13 December 2011

The Lighthouse Craft Fair

Saturday is my last craft fair, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll admit that I'm getting to the exhausted stage, what with all the talking and standing, but it's been worth it.

This is the poster for the event on Saturday and it will include not only the fair but artist demonstrations and origami for kids too.

See you there - The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU.

6 December 2011

Christmas Activities

Loch Dochart Winter, mixed media on canvas
This is the time of year when the artist has to sit back and my inner retailer/sales person has to come to the fore. If you want to make a living as an artist, you can't always be precious about your work, and Christmas is just round the corner.

I have to concentrate on all forms of my work, paintings, prints, greetings cards, fridge magnets, key rings and my new notelets. Today, friends and family went into their places of work, very kindly carting some of these items with them, selling to their colleagues on my behalf.

Meanwhile, I spent the morning on the phone speaking to the outlets which already stock my greetings cards and prints to find out if they need more (happily yes). I also contacted one of my local leading high street retailers to see when I would be able to come in in person to sell to their staff (over 100 of them), work that could act as small gifts or stocking fillers - I had already discussed this with the manager a couple of weeks ago.

My website and online shop are up to date and running smoothly, I can accept credit cards and my Google ads are running.

Now I have to just hope that when I post purchases to my customers, the queues in the Post Office don't grind me to a complete hault. While I am standing waiting in line for around an hour (no exaggeration) I hope I can at least plan the next series of paintings I want to start in January, and I really can't wait to start on them.

More abstract ones, using colours that are out of my comfort zone, I think - it'll make for some surprises along the way.

28 November 2011

Extinct, Korean Tiger

Extinct, Korean Tiger
I finished this painting a couple of years ago. It's been hanging in my hall, and I've never exhibited it; I thought it was too different from anything I've done before.

I used all sorts of inks, gold and copper acrylics, glazes and Korean handmade paper (fabulous stuff).
Oh, and the writing is Korean. A lot of the letters are also extinct, like their tigers, and my Korean friends couldn't read it for me. I thought it was fitting. He's on canvas board.

But a couple of weeks ago there was a call for entries to an exhibition for an animal charity. I thought my tiger was appropriate.

And he just sold. I'm delighted, and surprised because he is so unlike my other work.

I now have a gap in my hall that needs to be filled. Yay.

March 2015
Since writing this post, there have been some developments. Yes, this painting was sold, but the gallery never paid me. I have tried to take them to court, but they closed up shop, and then reopened in the same place under a different name. I haven't exhibited since.

22 November 2011

Astronomy Has Landed - At Last

Weightless, oil on board
I've just finished a new painting.

I've been working on it for months.

I mentioned a good while back, in my post Inspiration, that I was going to be working on a series of paintings inspired by astronomy. Well, here's the first one. It turns out that I find working on something abstract very difficult. But I think I got there in the end.

I have used layers of paint to try and get the affects I wanted, letting them dry, scrapping them away with all kinds of tools (a screwdriver included), getting frustrated with the colours I was using and painting them out.

It's such a relief to finish this painting, and I am already really looking forward to working on the next one.

Hopefully, it won't be as painful and frustrating to produce!

15 November 2011

National Trust for Scotland

Holmwood House, a photo I took at the beginning
of December last year. My car got stuck. Ho hum.
It appears that I have a bit of a busy time coming up.

I am booked into the Brodie Castle craft fair on the weekend of 26th and 27th November, as I mentioned in my post Craft Fair.

And now, Holmwood House, another National Trust property, have asked me to take part in their craft fair on the 3rd and 4th December.

As a result of all this activity, and the preparation that has to go into it, I've decided to postpone my Studio Open Day until next year.

A hard decision, but given that I have to do a lot less when it comes to marketing, financially it's the right one, for the moment. And if the fair goes well in December, there is an option to attend the following one at Holmwood House on the 10th and 11th December.

8 November 2011

Open Studio - Mind Map

I can have loads of ideas buzzing about in my head at the same time, and when I am like that, I have difficulty working out what I should be concentrating on. So I draw Mind Maps. Given that I am a visual person, I find it very handy seeing my ideas in a visual format, and it gets them all out of my head and onto paper which is a relief.

Open Studio Mind Map
I start off with one subject, in this case, my Open Studio Day (mentioned in my Immediate Advertising post yesterday), and draw arms for each subject that needs to be dealt with, for example paintings, insurance, merchandise, a date, advertising. Then I start to draw arms from each of these until all my thoughts small or large are on paper (or in the mind mapping software, in my case).

Now that the map is finished (well, for the moment, there is nothing to stop me adding to it), it's up on my studio wall. I've started picking out everything that has to be done, and working out when they need to be dealt with.

It helped me to pinpoint that my poster, and establishing a date round advertising are the first things I need to do.

7 November 2011

Immediate Advertising

I'll change the image to a landscape
next week.
I'm thinking about having an Open Studio Day. It's a bit unnerving, inviting people to see what I do, where I do it, but I think it is the right thing for me at the moment.

In order to do this, I have decided to get my name better known in my local area, and have been working on a load of ideas (I'll fill you in as time goes on).

Here is a poster I am going to be displaying down the road from here. I'll be changing the image on it every week.

1 November 2011


White Tiger
I have just finished this painting of a white swimming tiger.

I originally saw him in Singapore and did a number of drawings of him, as well as taking photos.

Now I need to stop painting and plan my work for the next 2 months.

Oh, and I'm applying for a part time job that looks very exciting - wish me luck!

31 October 2011

Craft Fair

I was selling at a craft fair on Saturday, and spent the week stock taking, making booklets, notebooks and greetings cards getting myself ready for the big day.

This is what my table looked like, and all went well. For me, fairs are just as much about selling as pointing people towards my website and collecting their email addresses for marketing.

I'm hoping that I will be attending another fair through the National Trust at Brodie Castle in time for Christmas at the end of November.

I am now planning my build up to Christmas, and have ideas swirling around in my head, including an Open Studio day in December, craft fairs galore, advertising and offers through my website and of course Christmas exhibitions at galleries.

I'll let you know what I do end up doing, but I'll just have to remember that I can rest in January.

26 October 2011

Lion Painting

Here's a painting I have been working on.  I've called him Simba.

I'm now working on a stag, and when I publish that image, I'll let you know what I've been up to.

11 October 2011

Painting At My Fingertips

Tiger Sunshine
I may have mentioned in the past that I rather like technology, but to tell the truth, I absolutely love it and believe there is room for it as part of an artist's equipment if you aren't too much of a traditionalist.

I can spend hours fiddling about on a computer working on designs trying to get them right, deleting bits that don't work and undoing things until I find the image I liked before I ruined it. So much to my surprise, and utter delight, I got my grubby paws on an iPad; and it took me all of one day to realise I could use it, amongst many, many things, as a sketch book.

Here are some paintings I did with my fingers on the little electronic iPad marvel. It felt wonderful working with my fingertips (and not having to wash up afterwards).

I have been exploring the potential for just a week now and have loads of ideas and possibilities buzzing about in my head already.

As I said before, I love technology.

Thank you Steve Jobs. RIP.

27 September 2011


My work table, not covered in painting materials as it should be,
but with my laptop, and too much paperwork.
I had this blog all planned for you, and then blew it when I accidently deleted the photos I had taken to go with it (I've not been well, and foolishly thought I could write my blog while sick). I was going to tell you all about my craft fair days, but that will have to wait until next month when I have my table set up again at an event and my camera with me.

I have been busy, though, doing paperwork. It has to be done. Being an artist can be so glamorous (raised eyebrows, subtle cough); this is what I have been doing...
  1. Writing up an over long To Do list, and trying to stick to it.
  2. Getting my accounts up to date. Nuff said, yawn.
  3. Sorting out my merchandise (greetings cards, prints etc), reordering where necessary, setting aside items that need to go to galleries and shops and ensuring that my inventory lists are up to date and correct. Sadly, I really like doing this.
  4. Applying for commissions (I wrote about this in my Lead Artist post), and ploughing through all commissioner's paperwork while producing pages of my own for their perusal.
  5. Getting my CV sorted for the Lead Artist applications. Scary task. 
  6. Reading and sorting through marketing information from the company marketing my website. Still waiting to see good results, but things are beginning to happen.
  7. Applying to exhibitions and competitions, and preparing for the associated emotional highs and lows.
  8. Wondering if I should take a chance and enter one of my short stories into a writing competition, but that means I have to do a spot of rewriting. Yes I write, and love it. I'm even working on an illustrated  kids book - more about that in another post.
  9. Getting cross eyed and desperate to start painting and drawing again.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, and am going to be filing all this paperwork away very soon, making way for paints, pastels and anything really messy I can think of. 


26 September 2011


As you saw from my last post, Lead Artist, I have produced a few murals in my past. I thought I would show you some more...

A Beatrix Potter themed nursery. As it was such an unusually shaped room,
 I made it look like the inside of Peter Rabbit's burrow.
Detail of Beatrix Potter mural
Cleopatra's Nightclub, annoyingly I don't have a better photo.
Cleopatra herself is twice life size and no, I don't know what
Hieroglyphs mean.
Fantasy theme
I have many more. Let me know if you would like to see them, and I will pop them up here for you to see.

20 September 2011

Lead Artist

The gym for Sun Microsystems. The sheep were a request as
they were an in joke. Even the bricks you see are painted. 
Mural for a sports mad boy.
I have been busy working over the last 3 weeks, but not on paintings.

A local project is looking for a part time Lead Artist (just for 18 months) and I thought I would apply for it. I have been preparing my CV, researching the area the project is based in and writing a proposal while trying to get my budgeting abilities across on paper - I may be an artist, but amazingly I can balance books too. They want someone who can produce artwork for a wall and gates and who can involve the local community in the process. I am really excited by it, as I feel I can become very involved.

To the right are the kind of thing I have done in the past, always done with the client's requests and ideas in mind. I'll be sending these images and a few more along with my CV and proposal today.

Wish me luck.

16 September 2011


Still of Next by Barry Purves
I know my last post, Inspiration at the Cinema, was also about animation, but I wanted to added a small bit to what I said before.

To me, animation is simply another art form and one I am in awe of because of the patience, thought and skill that has gone into something that (with the exception of the feature films we see at the cinema) generally runs for only a few minutes.

By far and away my favourite is Next by Barry Purves. It is about Shakespeare performing a moment from all of his plays as if he were doing an audition. He packs so much information into such a short period of time, and all done visually. Not a word is spoken. It's brilliant, and so is the music.

Well worth a viewing.


I'm now de-animated.

13 September 2011

Snow Leopard

Here is another one of my animal paintings - the latest one. It's rather large and has been painted in chalk pastel and chalk pencil. The colours are unusual for me, pale greens, greys and blues, but working on him was a very calming and peaceful time. Maybe it had something to do with the magnificent animal that is the snow leopard (they really are magical) or the colour scheme or both, but I was very sorry to finish this one, and although he is framed and ready for exhibition, he is hanging in my home - for now.

If you are interested in more animals, have a look at my website for original paintings, prints, greetings cards, fridge magnets and key rings.

6 September 2011

Inspiration at the Cinema

Kung Fu Panda 2
I love animation, taking every opportunity to go and see the latest offering at the cinema. There I've admitted it. For me it's not about going to see a cartoon (it does have to have a good story, though - I still like to think of myself as somewhat discerning), it's about the visual feast that film makers are offering now-a-days.

I recently saw Kung Fu Panda 2 and although it was entertaining, I am in awe of the work that must have gone into the cityscapes in the background of the storytelling. They were so intricate, unbelievably well research and quite simply stunning to look at. I walked away inspired. The use of colours alone had me wanting to clear everything off my palette and start again with new shades.

The Fountain, this still is a stunning painting all by itself
Although not classed as cartoons, so many films now use animation but they tend to call it computer graphics or special effects. Going back a number of years, Avatar had the same effect on me. The story was OK, but visually, by the end I was completely full up. It's an amazing feeling to have my need for seeing detailed art, beautiful, thoughful design and an artist's imagination put to such strong use.

It is a need. I frequently feel artistically rejuvenated (although mentally squashed if the story isn't that great) after watching films such as The Fountain, Pan's Labyrinth and Inception. My list could go on and on. And on.

For me, inspiration is not just through galleries, the landscape around me or through books of the great artists' works, it's at the cinema too.

30 August 2011

World War Z, Drawing and Brad Pitt

It has been a while since I last posted, summer holidays having taken their toll with my time. I have been painting (a little and I'll show you the results in another post - when I am happy with the work), spending time with family and going on holiday.

But I did do something I've never done before. I have been an extra in the new Brad Pitt Zombie film, World War Z, as they were working on it here in Glasgow; and as an artist, I had a bit of an advantage.

We were not allowed mobile phones or cameras with us (fair enough), but security were happy with me taking my sketchbook, so I did some drawings while I was waiting around. How often do you get to record things from the filming point of view? It was very odd seeing Glasgow all Americanised (or should it be Americanized?), with US street lights, signposts and flags, never mind the yellow taxis (used in my case to shelter from the rain) and large police cars.

Here is one of my quick sketches (and I mean quick).

View towards George Square, with camera.
Oh, and if you want to ask about Brad Pitt, I'll just smile and go all cagey.

21 July 2011

Studio Before and After

I have been doing a bit of sorting out and cleaning. I have a 5 year old son who likes to think my studio is also his. I don't mind him using it, I encourage him, but it's the aftermath of his creations that get too much after a while, and lately he has been into making big things - boats, castles, airplanes and even a surf board with someone standing on it.

The studio, before
So, including my own things, the accumulated dirt caused by chalk pastels, dried bits of paint and heaven knows what else, and my son's bits of paper, I tidied and cleaned. And now, I feel I can get to work, thinking clearly and no longer worrying about stepping on anything lovingly glued by small hands.

The Studio, after
Oh, and if you look closely in the after photo, my son's work has been neatly stored - I find it hard enough throwing away my own work, never mind someone else's.

Now it's time to start on my Universe series of paintings.

12 July 2011


Spiral Galaxy M74, the Hubble website - always well worth a visit
There are certain things I love, and sometimes wonder, if maths and physics had come easily to me, if I would have gone into a completely different field. No painting and drawing, just star gazing and studying the universe with awe.

Where I live, there are so many street lights that I can't see any stars. I have to drive out of town and up a number of hills to see the Milky Way, Orion's Belt (and the galaxies that make up it's sword), the North Star and Mars.

But I have been thinking about using my love of astronomy to inspire a new series of paintings.

I'm oddly a bit nervous about the prospect as I have always used the landscape around me, but if I can't see the stars and our galaxy from my home at the moment (moving is high on the to do list), I think I would like to bring it to me for now.

6 July 2011

Commission 3

I think I am nearly finished. I still want to make changes to the tops of the trees on the left.

I have been keeping my client up to date by email, sending her photos at each stage, and, as I am now nearing the end of the project, have asked my client for comments just to make sure she is happy with her painting.

I now have to wait nervously for her reply.

30 June 2011

Smithy Gallery

I just wanted to share a blog post that I really like. It was written by Natalie Harrison at Smithy gallery on the 21st June.

You can find it here. Enjoy.

29 June 2011

Commission - 2

This is where I have got to now with my commission.

More detail is still needed, but it's coming on.

27 June 2011


I have started working on a commission of a landscape. It's not my usual subject, but I'm really enjoying working on something so different for me...

I'll post installments as I go, making changes my client has asked for, and ones I feel will bring the painting to life.

14 June 2011

June Craft Fairs

Arran Sunset Mounted Print   Tiger Moutned Print
I wanted to let you know that I'm going to be at a couple of craft fairs over the next couple of weeks.

The first is on Saturday 18th June from 10:30am to 4pm at The Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena, 1445-1806 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AW. It is run by The New Arts and Crafts Movement.

The second Craft Fair I will be attending is on Saturday 25th June from 10am to 4pm at the Byres Road Makers Market, Hillhead Library, 348 Byres Road, Glasgow, G12 8AP.

I hope to see you there.

11 June 2011

Art of a Different Kind

I thought I would show you a new project I have been working on. I decided to turn my hand to something a wee bit different, but in my view, it's just as creative as standing working at a canvas.

As you can see from the photo, I baked and decorated a cake, and, using everything I know about colour, I managed to achieve the brightest, edible coral reef I could muster. Everything can be eaten, including the sand.

I'm rather proud of myself (I know, one of the seven deadlies) but I've never made anything like it before.

8 June 2011

New Website - www.tracybutler.co.uk - Tracy Butler Art

I have just launched my new website, and I'm absolutely delighted with the design.

In celebration, I would like to offer you 15% off any of your purchases (including original paintings). All you have to do is type in the code WELCOME at checkout*.

I have new products too - Prints onto Box Canvas and Prints onto Acrylic as well as my usual products - limited edition signed giclee prints, unlimited edition mounted prints, greetings cards, fridge magnets and key rings.

Or you can simply browse the original paintings section to see what I have been up to over the last wee while.

I look forward to your visit, and remember, your code is WELCOME*.

* I'm sorry, but this offer is not available outside the UK.

3 June 2011


I've changed the look of my blog to match my new website - www.tracybutler.co.uk.

What do you think?

1 June 2011

Moonlight Reflection

I've just finished painting Moonlight Reflection. Originally, it was another painting, most of which you can see in image one, but it seemed too flat, and it left me feeling uninspired; so I took it out of it's frame, and set to work thinking I would add more colour and texture, but that's not what happened...

Image 1

Image 1: The painting is oil on canvas, and as it was already browns and pale purples, I continued with those colours for a bit, then decided I hated them and spread flat newspaper all over the canvas (it stuck because of the wet paint), smoothing it with my hands and then lifting it off, taking a good bit of the paint with it.

Image 2

Image 2: I always feel I tie myself too much to an image I have in front of me whether it is a photograph or a sketch, so this time, I just went with the colours, and the types of brushes I was using (lovely big flat square ones), still using the image that had been on the canvas before.

Image 3:  I added more light and felt the painting would benefit from the introduction of yellows and oranges, colours I tend to shy away from when using blues and purples.

Image 4

Image 4:  I use a blending brush quite a lot (it looks like a fan), and enjoyed blending the colours on the canvas - this way, I never know what is going to happen, and end up with colours and shapes I never expected.


Image 5:  The painting still seemed a bit flat, and as it is oil, and the paint can be scraped away if I've made a mistake, I used a lime green that I had bought in Korea, and blended like daft. I used the flat of the brush, and for the first time the edge of it too, which added a wonderful texture to the thick paint. Most excitingly, though, just doing that has given me ideas for a series of paintings that I'm really looking forward to starting on.

Next week, I think.

23 May 2011

Sunset At Morar, 4 and 5 - Finished

I did a bit more work on the painting before the weekend, and on Friday, this is how it looked.

I have since continued working on it today, and have finished it.

18 May 2011

Sunset At Morar 3

I am beginning to build in texture now, layering the paint on thickly, but am a bit hindered by my own idiocy.  I went away for the weekend, and completely forgot to clean my brushes, leaving them out unprotected. As a result, the ones I want to use are soaking away to soften them up for use tomorrow. I find the size of the brushes I use make a big difference to me.

Talking of softening, I now need to do that to the clouds too and the base of the island where it meets the sea, while the same clouds need more light reflecting off them.

Could all be totally different by my next post.

11 May 2011

Sunset At Morar 2

Next Stage - Sunset At Morar
The painting is coming along, I think.

I want to darken the land on the right, bring more definition into the sea. The clouds need more work, softening parts of them and introducing more whispy bits (technical term). The sunset behind the island needs more thought.

Tomorrow, I'll sit for a while and have a good look before I do anything, because not seeing the painting over night often helps me to work out my next steps.

10 May 2011

Sunset At Morar 1

First stage - Sunset at Morar
Well, I'm a much happier girl now. As I said in my last post, New Start, Old Painting, I started again, and it seems to be working. To me it does anyway.

I've used large oil paint brushes (to stop me going into too much detail), shifted the land down to the bottom third of the canvas and am going to allow the orange from the original painting to show through behind the island in the background.

More tomorrow.

9 May 2011

New Start, Old Painting

Cartwheels Until Sunset
You may remember the post I made about a new painting, A New Painting - Loch Garry 1. Well, it has been just sitting in my studio, unloved and unworked on because I simply can't get enthusiastic about it - at all.

So, I've put it away, cleaned up all my pastel pencils, gauche and mixed media bits and pieces, and I've got all my oils out again.

I'm going to rework the painting on the right as feel I have improved since I painted it - and I already have a frame for it.

I want to liven up the islands in the distance, stop the land in the foreground from looking as though it is just floating about, add more interest to the sea, soften the sky and change a lot of the colour.

Well, that's what I think for the moment.  I'll keep you up to date... 

28 April 2011

Time for a Catch Up

My page on ArtGallery.co.uk
There is no denying it, it's been a while. I have been painting, but all my efforts are now on the surface of eggs which have been duly rolled down the nearest hill.

One thing I have done that isn't small and egg shaped, is add my details to a website called artgallery.co.uk. I have my own page on it, and can sell my artwork in all it's forms through it. I decided to add just my mounted prints and one or two paintings, and rather handily, when I sell something, I get a text letting me know. I've had it set up for a week, and I've already sold.

Rather good. Can you tell I'm pleased?

Let me know what you think.

8 April 2011

Stained Glass Effect

Bluebell Sunburst, oil on canvas, 40 x 40cm (16 x 16")
Just a quickie.  I wanted to let you see one of the paintings I am exhibiting at Smithy Gallery from the 17th April. Arran Sunset, the painting depicted in my last post, Defeated (good grief how much more negative a title could I have written), has been sold.  Wayhay.

Bluebell Sunburst is a wee bit different for me as I haven't blended the colours in the canopy of trees, but I like the effect of the layers of paint one on top of the other and the way the branches of the trees look a bit like stained glass.

I painted this before my new mixed media paintings, and I can see how it's influenced certain aspects of them.

However, now that Spring has sprung, it's time for me to turn to subjects other than bluebells and snowdrops.  I'm off to the North East of Scotland tomorrow for inspiration and wide open skies.