Category Archives: Fine Art

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

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

PASTEL DRAWINGS
© 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

PASTEL DRAWINGS
© 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.

Exhibiting at Toronto Gallery

Toronto gallery
(c) Betty Butler, I Can’t Breath, Digital Collage, 2020

I am honored to show my work in the online exhibition titled Collage at the John Aird B. Art Gallery, Toronto, ON, Canada. The project showcases contemporary Canadian and international artists’ handmade and digital collage-based works. The jurors were Ken Moffat, Canadian author of Troubled Masculinities: Reimaging Urban Men, and Toronto-born artist Sebastein Miller, whose recent work is entitled Civil Disobedience. Ideas for my chosen work, I Can’t Breathe (detail above) came to me as I heard George Floyd’s last words, which echoed the words of seriously ill and dying COVID-19 patients.

Contemplating Chrysanthemums

Mums or Chrysanthemums are the quintessential flowers of autumn. In anticipation of the season, I have been photographing, drawing, and digitally collaging them all summer. The left image, Portrait in Line and Color, includes a photo and drawing layered upon it. I am intrigued by the visual back-and-forth between the two media. In the right image, Color Collage, I added some drawn elements, but it is primarily a digital montage of photographic color shifts. Finally, I hope this colorful time of year brings you joy and serenity.

Exhibiting Primary Colors

(c) Betty Butler Color in Profile, Digital Collage, 2021

I am excited to announce my acceptance of the image Color in Profile (above) into the photography-digital category of the Exhibition of Primary Colors at Light Space and Time Online Gallery. The juror was seeking original work that included any combination of the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) from which all other colors are mixed.

Many great minds have theorized how colors form, mix and evoke human emotions. Surprisingly, not all theories came from artists, but also from scientists such as Sir Isaacs Newton (law of gravity) and literary figures like the acclaimed German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Newton experimented with shining white light through a prism against a wall. He discovered it break into a rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. On the other hand, Goethe’s treatise, Theory of Colours, focused on many personal color observations. Finally, this book and others were read with great enthusiasm by contemporary painters, particularly Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh, who put the theories into practice in their paintings.

The Black and White of Color

(c) Betty Butler, Color in High Contrast, Digital Collage, 2021

Some color theorists name white as the combination of all color and black as the absence of all color.   As I was working on a collage with flowers from the same photo shoot, I had the impulse to void them of color. So, I changed them from their natural color to a high contrast of black and white with a Photoshop filter. At times I am visually attracted to high-contrast images with touches of color. Therefore, I digitally painted colors into a few of the flowers. I hope you find the effect intriguing.

colour

London Gallery Exhibits Colour

I am very pleased to be accepted into the online exhibition, Colour, July 15 – August 14, 2021, Tebbs Contemporary Art Gallery, London UK. My chosen works are pictured at the very top.

Check out the fast-paced video catalog of the many vivid artworks. I also had the opportunity to be interviewed for the exhibition on ZOOM. After a short talk about my work, guest viewers had some provocative questions for me. For example, one participant asked if I consciously chose to retain my painterly style when I shifted from canvas to digital art. I answered that painting had certainly informed the digital work to come.

One good question from another participant was how I obtained my photographs, i.e., the internet? I answered no, I took them myself, as to avoid copy right conflicts. I have taken many photos of natural subjects close to home and others on travel overseas.

Continuing with this topic, I explained that some of the photographs, such as the seahorses, were posed close-ups. With Photoshop, I silhouetted the shapes and filled them with color. I expressed that one benefit of digital collage is that an artist can use a poignant shot in various places in different works.

Someone asked about my artistic path, and I described my journey from fine arts to graphic design and back again, noting that I had learned different things from both disciplines.

It was quite an interesting experience chatting with and answering questions of artists across the globe.

At the very top are my five works chosen for the exhibition at Tebbs Contemporary Art Gallery. Clockwise: Australian Fires, Shelter in Place, Colorful Seahorses, Kangaroo Escape, I Can’t Breathe.

Joyful Blossoms

joyful blossoms
(c) Betty Butler, Joyful Blossoms, Digital Collage, 2021

These chive blossoms were the perfect subject for my new collage series because I love color, pattern, and oval shapes. I was intrigued by the sense of whimsy these botanicals demonstrated as they sprung from the earth. In addition, the flowers are environmentally friendly, attracting bumblebees. They are even edible, adding a mild garlic flavor to food. Finally, to complement the beauty of these florals, I added green and purple graphic elements.

For me, this colorful cluster represents the joy of spring and summer coming forth. At the same time, they are analogous to our new path; the need for social distance is lessening, and people are gathering again.

A Cautionary Tale

joyful blossoms
(c) Betty Butler, Lurking, Digital Collage, 2020

Yet, let other countries tell a cautionary tale. Early in 2021, the government of India imposed few restrictions on crowds because they thought the virus had peaked. Then the latest COVID-19 Delta variant appeared, and illness increased rapidly. It is more contagious and affects younger people in more significant numbers than the original virus. Of course, many counties also lack access to the vaccines that we have.

Lurking (above) is also composed of purple and green colors but has a more somber tone and feel. I created it in October 2020, when we were in the thick of the pandemic. This image blends thistle foliage with a portrayal of the coronavirus. These spiky, intertwining plants could be symbolic of a place where the virus still lurks among us.

Bold and Colorful

https://bettybutler.net
(c) Betty Butler Fiery Winter, Digital Collage, 2021

I am pleased to be among the artists accepted into the online exhibition Bold and Colorful, hosted by Exhibition Without Walls. The curator states that “with our world being so negative, we thought that we would like to brighten up things a little by having an exhibition that was upbeat in terms of images as well as audio. The title “Bold and Colorful” speaks to this as well.”

One of my accepted images is Fiery Winter (top.) I infused a snowy, hilly scene with glowing yellow, red and purple, while the trees remain a dark, bold black. One of my viewers commented that the yellow emanating from the houses gave her hope in a time of darkness.

Colorful Tulips

Soon, spring will be here, and like tulips blooming, I am feeling the hope of people coming together again…

Bold and Colorful
(c) Betty Butler, Tulip Calligraphy, Digital Collage, 2021

I created a new digital collage with the concept of bold and colorful in mind. To do this, I blended pink tulips with a strong calligraphic-like line drawing. Soon, spring will be here, and like tulips blooming, I am feeling the hope of people coming together again, as more of us have access to the vaccine and COVID-19 rates go down.