"I came to better understand and connect with the paintings of southern France by painters like Van Gogh and Cézanne. I was able to feel the warmth and appreciate the colours of the very same environment they experienced."
—Randy Butterfield, artist
There is something about travel that invites us to see things differently. I spent the better part of 1999 in Scotland. The Scottish landscape was mesmerizing, especially the Isle of Skye.
Skye is a wonderful place for a painter. The name is well-suited as the sky seems to always be moving and with that movement the sun peaks through the clouds every now and then, casting a very dramatic light on the landscape.
Skye makes me think of Lawren Harris's paintings "Morning Light, Lake Superior" and "From the North Shore, Lake Superior". Both of those paintings have the quality of light that Skye has as well as the same rugged terrain.
I really felt a connection to the Scottish landscape. It might be because I grew up in Saskatchewan with those never ending prairie vistas or maybe it's my Scottish roots as my mother was a McLeod and my great grandfather came from the Western Isles.
Artist studio - Montpeyroux, France (Bronwyn Butterfield)
Fast forward to 2009 when I took a self-funded leave from my teaching job at Red River College
. Our family spent the year in a tiny village called Montpeyroux
in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Every day we enjoyed walks through the vineyards and the hills, just steps outside our village. We were situated at the foot of the Cévennes Mountains
and beyond them you could see forever.
Being in France for an extended period allowed me to observe the changing seasons. Vineyards turn bright orange and yellow in the fall. Winter can be dark and monochromatic. And spring brings fields of poppies, wild flowers and bright yellow mimosa bushes. I came to better understand and connect with the paintings of southern France by painters like Van Gogh
. I was able to feel the warmth and appreciate the colours of the very same environment they experienced.
Randy Butterfield, France 2010 (Bronwyn Butterfield)
I really enjoyed having concentrated time to work on my paintings. Our life in Winnipeg is very hectic and the slower pace of French village life suited me just fine. After getting the kids to school, I'd head straight to my studio and work for most of the day. It's amazing how much you can get done with that kind of concentrated time.
Now that I'm back in Winnipeg, I still paint landscapes of Scotland and France. I paint these landscapes because they connect me to those places that I love so much.Randy Butterfield's show, Montpeyroux: Paintings of France & Europe is on at the Fleet Galleries March 12 - March 30.