Artist's Statement by Ron Buttler
From the time that a man or woman first picked up a piece of charcoal or crushed some berries into a pigment and made a drawing on a cave wall, man has created art for the sheer enjoyment of creating it, and in many cases for the joy of those viewing and appreciating it.
I learned at a very early age that I could experience that joy. I saw that I could draw or paint something and it would look like what I was drawing or painting. When I was in first and second grade, I would paint pictures of animals and the teachers would hang them around the classroom.
After finishing high school and two years of college, responsibilities like family and work came to the fore, and art was put in the background. But after taking an oil portrait painting course in the early 1970s with a local art guild, my love for art, particularly making paintings in oil, was renewed. For the next thirty or more years I painted in oil as a hobby. During that time I was laid off from my job at General Electric on occasion, and I was able to study art history and painting and take other courses at Empire State College in New York.
Those studies helped me to appreciate why art and painting have changed over the years. For instance, I learned that, after the invention of the camera, some artists felt they had to do something new, something that couldn’t be produced by a camera. Photography can be an art form in itself, but painting started to take a new direction with the Impressionists and other early 20th Century artists. Texture and the way colors interacted took on importance. Impressionism led to surrealism, abstract expressionism, abstract art and other styles of painting.
In this same spirit, I sometimes try to create a scene that is surrealistic or fantastic. Some of my paintings also show aspects of abstract expressionism.
I enjoy working in oils more than any other medium. I love the smell of oil paint, which is a pigment mixed with linseed oil. I like the way different colors blend very easily. You can work wet paint into wet paint very effectively or you can set a painting aside, let it dry – sometimes for years –and then pick it up and work on it again. Oil paintings will last, as can be seen from some of the masterpieces created centuries ago.
In 2006, circumstances aligned to allow my wife, Valerie, and me to move from the great white cold north of upstate New York, to the sunny hot South in Aiken, South Carolina.
Moving here, I was happy to find a thriving, busy, art community. I appreciate especially the many local art guilds in Aiken and the surrounding communities, for it was at a local art guild that I was introduced to the joy of oil painting.