Edward A. ButlerPainter
“The first virtue of a painting is that it be a feast for the eyes.”
Edward A. Butler
For me, the most difficult part of any painting comes when it is finished, and I have to say something about it. When I put a blank canvas up on my easel to begin work, I am only thinking about the picture, not its meaning. I do not believe it has to have a meaning. Delacroix said: “The first virtue of a painting is that it be a feast for the eyes.” That is more than enough to achieve.
Still, here I will try to elaborate. My artistic vision is not fixed in one lane of painterly expression. I am neither portraitist nor landscape artist, abstractionist or still life painter though at times I have been each of them. My attention is given for a time to a particular thing, usually resulting in a series of paintings, and then I am drawn to something else which will become the next series. If I finish a series, landscapes for example, it does not mean I will never return to landscapes, just that I will be elsewhere for a while.
Painting for me is a process of selection and dismissal. I endeavor to accept nothing that fails to please the eye. Within that framework I can be quite literal or work from a mix of educated observation and fantasy. When I am successful the result, the finished painting, should seem inevitable.
Even though I always wish to please the eye I do believe that the artist's responsibility is to art, not the audience. Maybe that is why I find the artist's statement so difficult.