Vigo library features River City artist in September virtual exhibition

Picturesque: Image taken at Turkey Run by RCAA's September Artist of the Month featured in VCPL's YouTube exhibition.

Debra Butler of Terre Haute is River City Art Association’s September Artist of the Month showcased in the Vigo County Public Library’s virtual exhibition at

Butler has explored various mediums but has been primarily a landscape and nature photographer for the last 40 years.

The library’s YouTube video features photographs she captured at different times in Turkey Run State Park near Marshall, Indiana. 

“I tried to select a sampling that share my attraction to beautiful places as I hiked through Turkey Run State Park,” Butler said. “While photographing in the field, I approach it as a ‘plein air’ painting, and work to achieve the spatial balance in the digital shot with the layout and mood I want to capture. I do very little editing on the computer.”

Scenes Butler chose for the virtual collection share the natural surroundings that bring her serenity. 

“Though at times I wonder if I am an artist or simply a perpetual tourist, if my photographs bring you even a moment of quiet calm, I am happy to have succeeded in sharing the beautiful world I see,” Butler said.

After high school Butler pursued studies at Purdue University, finding time to take classes in drawing, design and photography. She later moved to California and became a lawyer.

While finishing her law degrees, Butler worked in retail stores in arts and crafts supplies, and framing departments, learning the use of different art materials, and framing techniques, and enjoyed painting and working with wood in her spare time. After becoming interested in 35 mm photography, she began in earnest taking photographs as an art form. “I had fun photographing ball games and surfing events … but discovered I much preferred taking scenery shots,” she added.

When her legal career was most active, Butler was able to continue her artistic interests by photographing her vacation travels. “I was able to occasionally sneak away for a class, and spent time learning watercolor painting. But photography has always been my preferred medium for documenting the world I see. Because of my work as a disability lawyer, I feel a calling to capture what I see in my outings to share with less mobile friends.”

Butler and her husband retired to Terre Haute in 2019. With more unstructured time, she renewed her commitment to her artistic endeavors. “I recently began publicly sharing my photographs as I feel the serenity and regeneration that can be found in viewing beautiful nature scenes is especially needed now.”

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