scars, we find a raw vulnerability that uncovers the true beauty in it all.

Australian Fires, above, is part of my climate change series. It was fueled by a mix of sadness and anger at the news coverage of the Australian fires in 2019 – 2020. In this digital collage I started with black and white photos of almost barren trees. On top of that layer, I laid down some fiery orange and red digital strokes. Then, I used a rapid succession of black dots and lines, which, unbeknownst to me, created the illusion of a hilly landscape and a fire tornado. The final bright splash of yellow occurred with a Photoshop maneuver, which resulted in an unexpected surprise of the sun peeking through. This added a touch of hope to an otherwise somber scene.

New Pastels Utilize Warm Oranges and Yellows

perfectly imperfect
© Betty Butler, Pear and Apricot Group, Pastel Drawing

These pastel drawings feature the warm colors of yellow and orange. I added a complementary light purple-blue background to enhance their vibrancy. Unlike the digital image above, which happened in an almost accidental series of occurrences, these pastels are more deliberate and traditional. While I love arranging and patterning items in collage, drawing requires close attention to proportion and accurate shapes. It is challenging, yet freeing to switch between the two media.

perfectly imperfect

© Betty Butler, Flowers on Table Cloth, Pastel Drawing

Work Accepted in Spring Equinox Exhibition


Gallery of the Spring Equinox Exhibition. My work: top row left and bottom row right 

I am honored to be included in the PIX Museum of the National Association of Digital Artists Spring Equinox Exhibition. The gallery states that this juried show features the work of digital artists from around the world. The Spring Equinox theme brings to mind nature, sunlight, and renewal. The show is live and can be viewed at through May 17, 2024.

Awakening Tulips, is a composition of silhouetted tulips filled with colors ranging from deep magenta to pastel blues, purples, and greens. For contrast, I placed the colors at angles in some places and blended them in others. Darkness to Light alludes to the spring equinox, with its longer, lighter days following the darker, deeper winter nights. For example, a vase with a single flower evolves from black to another in medium-toned teal to a final one in bright white.

Shadows of the Season

© Betty Butler, Tulip Shadows, Digital Collage, 2024

I have intertwined colorful tulips with their corresponding shadows in this new collage, Tulips Shadows. This creates a contrast between feelings of joy and foreboding. Just as tulips symbolize spring and new beginnings, shadows can represent darkness, loss, and fear. As I searched online for help in describing these oppositions, I found a quote by the acclaimed cinematographer Conrad Hall (Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid.) He states, “There are infinite shadings of light and shadows and colors… it’s an extraordinarily subtle language. Figuring out how to speak that language is a lifetime job.” Although I am a two-dimensional visual artist and not a filmmaker, the challenges have much in common.

What’s Black and White and Blue All Over?          

whats black and white and blue all over
© Betty Butler, Abstract Vases, Digital Collage, 2024

What’s black and white and blue all over? Well, my new digital collage, Abstract Vases, is just that. This piece is devoid of my usual bright colors but explores the dramatic shape of a photographed vase displaying a single chrysanthemum. This vase is then repeated. The original vase and flower are white, while I added black and teal blue to the others in Photo Shop. Finally, I layered these forms over an expressionist digital painting, subtle in color but rich in pattern.

Black, White, Blue and More in Pastel

I have been observing these vases for a while through my work in pastels. The work above left, Three Ceramic Orbs, reflects the white vessels on a black towel with a background of subtle blue violet.

The upper right pastel, Plant sans Flowers, is a more colorful work. It is a portrait of an African violet plant. Even without the lovely purple flowers, the plant’s leaves are rich in various sizes and patterns. They have a slight sheen, which calls for highlights in places. Their undulating pattern invited me to draw with multiple shades of greens. Lastly, I added blues and purples for a harmonic color pallet.

New Art for a New Year

new art
© Betty Butler, Angular Tulips, Digital Collage, 2024

For this new art, I silhouetted a photograph of curving tulips. For contrast, I layered it on top of a digital color field divided into angles. Despite the sharp edges, the colors are harmonious, and some areas are blended. Like this assortment of colors,­ I hope your new year gets off to a smooth start.

Prints shown in Washington D.C. Gallery

new art
© Betty Butler, Setting Sunflowers of Autumn, Digital Collage, 2023

I am honored to have two digital collages in the Naturalist Gallery of Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C. It is a gallery that hosts guest exhibitions in photography like this one. It is also home to several interesting contemporary artists.

new art
© Betty Butler, Color Collage, Digital Collage, 2022

Setting Sunflowers of Autumn

autumn colors
© Betty Butler, Setting Sunflowers of Autumn, Digital Collage, 2023

As fall descends on the upper hemisphere, I was moved to incorporate the colors of the season into my new work. With the circular sunflowers representing the sun, this new digital collage, Setting Sunflowers of Autumn, alludes to shorter days and earlier fall sunsets. Like the petals above, the leaves also sport yellow, orange, and scarlet hues.

In addition, I am intrigued by fractals, nature’s self-repeating forms at various scales. The center disc of a sunflower grows in a fractal spiral, so I created a green and black background texture to echo this effect.  

More Autumn Colors, in Pastel

autumn colors

Although the pastel to the left is a pastel still-life, it was inspired by the season’s colors. To describe my vision, I wrote a short narrative after a drive among the hills where I live: in Wisconsin, along the Mississippi, autumn brings a feast for the eyes. I noticed this driving a winding road between the bluffs, rolling and climbing toward the blue sky and then plunging into the valleys below. The mid-green trees displayed sun-kissed touches of yellow, and I even noted an occasional shock of red. Interspersed among the hills were farmlands offering a scene of golden stalks of corn. Around the curve, I observed beige prairie grasses that rolled up and down the terrain.

© Betty Butler, Autumn Colors in a Vase, Digital Collage, 2023

Daffodils Inspire Artists and Poets

  © Betty Butler, Multi-color Daffodils I, Digital Collage, 2023

As a visual artist, I am inspired by daffodils. Then, recently, I was searching for a poem I had read in high school when I stumbled across one of 18th-century William Wordsworth’s poems, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” It is commonly known as “Daffodils.” Reading the poem reminded me of my childhood experience receiving a poetry workbook with spaces to illustrate the poems. I remember vigorously drawing in the pictures. It was so much like that experience, but in reverse; I had just found a companion poem for my new digital art.

It is a poem reflecting the joy and wonder of encountering a host of golden daffodils. I am also inspired by the bright yellow flowers and their visual repetitions of cones, petals, and long stems. Therefore, I arranged them in an exciting composition, photographed them, and played with the elements of color and light. You can read the first two stanzas of the poem below.

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”  
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.  

William Wordsworth
daffodil art
© Betty Butler, Multi-color Daffodils II
daffodils inspire artist and poets
© Betty Butler, Photography of daffodils

Art Accepted in Completely Color 2023 Exhibition

I am honored to be accepted into the Completely Color 2023 virtual exhibition presented by the Inter-Society Color Council. Their stated mission is to connect across disciplines to share knowledge and experience regarding the science, technology and aesthetics of color. The exhibition will be on view during their conference, Color Impact 2023, at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. Later this summer it will be on view on their website, with my work shown in the professional category.

My accepted work, Color Collage, is a digital collage of chrysanthemums in a split-complementary scheme that shifts color from yellow-green to red to purple in an almost rainbow-like manner. Complementary colors are across the color wheel from each other and bring out the intensity in the other. The conference requested a short video from entrants to explore their process. Here is my video, which is only one minute and thirty seconds long.

New Pastel Drawing on Website

art work accepted in completely color 2023 exhibition
© Betty Butler, Amber Pears, Pastel on Paper, 2023

I love the taste and especially the shape of fruit. Readily available, its sensuous curvy lines and strong hues make it an excellent subject for pastel work. As much as I appreciate this produce, these three pears took their toll on me and I almost gave up on this rendition. It turns out the first drawing was not engaging. So, in frustration, I started to compose the pears abstractly on a new sheet of paper and found what was missing. The free-hand abstract pears varied in size, shape, and angle. Therefore, I added some of those components to the first picture, intensified the color, and voila!

Work Included in Krakow Poland Gallery

work included in Karkow Poland gallery

© Betty Butler, Covid Puzzle Unlocked, 2023

I am delighted to be included in the UN-LOCKED virtual exhibition in the Gologorski Art Gallery, Krakow, Poland. The gallery was searching for artistic interpretations of the word unlocked, be it liberate, decipher, unravel, and more.

One of my accepted pieces, Covid Puzzle Unlocked, is seen above. If there ever were a puzzle to untangle, it would be the mystery of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Did it originate as a zoonotic (animal to human) spillover or leak from a laboratory experimenting on bat viruses? And although the COVID–19 is waning, what are its lasting ramifications, and are we ready for the next pandemic? The exhibition will be on view through June 30, 2023.

UN-LOCKED virtual exhibition tour Gologorski Art Gallery

My work on virtual gallery wall. Right, Covid Escape Plan

Color in Winter

© Betty Butler, Yellow Iris, Digital Collage, 14 x 11 in, 2022

Those of us living in the northern climes know winter has dished out its traditional dose of cold and snowy weather. Therefore, I am thinking ahead to warmer days when irises bloom. I began this image with photographs of irises. Then I digitally drew an iris on top of the layered photos. The next question was, what color would the drawn flower become? I chose yellow, the opposite of purple on the color wheel; this opposition brings out the brightest qualities in the other color. I also allowed some violet petals to peek through. Finally, the yellow overlaps and under-laps the black marks to integrate the image.

Interestingly, the iris takes its name from the Greek for rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow. This is possibly about the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species.

Introducing “Pastel Drawings” to my Portfolio

© Betty Butler, Four Green Apples, Pastel on Paper, 8 x 14 in, 2022

As I mentioned in my last blog, I have been drawing and creating pastels of natural forms. While the same principles of color, line, and texture apply, the hands-on work with soft pastels is a nice variation from my digital work. See my pastel drawings portfolio.

Art Work Chosen for Still Life Exhibition

still life
© Betty Butler, Contemplating Chrysanthemums, Digital Collage, 2022

I am pleased to be included in the Texas-based Envision Arts Gallery online exhibition titled Still Life. The chosen still lives range from more traditional to whimsical paintings, photography of expected and unexpected objects, and digital collage.

In Contemplating Chrysanthemums, above, I challenged myself to merge digital drawings and flower photography. To start with, I manipulated the photo to progress outwardly from its black-and-white center to various intense shades of violet. Then, I intermingled the photography with the digitally drawn and painted interpretations of the blossoms for an intricate effect. I decided to enter this image because I could imagine taking these flowers from the garden and placing them on the dining room table for a pleasant accompaniment to dinner.

The exhibition runs through the end of November.

Creating a Still Life in Pastel

still life
© Betty Butler, Five Red Apples, Soft Pastel, 2022

Along with my digital work, I have been drawing and creating pastels of natural forms. This allows me to work out various ideas with line and color. When working strictly in a digital format, I missed the more direct, hands-on work that drawing and working in pastels afford me. At the same time, I have developed ideas while jumping between the two media. Let me know if you would like to see more pastels in the future.