PATRICK BERNARD BUTLER, 1949-
At the dawn of my time I was born in Bloxwich, Staffordshire on 2 August 1949. At the age of three and a half my formal education began at prep school. I went through many different educational establishments and geographical locations until I was able to persuade my parents to allow me to go to art school.
Most of my formative years were spent in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. The estate was extensive and offered all that my brother, two sisters and I wanted or needed. My elder sister was a keen equestrian. At the age of eight my brother started keeping and flying falcons and hawks: becoming a highly accomplished falconer. I often worked with him but lacked the commitment and skill he had. My relationship with the animal world grew to be broadly based, I found sketching and painting the environment hugely rewarding.
The freedom and demands of art school suited me. I moved from Shrewsbury School of Arts to Cheltenham and Gloucestershire University and after much fun, enjoyment and hard work, then onto the Post Graduate School of Painting at Birmingham University.
University was a wonderful experience; the pressure to exhibit was constant and at least one day a week I could lecture at a range of art schools or university departments. This was both rewarding and stimulating and on reflection I’m sure it had a very important impact on my own work. The teaching experiences lead me to Goldsmith’s College, University of London. I was lucky to be able to continue some of my work in art schools and university departments as well as being introduced to school based art education.
I was offered and took a job teaching at a school in Hertford although I was slightly underwhelmed by the opportunity I was excited by the large house that went with it, as at the age of 25 I had just married the wonderful Janette Long.
In 1978 I was appointed Head of Art and Design Technology at a girl’s grammar school in Chatham, Kent, a town with a rich 500 year history both in ship building and as a naval base. Witnessing its fight for survival and subsequent demise was to become another important influence on my work. In 1981 and 1984 our two beautiful daughters Kate and Hannah were born.
Then luck again gave me the time to rekindle my relationship with a number of universities and art schools particularly Goldsmith’s College, University of London, where I tutored post graduate art education students one day a week.
In 1994 I took a two year sabbatical to work at Law with a London Chambers dealing primarily with case preparation. I predominantly worked on child abuse cases. The work and High Court provided me with a rich and textured learning experience. Then another career change; head hunted to become Head of School, with responsibilities for young people with emotional, behavioural, educational and social needs. One school quickly became eleven and at this time I was appointed Director of Education overseeing the process of reintegration, support and maintenance of young people into mainstream education.
In 2007 – early retirement – oh joy! Retirement changed everything; art again became my life, my full-time activity.
I am, both as an artist and human being, fascinated by the multi-layered nature of reality and how our perception and ‘universe’ is socially constructed. We are all determined by society and in turn add to the construction of other people’s reality. Primary is the awareness of our own consciousness and the normative values of all aspects of our being. Although what is acceptable within normative systems guides our everyday life, it implicitly also identifies what is not acceptable within thought and deed. My paintings encompass this by being multilayered to embody a moment in time. I believe the private, the hidden and secret give the paintings authenticity: often the enigmatic title which may, in analysis, assist the experience and also deconstruction of the work.
In reflection life has afforded me a truly rich experience. Art and the awareness of art has always pulsed through my being, changing direction, sometimes faltering but always there. I am now fascinated by my own focus and the ease and speed by which I am inspired to commit to canvas.
My beautiful studio, which houses the heart of my endeavour, has nurtured the production of works for recent exhibitions in London and Athens. I also have a permanent ‘viewing only’ exhibition in Chatham town centre, this ‘Genesis’ exhibition displays my progress as an artist from those early years.
To date the experience has been wonderful, productive and enriching.
Put me together again or I’ll have to work on it again. I love the time, the experience and the interaction with the...
Japanese Girl, Nako! Calm, delicate, peaceful, respectful and balanced. The garden of her delights.
I feel your joy and pain. I hear you cry and sing of love.
So many aspects – but you are all there.
A major battle with yourself – and you are winning.
Out of the darkness – the light of you, yet the darkness of your pain.
When you face the world always do it on your own terms.
On which level do you exist? You are on so many levels – your experience is wide and rich.
Your weeks have not been good yet there is great beauty in your tears.
You are not hiding, you are as nature intended. Keep still.
You, You, You Are all here layer upon layer. To find you is hard, but worth the fight with your perceptual skills.
You fit into nature as if you were part of it. You change colour and the warmth has gone.
Drawing what I know, remember and see. She is more than anyone; and there is more – look.