Profile of <span>James Butler</span>
Tel
(802) 443-5231
Email
jbutler@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall Term 2020- by appointment via Zoom
Additional Programs
Studio Art

Jim Butler teaches foundation studio art courses as well as two and three-dimensional approaches to making images in more advanced classes. He has taught at Middlebury since 1981 and is Co-Chair Of the Program In Studio Art.

Primarily known as a painter he also images through photographs, printmaking, drawing, as well as sculpture using experimental methods of glass fabrication. He has shown his work nationally and internationally for over two decades. In 2001 he was awarded a Mellon Foundation Grant for new work in glass. Committed to working collaboratively, Butler is one-half of the artist team The Civil Hand, whose large-scale glass/image piece “Hieroglyph” will be permanently installed in UrbanGlass’s renovated Brooklyn facility. Though nominally representational, his work is committed to finding conceptual diffraction between what is known and what is seen.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Foundation Drawing: Making Drawings to Explain the World Around Us
In this course we will learn to make drawings and graphic images to reveal the world we inhabit. Skills learned will include how to make perspective, architecture, value, and contour line systems. We will draw from observation of the natural world including, the human figure, exploring structure, expression, and psychology. We will also make and use photographic images. No previous studio experience is required or expected. 6 hrs. lect./lab

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

The Art of Pastel Painting
In this class we will study and apply principles of making images using the medium of dry pastels. Pastel-painting involves sticks of dry pigment bound with gum-arabic and applied by the artist’s hand to paper. Used skillfully it is intense, direct, and expressive. Using pastels we will learn color theory and how to control value and perspective by creating images of still-life, interiors, and the human figure. This studio course will also include image-lectures on the history of pastel in art history. (ART 0156, ART 0157 or ART 0159 or ART 0185 or ART 1128 or ART 1129 or THEA 0101). There will be a required purchase of materials.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Winter 2022

Requirements

ART, WTR

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Course Description

Painting the Figure in Oil
In this course we will learn the how to paint images of human beings. The class will begin with an overview of artistic anatomy and resulting patterns of movement. This initial portion of the semester will focus on color theory and refreshing understanding foundations of describing form. Using this knowledge we will then paint in oil by directly observing the live model outdoors. Part of this class will focus on painting portrait images. Studio work will be accompanied by regular image-lectures of the pan-global history of depicting the human form.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Painting the Human Face
In this lecture and lab course we will create drawings and paintings of the human visage. Our class begins with an in-depth anatomical study of the human head, neck, and upper torso. This will lead us to analyze ways previous art of America and Europe has mapped forms of the human face to communicate expressive content in painting. Then, using oil paint on paper, panel, and canvas we will work from the live model to design our own contemporary images of human beings. Our goals will be imaginative expression of psychologies of those we depict and the stories they project. (Any Studio Art; THEA set design; or FMMC animation courses.)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, ART, EUR

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Course Description

Oil Painting Outdoors - Visually Interpreting The Landscape Around Us
In this outdoor lab we will create paintings directly from the fall landscape of Middlebury. Using oil paint we will learn how to set up a palette, deploy color theory in picture-making, and apply spatial principles in composing our paintings. Oil on canvas will be our gateway to understanding the natural world, our built environment, and transitory phenomena of weather and light. A portion of the class will address how to incorporate humans and animals into our images. Lecture and readings will address historical and philosophical ideas of landscape in culture. (one intro drawing course). 6 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Portraiture In Oil Painting and Sculpture
In this class we will make images and objects of the human figure. Our approach will be two-fold: We will make glazed-ceramic portrait sculptures, which will be used as the basis for large-scale oil paintings. In doing so, we will learn how artists throughout history made oil paintings by creating and using visual source material. Our paintings will, as the need arises, integrate three-dimensional additions made from fired-ceramic, enameled copper, and/or fused glass. In these ways we will explore concepts of decoration, jewelry, and clothing. We will use digital photography throughout to record, analyze, and invent. In addition to weekly image-based lectures on the history of portraiture and design, the class will be include close, individual instruction within a collaborative workshop atmosphere. (ART 0157, ART 0158, ART 0159 or by approval) 6 hrs. lect./lab

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Special Project
Supervised independent work with a special project proposed by a student or a collaboration between a student and a faculty member on a special project. Admission by permission of a faculty member. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Fall 2023

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