Artist Eleanor Louise Butt describes her paintings as visual ‘dialogues’, weaving memory and story into her energetic brushstrokes.
‘The initial stroke of paint is akin to an opening sentence in a conversation, from there the rest will flow,’ Eleanor explains. It’s not always easy, and sometimes the outcome is unexpected, but there’s always a sort of ‘resolution’.
‘Some works take weeks or months to complete, and others might be done in a few hours – each work is different. I don’t pre-plan my works so each is a mystery that unfolds with the process,’ she adds. This intuitive, back-and-forth process has dominated the artist’s life in recent months, as she’s worked towards her upcoming solo show at Melbourne’s Nicholas Thompson Gallery.
Eleanor works from her home and accompanying studio in Kallista, spending hours shuffling between multiple paintings at a time, often listening to her 40-plus hour playlist of music to help her get in a ‘painting frame of mind’. Everything from vintage books to daffodils are meaningful references dotted around her space, integral to her process.
‘[My studio] has wonderful afternoon light,’ Eleanor says. ‘The large window overlooks our garden and the mountain ridge above us. I love that my practice is so integrated with our daily lives. Wet paintings hang on the walls of our living spaces to dry, and I can step in and out any time of day or night.’
And after working on ‘All that which sings’ for the entirety of this year, the artist’s home is now completely full of paintings! The works showcase Eleanor’s distinctive, gestural painting techniques, which consist of layering oil paint onto canvas with brushes, rags and even directly from the tube. It makes for a body of work that is uniquely emotive – in large part thanks to her distinctive yellow colour palette. Varying hues of marigold, sunshine yellows and mustard are mixed with deeper, moodier tones in these artworks, which will appear alongside her sculptural works when the exhibition opens later this week.
‘The title piece is probably my favourite, but they all have their place,’ she adds. ‘I will miss living with these paintings as they’ve been slowly filling our home this past year.’ The showcase is wonderfully abstract, with poetic artwork titles that allow you to draw your own meanings from Eleanor’s intriguing and beautiful creations.
See ‘All that which sings’ at Nicholas Thompson Gallery from September 17 until October 8. For previews and price lists please contact the gallery via email or phone.
Nicholas Thompson Gallery
155 Langridge Street
Collingwood, VIC 3066