D-Contemporary 23 Grafton Street Mayfair, London, W1S 4EY Monday – Saturday | 11am – 6pm

Sarah Butterfield is one of the best representatives of the current revival of Contemporary Impressionism. Butterfield’s brushes encapsulates the way sunlight changes the patterns over the day by the second with the precision of a skilled surgeon.

Her capacity to expand the visual representation of a landscape or a person goes beyond colours and shapes; the viewer can experience the heat, the cold or a bright ray of light depending on the time and season. Memories become blurry and Butterfield is fully aware of that.

Her new solo show, titled “Light Catching Fire”, will open this Wednesday March the 29th in the prestigious district of Mayfair until April the 11th. The gallery D Contemporary has established itself in less than a year as the Salon des Arts in London par excellence. A hub for the best talent of today.

At The Ocean VI by Sarah Butterfield

Mara Alves, D Contemporary Chief Curator, says about her works:

“When I saw Sarah’s work on site for the first time I was amazed by the power of the colours that she uses, and by the way that her paintings are so light, fresh, subtle and sublime even with the strength that you can feel when considering her brush strokes. Knowing that most of her works are done outdoors makes me admire even more her paintings because you can absorb from them, the perfect balance between movement and colours… you can almost feel the breeze coming out of the paintings and smell the site where they were painted. Makes you feel nostalgic, but happy and comfortable.”

Sarah Butterfield had kindly agreed to respond to the following questions:

1. Where does this interest in patterns come from and specially the way natural light alters them?

I am inspired by patterns in the natural world. I love the chequer-board contrasts of light on dark and dark on light caused for example by clouds casting shadows on to each other or the shadows of trees on a pathway. There are patterns of greens and blues caused by seeing both reflections on the surface of water and also looking through the water to the sea-bed. There are paintings in the exhibition that show the patterns of movement of water within boundaries – caustics.

Images that work can also contain abstract patterns of golden section – dividing a line so that the shorter part is in the relation to the larger part as the larger part is to the whole. The centre of gravity of an object can be the point that divides the width of the painting or the brightest part of the painting.

You can sometimes see repeated shapes in a scene in front of you – the shape of a cloud at sunset could be an attenuated triangle which could be repeated in the shadow of a tree across open ground. Finding common patterns of shapes gives a painting unity. This can help give a sense of calm to a painting – it is one of the keys to the Impressionists.

Patterns are fundamental to paintings.

Dusk in Beijing II by Sarah Butterfield

2. How was the experience of being commissioned as the Official Tour Artist with HRH Prince of Wales on the Royal Tour to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India like?

It was an honour and a privilege to be the Official Tour Artist on a Royal Tour to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India with HRH Prince Charles. He takes an artist with him on his Royal Tours just as his great-great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria did.

They are intense and busy with a programme that is set down to the last minute. I tried to capture the atmosphere as people from different cultures crowded to see the Prince. I painted dancers in exotic costumes and parades with decorated elephants. The richness of the colour in my new series of paintings of Evenings in the Solent is partly due to the new and different colours I had to mix up on the Royal Tour.

As we flew back to Britain the Prince looked through my watercolours from the Tour. He liked for example a sketch of a solitary figure against the watery bands of blue of the Oasis of Siwa – perhaps having been surrounded by crowds of people for much of the Tour he was drawn to the contrast of a solitary figure.

It is a highly recommended show which proves the power of paint and Butterfield’s superb craftsmanship.

For more information, please visit D Contemporary website on