Educated at Kent State University and The Savannah College of Art and Design, Curt Butler received both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Fine Art. After graduating, he moved to Gastonia, North Carolina.
Curt considers himself an artist who teaches and shares his knowledge with other aspiring artists. He has taught at various art schools including Braitman Studio, Gaston Day School, Gaston College, and Gaston School of the Arts.
He has been asked to conduct guild workshops throughout North Carolina that have been attended by both art students as well as professional artists. “I enjoy sharing my passion and knowledge with others to create a journey for someone else.” In 2002, he was honored with the Teacher of the Year Award at Gaston Day School for his outstanding teaching abilities.
In 2006, he started his own business, Butler Studio, where he works on paintings for galleries, businesses, and private collectors. Curt creates approximately 90 to 120 paintings each year.
Butler’s current work is a mixture of oil paint and encaustic painting techniques. These techniques have afforded him the opportunity to experiment within the realm of mixed media. His paintings are often layered with multiple colors combinations that enhance the surface, creating a tactile effect. The textures are rich with both brushstroke and palette knife work. His paintings seem to come together at a distance with his imagery, and yet, work on a purely abstract level as you approach them.
Most of his work is based in landscape yet it is not rooted in a particular place, but instead speaks to a general mood or feeling he has experienced from being surrounded by nature. His larger work envelopes you and is a powerful statement on any wall. His style is current with contemporary thoughts about the flat abstract nature of the picture plane versus the illusion of space; and he skillfully balances both ideas into a singular piece. His bold loose strokes seem to melt off the painting and at times, drip, as if there is something more meaningful beyond the mere image.
What is Oil and Encaustic on Canvas?
The word encaustic literally means to “burn in” and encaustic painting has been around since the early 1800s; and it was originally developed by ancient Greek shipbuilders who used the method to fill the cracks in the hulls of their ships. Soon after, they decided to experiment with putting pigments in the wax to create a painted surface: an art form was born.
Encaustic painting has seen resurgence in the work of Modern Art, most notably in the works of 20th-century American artist, Jasper Johns. Recently, encaustic and encaustic techniques are more popular than ever due to their workability with mixed media and other multiple layering techniques. Artists are using electric irons, hotplates, and heated stylus on a variety of different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery.
“I enjoy the play of carving back into the wax with a palette knife to create different textures, or a single line of a telephone pole. Heating up the wax allows me to fuse layers of paint to create a surface that is varied and complex. Each layer must be carefully fused to the next to ensure there is no cracking. Stand oil is routinely applied to the wax to give it a little flexibility and makes it possible to work on a canvas surface rather than board. I sometimes put the wax and pigment on cold and melt it with a heat gun, and at other times, I start with a hot wax directly on the canvas. I have found these techniques feel very sculptural in nature. At times, I am building up the surface and at other times, I am subtracting or carving into the surface of the paint. Encaustic painting with oil has given me the emotional response that I am currently seeking in my work. To be able to suggest a subject rather than illustrate it, to literally feel the surface of the paint and to be able to engage the viewer from a distance, and yet retain them when they are close are all reasons I choose to work the way I do.”