Studio Session with Elizabeth Butler

Helena WegnerOctober 2019
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Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon

Painting flowers came naturally to Elizabeth Butler, a Phoenix-based artist who has been creating for more than 10 years. Butler learned most of her technical skills at Mesa Community College and then earned a bachelor’s degree in figure painting at Arizona State University. “I started realizing [that] the only time I felt like myself, or that I felt good or OK, was when I was making art,” Butler says. She gravitated toward florals because she says flowers and human beings share the same complexity. “I found them [flowers] extremely complex – one of the most complex subjects that I could find,” Butler says. “They have a translucency and transparency, and then a delicacy and a power that, to me, reminds me of femininity or the female body and the female form.” People may interpret flowers as cute and sweet, but she views them as “powerful” and “bold… They fight through the elements.” When Butler is not in her studio, she is on the road exhibiting her artwork at shows across the country. Her work is permanently displayed at Good Art Company in Fredericksburg, Texas, and Gallery Piquel locations in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Lambertville, New Jersey.

1 Palette

Butler grew up watching her aunt paint portraits and still lifes. She keeps her aunt’s palette in her studio as a meaningful reminder of her “lineage of artists.”

2 Oil Essence

Instead of using toxic solvents, Butler prefers Chelsea Classical Studio Lavender Spike Oil Essence when thinning her oil paints.

3 Oil Paints

The artist says she’s led by color. She loves highly saturated colors from Gamblin Artists Oil Colors.

4 Imitation Gold Leaf

Butler incorporates Nazionale Battitura Metalli imitation gold and silver leaf to add depth and complexity. “I like having that kind of shine through the whole piece.”

5 iPad

Paintbrush in hand, Butler likes to listen – and even dance – to Latin music to get her energy flowing. “Sometimes music helps me get into that place where I am a little more loose and a little more free to just communicate with this creative energy that’s within me.”

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