The Art League of Fort Myers has announced a workshop with Florida Highwaymen artist Robert Butler. Taking place on Wednesday, September 18, the workshop is being sponsored by the Art League in conjunction with the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.
"Learn the art of Landscape & Wildlife painting with Florida Highwaymen Artist Robert Butler," states the flyer announcing the 2-hor workshop. "Paint along with the artist while he talks about his history, the Florida Highwaymen and the history of historical Fort Myers and Billy’s Creek."
The Florida Highwaymen are a group of 26 African-American artosts who broke convention to paint beautiful iconic landscapes originating in the mid 1950's, an era marked by racism and poverty. These self-taught entrepreneurs mentored each other while they painted on basic materials like Upson board in lieu of canvasses, and used crown molding for more expensive gilded frames.
"Because local galleries shunned their work," states the Highwaymen's website, "they peddled their art from car trunks along area roadways, hence their name. Their art freed them from work in citrus groves and labor camps, and they created a body of work that has become not only a timeless collection of a natural environment, but a symbol of determination and belief in oneself."
Now in their sixties and seventies, the surviving Highwaymen are part of an important chapter in America’s culture and history. Many even consider them to be a national treasure. Their self-determination in the face of adversity remains an important story of perseverance, inspiration and creativity.
Robert Butler is one of 26 Highwaymen who's been inducted into the Highwaymen Hall of Fame. The Georgia-born painter is best known for his portrayals of the woods and backwaters around Florida's Everglades. His professional career began in 1968. In the early days, he often sold his paintings door-to-door or on the roadside. He honed his skills by creating upwards of one hundred paintings per year. Despite a lack of formal training, Robert developed his own style, which was exemplified by dramatically-lit and romanticized portrayals of landscapes.
Workshop participants are responsible for bringing their own #3, #4, Flat #2, #4, Round #2, #3 or #4, Angle 1/4 or 3/4 and Strip Liner #1 or #2 brushes; a Fredrick Red or Blue Label 18 x 24" or 20 x 24" canvas; and Titanium White, yellow ochre, yellow Hansa light hooker's gree or sap green, burnt sienna, burnt umber, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, magenta (medium or light) and purples pigments.
The workshop takes place from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18, costs $100, and will be taught in the Art League's gallery at 1451 Monroe Street, on the ground floor of the City of Palms parking garage in the downtown Fort Myers River District.