Nora Butler is fascinated with the "natural world" and the infinite combinations of pattern, color and design found within the realm of marine and desert life.
Beginning with a classic shape of the subject, she artfully marries surrealistic whimsy and scientific realism in designing the subject's interior. She includes elements from the creature's environment, as well as abstract images and imaginative designs that "just tend to appear in my mind's eye."
Nora's work has been described by careful observers as "pictures within a picture."
The vivid colors found in each of her creations are obtained by blending colored pencils with a bold amount of fantasy.
Interview with Nora
How long have you been creating this style of artwork?
"When I was very young, my favorite thing to do was "color". I had stacks and stacks of coloring books and a huge box of crayons, and I prided myself on "staying within the lines". But, I became bored with the pictures inside the coloring books. So, I began decorating the pictures with my own imagination. A queen's dress would take on fanciful details, and I would add some jewelry here and there.
Later, in middle and high school, I constantly "doodled" and loved decorating my book jackets and folders with mind boggling details that distracted my classmates from the boring lectures! So, my style of art is an evolution from a childhood of coloring and doodling!"
Why do you choose the subject matter of Florida's flora and fauna?
"As a child, I spent my summers on an island (Sanibel), before the word "condo" even existed. Every day was spent fishing and shelling. Because I was nearsighted, I spent hours hovering over a square foot of sand, picking out miniature perfect shells. Exploring the island, I would encounter wildly colorful grasshoppers and lizards. My father was an orchid collector and we would wade through the island forest searching for orchids amid the clouds of mosquitoes. So, inevitably I grew to love and appreciate the many variations of pattern and design found within the creatures I encountered. The gradual loss of nature to development has made this appreciation even stronger, knowing how fragile it is."
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How long does it take you to complete a drawing?
"Most drawings are finished about a month after they're started."
Where did you study art?
"I was an art student at University of South Florida, in Tampa, but consider myself to be self-taught."
What do you want to achieve as an artist?
"I want to create art that people can relate to, and react to with amusement, delight, and intrigue. I want to encourage people to stop and really LOOK at the details within, because all too often we go through life in a hurry, without really knowing how to observe and appreciate what is around us. In each of my drawings I seek to achieve the simplicity of good design while incorporating the complexity of the world we live in."