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The Art of Mckenna Butler

Luke Lindsey, Staff Writer

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Mckenna Butler is a girl with burning passion that noticeably flows through her fingertips and into her paintings and drawings. Taking inspiration from the physicality and personality of her friends, family, and even herself; one often can see pieces of other people surface in her works.

Like in the sketchbook drawing McKenna often referred to as, “The Big Beautiful Lady,” during our interview, she pointed out that the cheekbones on her character’s face are her own, and the left arm of the character is her mother’s. This sort of happened as she was creating the piece, how she put pieces of others together to create something of its own definition.

When she first began composing these paintings, McKenna was spending most of her time alone and really only had herself as a drawing reference. “I often see myself appear in my drawings.” Once she began spending more time with other people, they also began to surface in her works. In another piece featuring faces of all sorts, she pointed out a couple of friends of hers who had appeared in the sea of color and line.

When she began painting and drawing, McKenna would torturously attempt to create realistic portraits of people and draw from what she saw. She was very dissatisfied with her works at the time. “A lot of influence came from me trying to reach perfection,” McKenna mentioned. When in a painting course at FCHS, Mr. Whitley (one of FCHS’ art teachers) challenged the class with a large scale canvas painting project. Immediately and with uncertainty, McKenna grabbed the smallest paintbrush and began painting with her face to the large canvas; focusing on minor detail on a blank canvas. Mr. Whitley saw her painstaking process and it wasn’t long before McKenna felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around and was startled to see Mr. Whitley handing her a huge paintbrush. At first she was terrified; afraid she would make a mistake that she wouldn’t be able to fix, but Mr. Whitley insisted she gave it a try. When she began stroking the canvas with this new brush, she also began painting with a new mentality.

She went into this piece without a plan, and the product was not what she expected but fulfilled her unlike anything she had ever done before. “It doesn’t go as I plan, it goes a better way,” McKenna mentioned when we were talking about her inspirations.

This fulfillment drove a passion in her to keep creating works without feeling bound to a specific idea or thought process. After a piece McKenna had made of her sister on her 21st birthday drinking “a bunch of margaritas,” she saw someone different in the piece. It was a tall and lanky man and she had painted him blue. She referred to him as “The Blue Man,” in our interview.

He appeared in a couple of her other works, so I asked her if he has any significance. She replied with “Well when I started the piece, it was my sister, but then I started to pour a lot of my own emotion into it.”
McKenna is heavily inspired by people, mainly physicality like mentioned before, “I love really love interesting facial features, like sometimes I’ll look at somebody and think “Whoa! Their nose is incredible!” and I really love noses.” and she does.

She has a rare talent of telling stories through the emotions of the faces she creates. Mckenna Lynn Butler and her works are truly something else and way worth checking out.

She can be contacted and her prints can be purchased through her email: [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Responses to “The Art of Mckenna Butler”

  1. Susan Clerici on January 23rd, 2017 7:23 pm

    Beautiful, original art

    [Reply]

  2. Matt Butler on January 23rd, 2017 10:28 pm

    [proud dad moment]

    [Reply]

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