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Deep Colors of Summer

Eloise Butler
From the woods to the prairie. 

It happens so suddenly, the bright soft colors of spring, enter days of rain, and then on the next bright morning, the green world has unfurled itself. There is deep shade under the canopy of trees in full leaf. Plants shoot up and unfurl, hiding the mulchy ground they sprang out of earlier in the spring. Last year’s leaves and stalks are quietly turning into soil with the help of insects and microbes.  It positively hums with life, this beautiful place we live.   

And in the studio, I need more pigment in my wet paint pours, as my eye wants the richness I am living in. 

the table
The table with poured paint on layers of fabrics and papers under stones. 


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Place + Making


I grew up in small Midwest towns, spending summers on my grandparent’s farm with
people who noticed the world. “Look at that” I’d hear, and be directed to gaze at elements of the landscape we were standing in.

that bark, that shadow, that bird, flower, tree, that dappled dancing light on the water.

I built a visual vocabulary by noticing and selecting what my eye loves.
These teachers were also makers, but that’s another story.
My challenge and constant endeavor is to come close to having my makers hands adequately express what my eye adores.
40 years of practice has helped. I have heard viewers say of my work,
as a gallerist did the other day: “It captures the mood as well as the visual–lovely!”

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January into February

In the new year I sit at the window                              

 studio #303

of my warm studio looking at
a cold dessert in a built landscape.
The plants where I live have died back
or gone dormant.
It’s a waiting time.

It’s that quiet space in my year
when the new work shows up.

I gather my materials, my sketches, my photos of the green world. I add to them my curiosity, my concerns, my feelings, my itch to make something of all this.  


I pile them all on my big white tables, piles of texture, piles of color, drifts of ideas. Then add the threads, my continuity. The new work is tied to the old work, always by love of place. And, love of a sort of dancing line and the light, light, light, always present in my world.
I am always looking for a fresh way to express it in my work.






 The finding begins, & images emerge.








There more is to come. I am building a show to open on Earth Day April 22 @ the Carriage House 3rd floor gallery in NE Minneapolis. The show opens on the same day as the Scientists March on Washington. The images that are perking up are from my autumn visit to the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area near Forest Lake. A place where science & nature meet to understand and preserve our environment.  I begin again in the cycle of my creative year. 


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Surfaces that speak of the Earth.

fiber and paper creating
Surfaces that speak of the earth, my art is made of layers.



Each layer a surface I have created.
I use water, pigments, & fluid dynamics.
The weave of the cloth, the tooth of the paper, each accepts, or resists,
shaping the marks.
Compression, heat, evaporation, & chemistry, make their impressions.
My art is made of surfaces invoked by process,
then composed in layers by an attentive eye.
To show you what I see: Earth.
Her systems make beautiful change on her surfaces daily.
Just look. 

I share my experience with process and creating in two classes I teach each winter.  Jump here  right now to get the details! They start next week!