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The Lake

Here in Minnesota, we are at the zenith of the green and blue world that is summer.  In Minneapolis, we have a park system that connects a chain of lakes to the river. Many of those lakes were once wetlands with an open pool, we busy humans broadened and deepened the pools into lakes and are now acknowledging the job of the wetlands as a filter and an ecosystem. So it is possible to stand at the edge of the water and hear the rustle of the grasses the buzz of insect life and chirrups of frogs and fishing birds.   I’ve tried to capture that aliveness with my layered art piece.

summer lake
Summer Lake 59 x 26

Because we all know that winter will come and though it has its own gifts I wanted to capture this green world I love so you can have it all year long. Paying attention to the living world and in my art composing means that the green world is always with me. I’ve made this piece as a celebration of the colors and textures I experienced and to pass it on to you the viewer. 

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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.