Clive Butterworth was born and brought up in West Yorkshire in the early 1940s. He grew up surrounded by the enigmatic landscapes of the Pennine Hills, his everyday environment, the scenes of the Colne and Holme Valleys both rural and those industrialised by the textile heritage. His northern background is ingrained in his personality and he feels this solidity has shaped him throughout his life and career, and is evident in the way he paints with directness, honesty, and integrity.
Trained at Huddersfield School of Art, his paintings were exhibited at many of the Northern galleries between 1962 – 69. He was also instrumental within the group of artists who launched the inaugural Holmfirth Cancer Relief Exhibition in the late 1960s, which has become firmly established as a successful annual event with a national reputation in the art world.
Completing his Art Teacher’s Diploma at Sheffield University in 1963, within a short time Clive was Head of Art at the UK’s second largest comprehensive school and 6th Form. There, he developed one of the most successful pre-graduate secondary art education departments in the country. Clive devoted his career to enabling students to achieve success, as measured by the number of students gaining ‘A’ grade and direct entry to BA courses of art education.
Alongside his teaching career, his love of ceramics led to Clive creating his own studio pottery building a large catenary arch kiln.
Describing himself as “an ordinary Yorkshire lad”, Clive’s artistic competence, draftsmanship and vision are second to none, qualities that are subliminal extensions of himself. Trained and talented in painting, drawing, ceramics, printmaking and calligraphy he has a vital spectrum of skills with which he is now developing his second career as a painter.
He has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and proficiency in ‘all things art’, and is driven by a quest for perfection in achieving the quality of work to which he aspires. Takes a keen interest in the work of contemporaries and emerging new artists, viewing those whom he admires where possible through visits to modern galleries as well as revisiting the Impressionists and others that have been strong influences. This, he says, has the effect of intensifying his perception of colour in everyday images, making it much more vibrant and taking on the appearance of brush strokes. He also has the rare ability of automatically seeing landscapes, figures and scenes of everyday life ‘as if they are paintings’.
Clive takes his inspiration for paintings from his travels both global and local as can also be seen in his extensive collection of photographs which illustrate his innate capacity to see things most people don’t see – exciting colour, unexpected reflections and distortions, or the unexpected detail within a commonplace scene.
For Clive, his photography is about “being an artist with a camera” and his painting is about “having a conversation with the canvas.”