Arkansas painter Dave Butler has been painting looser lately, and it’s no coincidence that this is happening as the leaves are turning vibrant colors.
Lead Image: “Road to Fall,” by Dave Butler, oil, 8 x 10 in.
“We have a lot of green here in Arkansas,” says Butler. “Other times of year, you don’t have as much of a chance to explore your warmer hues. When fall pops around, it’s a great opportunity to experiment with yellows and oranges. I really like to go with a broader brushstroke rather than get into the detail of it all. I can go for a different aspect or look, more of an impressionistic style. There’s a narrow range of colors in summer and spring. There’s such a broad spectrum of colors in fall — vibrant reds, oranges, and some pinks too. If you look hard, you see them, and when you squint, you see some as well.”
Butler finds the fall colors and impressionist style liberating. “It’s more enjoyable; it’s more fun,” he says. “I can play with it a bit, bring in colors that I usually don’t use as much, like purples in the shadow areas. That creates more contrast. At the same time, I don’t need to get into rendering all the branches because the viewer can easily interpret what I am trying to get across. I really want the viewer to fill in the blanks, let their imagination pull in what they view in those areas. I don’t have to be so literal.”