By Jenna Goff
Kerry Butler started painting when he was a boy.
“I was always drawing in class, starting at the age of 5,” said the Peachtree Hills artist. “So my parents gave me a paint-by-numbers kit and then a paint set, and it only progressed from there.”
While pursuing other jobs and moving around the East Coast, Butler consistently painted. “Whatever I was into, I was still doing art,” he said.
Now, Butler’s passion has produced over 300 paintings. Many are being showcased at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve Art Gallery until Aug. 29.
His work is fitting for such a gallery. “I’ve always believed that I was reincarnated from a tree, because I love trees,” Butler said. “So naturally my work features a lot of trees, landscapes and nature scenes.”
Butler’s depiction of animals attracted people at the gallery to his artwork. “Many of the paintings we’re exhibiting have animals in them that you can find here at the preserve,” said Nancy Jones, Blue Heron director.
While Butler is mainly moved by nature, he also finds inspiration from his extensive collection of used books. He will often find a photograph that he likes and create a painting off of it.
“I take bits and pieces from photographs and then add what I see is missing,” Butler said. “The paintings then just kind of come together.”
In one such piece, he painted a sun-streaked evening sky from one photograph, and then added details such as a church from other photographs. The end result was entirely Butler’s own. “I want to be in most of my good paintings,” he said.
Over the years, Butler has experimented with a range of different mediums. “I first fell in love with oils,” he said. “But I’ve also been into acrylic and watercolors.”
No matter the medium, Butler’s paintings show his attention to detail. “I love the way he blends colors,” Jones said. “All of his work is colorful and realistic.”
Butler said that most of this technique comes intuitively. “I knew things about painting without being taught,” he said.
He explained his motivation to paint in a similar way. Even with the many that come from work, family and other hobbies, Butler said has always found himself drawn to painting.
“I can’t explain it so much in words,” he said. “It’s just something I’m driven to do.”
Butler’s artwork is on display now until Aug. 29 at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Visit www.bhnp.org for more information.
Where: Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road, Buckhead
When: Through Aug. 29
How much: Free
For more info: 404-345-1008, www.bhnp.org