A resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Hugh Butler started his career in fine art relatively late in life. Around 1980 at the age of thirty eight he enrolled at the Ruth Prowse School Of Art night classes and studied basic figure drawing and painting in oils under the principal Eric Laubser. Over a period of approximately ten years he progressed through the various levels of courses and was able to draw from the experience of a number of fine teachers like Jan Visser and Ryno Swart in addition to Eric Laubser.
He stopped formal lessons around 1990 and joined the Artists Cooperative, a group of like minded artists who set up a studio in Observatory, Cape Town. At the Cooperative artists met and shared ideas, painted common subjects and collectively provided an atmosphere in which members could grow as artists through offering support and criticisms of each others work. Hugh has maintained an active contact with this group, many of which have become noteworthy South African artists.
From the beginning, Hugh’s passion has been with oils and although he has worked in water colours, the majority of his works have been in oils on canvas. Inspired by nature, colour, plays of light and the works of the classic impressionists, his work has tended to be traditional rather than abstract or modern. While having a preference for portrait studies – his more recent works have included landscapes, often with a people or animal focus – and various still life studies.
He has participated successfully in a number of exhibitions at various venues in the Cape and his works hang around the world.