3 December 2014


I am exhibiting in two group shows just now. Given that I haven't exhibited for 3 years (if you want to know why - or can't remember, have a look at this embittered post), to have 2 exhibitions on the go at the same time is both a great thing and very unnerving.

If you are in the Glasgow area, go and have a look. The first exhibition is at Smithy Gallery and the second is at the Eastwood Park Gallery.

Smithy Gallery

 You are welcome to come along and have a look.

19 November 2014


One of the pages from my sketchbook.
I've been spending my days at Edinburgh Zoo, and it's been brilliant.

When I look at the map, I realise just how little of it I have explored so far. With each visit, I find I tend to concentrate on just a few animals in the same area - last time, it was the rhinos, pandas and penguins. I drew, sketched and scribbled, taking photos in between. I watched the pandas prowl (on the rare occasion they weren't asleep), the penguins dive and swim, the rhinos heat themselves in the sun.

I feel energised and more enthusiastic about my work than I have in years.

I love going to the zoo!

5 November 2014

Rhino, Fading Into Black

Every time I finish a painting, I stand back and realise that I have to name my work. I always find it a struggle, but this time I got there with ease. I have spent weeks studying this rhino, and all I can think about is how close he is to extinction - fading away as time goes on, and into black shadows when there are none left.

Rhino, Fading Into Black, chalk pastel on board, 59 x 42.5 cm (23 x 16.5 ")

22 October 2014


I have finished a new painting. It's chalk pastel on board, and considering it's my first one for 3 years, I think it's a good start.

He's called Hunter. Your opinion would be appreciated.

8 October 2014


I have started to paint wildlife again, and feel that I am home.

However, I do have one major obstacle - access to the wildlife in the first place. Seeing them in their natural environment would be one way to do it, of course, but heading off on safari whenever I need inspiration can be more than a wee bit pricey. Zoos are also an option  - Edinburgh Zoo isn't too far, nor are the Highland Wildlife Park and Blair Drummond Safari Park.

Edinburgh Zoo Website

These are always a worth while visit where I can get good sketching done and the occasional decent photograph, but I find them limiting for a multitude of reasons, not least the emotional wrench I feel at seeing caged animals, no matter how well looked after.

This is where I turn to the internet. I trawl through thousands of stunning photographs, professionally taken, of gorilla after elephant after tamarin monkey after giraffe with sun drenched vistas or dripping jungles in the background. All of them incredibly inspiring, but all of them copyrighted and belonging to the photographer; so I turn detective and track down the owner.

Asking permission is always high on my list. I feel no guilt about painting from photographs as I can't always come face to face with the animal I wish to capture, but I feel very uncomfortable using someone else's work to produce my own without their knowledge. Sometimes they say no, sometimes they don't reply...

...And when I get a yes, I get to work.

27 September 2014

Tracy Harrison Butler Gallery Website

I have, at long last, an up and running website. I built it myself, and after much frustration have a working site that I'm rather pleased with - who knew that capital letters in file names could cause heartache and sleep loss?

I've decided to concentrate mainly on my wildlife here. Let me know what you think - Tracy Harrison Butler Gallery.

27 May 2014


This is a portrait I have been working on. It still has a way to go, but I thought you would be interested in seeing it as it is just now...

I am working on him in Photoshop.

15 May 2014

Life Drawing

I mentioned in my previous post - Update, News and Outlander - that I was making changes, and taking my art in a new direction; well, on Tuesday night I took the plunge, and attended a life drawing class. As I looked around at everyone setting up drawing boards and easels, I realised that it was 15 years since I last attended one.

To warm up we did a series of 10 1 minute poses, then a 5 minute one, a 10 minute one and finally a pose that lasted 40 minutes. I'd forgotten how important the warm up is - it helps to get your mind settled, your hand working and, for me, a little extra time to dispense with the nerves.

Here's one of my sketches - and I can already see loads of mistakes and changes I would like to make...

Life drawing by Tracy Butler

...but it's a start.

I'll be going back in a couple of weeks.

8 May 2014

Update, News and Outlander

It has been a while, to put it lightly, since I last posted; but I have been busy. And I realise that the last time I published anything was almost 2 years ago. Since then I...

...have made a lot of cakes...

...have been writing, and had a few things published...

...have been illustrating a book...

...and ultimately, have been working on an American TV series called Outlander based on the books by Diana Gabaldon (a Starz production). I worked within Breakdown and Dye in the costume department, where I took blow torches, cheese graters, mud and paint (among many other things) to costumes, making them look worn, loved, abused or just old. Here is the trailer.

A still from Outlander

In all the months I worked there, having a ball, I realised that I didn't give my cakes a second thought, but I really missed my art.

Soooooo, I'm starting again, with my paintings. However, I have had time (2 years) to think about my work, and things are going to change, my approach, tools, materials, subjects and general outlook.

I have a lot to do in order to get up to a standard I am happy with as I am making a lot of changes.

If you if will keep me company along the way, I will keep you up to date.