Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sonia Brittain -- a Sketchbook Conversation

Today I'm chatting with Sonia Brittain and I'm delighted to have her here sharing her sketchbook story:

So Sketchbooks, where do I start - they are one of my favorite things. I have been fascinated with them since a child. I loved looking through other peoples, and always enjoyed keeping them for school. However, looking back I was always a bit precious about them, and almost reluctant to use them as art supplies seemed really expensive when I was a child. I felt happier to draw on the cheap sugar paper we given at school or in a low cost notebook. I always loved viewing the sketchbooks of artists such as Van Gogh, or Turner and sometimes prefer the quick sketches to the finished pieces.

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, nature drawings, plants, flowers, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

While people throughout history have always experienced recorded events in sketch form, I guess I am thinking about sketches from artists in the trenches in the First World War, botanists, explorers etc, I think the internet has really opened up the huge variety and ways that anyone can get involved in starting or keeping up a sketchbook practice. I have always loved those art books that let you look through peoples sketchbooks, I'm thinking Julia Rothmans one here, though I have several on my shelves. 

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, people sketches, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

It was though flicking through artist and illustrators blogs on the internet while I was pregnant with my first child that I really got inspired to start keeping one again of my own. I loved in particular looking through the sketchbooks of Jennifer Orkin Lewis and her daily drawing project. Initially I was still quite timid with my early small sketchbooks, they tended to be small ones I was given as gift, I used pencil and ink and I was mainly sketching my babies. I wasn't very consistent as I had my first two boys quite close together and my day to day life was a blur of babies, toddlers and not much sleep.

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, people sketching, children, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

For me, the change in how I grew more confident and regular in my sketchbook use came when we moved as a family from London to Basel Switzerland in 2014 for my husband's job, when the youngest of my three boys was 3 months old. As a stay at home mum in a new country I initially felt quite isolated and homesick. I missed family and friends and I didn't go out as much with my new baby as I did not feel as confident nursing in public as I did back in London. Spending so much more time indoors I decided to start sketching every day while my baby napped. 

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, children, people sketches, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

I started in an old cheap notebook and this time round I decided to use watercolour as well. I started to really enjoy drawing and painting again, and once we moved to our permanent accommodation I decided to really commit to a daily practice by signing up to instagram and posting daily. I also hoped to find a community of people doing the same, and to get inspiration. I completed this year long challenge and it was amazing for me. I became more confident in how I used my sketchbooks. I really got into gouache paint, basically because you can use it on the cheapest paper, and I really like the opaque effect. I was fairly organized, and had weekly themes during the first year, basically because I had more time as my baby napped a lot. 

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, plates, china, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

It was great fun, and I loved interacting with other artists on instagram who had a similar interest to me. My family really aren't that into art, or the sort of art I am into, so I actually kept it a secret for ages from family and friends. It was great to have something outside of the stresses of family life. For me, parenting is the hardest thing ever, there is a lot of testosterone in my house, and there is some quirky and lively wiring going on. 

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, children, people sketches, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

I think my daily art making is a kind of therapy for me, I think I'm more crabby and reactive if I don't do a little drawing or doodling. Drawing and running have helped me get through moving, broken bones, emotional dramas, and getting melancholy or anxious about stuff going on in the world. There are so many things that are out of our control, but what I draw, when I draw is something I can control, even if it's just a quick five minute sketch after everyones gone to sleep.

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, Iris Flowers, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

I think I realized pretty early on that year that I wasn't going to want to stop, I have used and tried all sorts sketchbooks since then. One of my favorites is a vintage one my dad gave me years ago but I was too scared to use. I like the moleskine ones too, but I still feel a little inhibited in them because they are more pricey.

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, landscapes, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

The last year has been more challenging because we've moved again, from Switzerland to California, and it was a more complicated move involving 4 months of living with my very understanding and kind parents. I drew a lot but I did lapse at times and having all the kids off meant I didn't get to do the detailed gouache sketches I previously enjoyed doing. 

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, Nature Sketching, plants, flowers, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

Now we are getting more settled and I'm getting back into drawing and painting again. I've got several sketchbooks on the go, and I draw and doodle a lot in my journal too. I keep varying how I use sketchbooks at the moment. At one point I grouped sketchbooks into themes and subjects, i.e, the 100 day project of drawing my clothes as I decluttered my wardrobe. With all the moving , and the concern I was getting a bit precious again, I started just sketching whatever I wanted to, so recent ones are full of quick sketches of the kids, food, flowers, urban sketches etc.

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

The great thing about sketchbooks is that they are your space to play. When I look back at a page I can often recall clearly where I was, what was going on, even my mood at the time, because, I think you are more engaged in the moment, than perhaps you would be by taking a photo. 

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, portrait, people drawings, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry

Thanks to the internet and blogs like yours Anne, I now know, that I am far from being alone and there are loads of other people the world over who love drawing as much as I do, and that is motivating in itself.

Sonia Brittain, Sketchbooks, figs, food illustration, Sketchbook Conversations, My Giant Strawberry


Thank you, Sonia, for sharing your sketchbooks with us today!


Dear reader you can connect with Sonia on Instagram and purchase her art on Society6.


Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews




*Photos in this post ©Sonia Brittain. Used with permission.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Markers and Sketchbooks -- a Few More Thoughts

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember me writing about my experiments with markers in my sketchbooks. I first bought some markers when Dana and I were working on our 2x2 Sketchbook collaboration. I didn't really like them in the beginning. Then when Matthias got sick I became determined to learn how to use them because I needed easily transportable (and colorful) art supplies to take with me during his treatments.

When I finally let go and allowed working with markers to be about play, I started to truly enjoy them. But I ran out of pages in the sketchbook I was using.

My new sketchbook did not get along with markers at all. You might remember this page and my disappointment with it:

makers, sketchbook, birds, sketching, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The paper was too absorbent and the markers bled through with even the lightest of strokes. Blending was nearly impossible.

I stopped using markers for a while, embracing other things in my sketchbooks (I did have three other sketchbooks I was using), but finding a new sketchbook that I could use with markers (and was large and fairly inexpensive) never left my mind.

Then I read a blog post by Mia Whitmore where she shared her favorite sketchbooks and on her recommendation I decided to try a Canson XL Mixed Media sketchbook.

sketchbooks, Canson, Canson XL, Mixed Media Sketchbook, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'd never picked one up before for a few (silly) reasons. I didn't like the look of the cover and I didn't like the idea of perforated pages. I shouldn't have been so biased!

sketchbook, sketching, birds, markers, drawing, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This paper loves markers and even when I layer and layer and layer, they don't bleed through (the exception, as seen above bleeding through from the previous page was the Prismacolor Markers).

sketchbook, markers, flowers, sketching, drawing, pansies, violas, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

These deep purples didn't bleed through at all and I layered a LOT of ink. I did find that there was a little "pilling" of the paper when I continuously worked the wet areas, but nothing that was a big deal. This is sturdy paper.

In addition to the Koi Coloring Brush Pens, I've just started using Tombow Dual Brush Pens. They have a brush tip and a "fine" tip and like the others also have a colorless blender (I started with the Bright Palette set of 10).

markers, Tombow, Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The two brands work well together and they also combine well with Pitt Artist Big Brush Pens (which are no longer being sold in the same sets or colors that I bought years ago).


There's something about blending the colors that brings me so much joy. Even adding just a small bit of color to a page of pencil sketches makes for a fun addition (perfect if you're short on time, too).

sketchbook, markers, pencil, sketches, sketching, drawing, tulips, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Many of my Koi markers have smooshed tips from hard use, which makes it hard to make sure the ink goes where I want it go to. I see it as a lesson in letting go. I think the tips on the Tombow markers are a bit nicer (only time will tell how well they last), but I wish that the fine point was a little finer. I'd love to be able to add tiny details.

sketchbook, sketches, markers, strawberries, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Even so, this new sketchbook has made working with markers fun again.

sketchbook, markers, sketching, drawing, garden, dandelions, fuchsia flowers, color swatches, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Which is perfect timing now that I want to bring my sketchbook out to the garden with me.

Some tips for working with markers:

  • To avoid frustration use sturdy enough paper to handle layering and prevent bleed-through.
  • Don't get too hung up on details. The most joyful thing about markers is COLOR.
  • If you want to add some finishing details, a white gel pen or paint marker and a black micron can help give some finishing touches to your sketches. 
  • Use a lighter color or a colorless blender to smooth strokes and blend colors.
  • Clean the colorless blender and lighter colors on a piece of scrap paper. Just a few strokes made will clear out the other colors from the tip.
  • Have fun! Maybe it's an association with childhood, but markers, in my mind, are all about play.

Although I definitely believe in making do and using what you have, sometimes it's worth it to purchase the right tool for your project.

Are there supplies or tools that you wish you had on hand for what you've been working on? Maybe it's time to add them to your collection? (Especially if it's something as inexpensive as a new sketchbook!).

I have one last marker story for you before I end this post.

As I shared before, the cats we adopted in February immediately gravitated to my studio. They are in it most of the day every single day of the week. Their presence here brings me so much joy and I am grateful that they have settled in so well (and oh, do we love them!).

They spend most of their time snuggled up together in their favorite chair and are good about not bothering my work.

Pepper, though, has developed a funny habit.

Pepper, black and white cats, rescue cats, adopt don't shop, studio, art table, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

He likes to explore and is curious about every cabinet, drawer and shelf. His name when we adopted him was Bandit and true to that name he does like to make off with things. His favorite thing to take is markers (which is why I keep the ones I use in the lidded cigar box where he can't find them). I have a tin of other markers on the shelf above my table.

markers, studio, catnip mice, storage, shelving, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The catnip mice are a recent addition, added to distract him. He likes them, but loves markers. He stands on his hind legs to gently reach up on the shelf and grab a marker from the tin. I've watched him do it. He carries them in his mouth, very gently, and brings them downstairs (or sometimes over to me at my desk and even across the hall to Matthias in his office), not to play with, but to give to us. His record is eleven markers in one night.

I think he's encouraging me to get back to work.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jennifer Orkin Lewis (August Wren) -- a Sketchbook Conversation


Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Jennifer Orkin Lewis. You might know her from the feed August Wren on Instagram where she shares her daily sketchbooks. At least one of my previous Sketchbook Conversations artists has mentioned Jennifer as an inspiration for her own work and I think it's clear to see why. 

I'll let Jennifer take it from here:

I'm an illustrator and painter and a RISD grad in textile design. I live in a pretty little village just a bit north of NYC on the Hudson River. For many years I was a stylist in the textile industry.

sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

Keeping a sketchbook for me keeps me fresh, it gives me the chance to experiment with ideas, color combinations, compositions and techniques. If I didn’t have a daily sketchbook practice that I am committed to I’m afraid I would rarely do anything new. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

It has become a chance to play everyday for even a short amount of time. It has become a kind of diary for me, I can look back and remember things that were happening at the time, I record my travels and my every day life and imagination.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I have tried keeping a sketchbook for 25 years but I never managed to complete any. I started this daily practice in January 2014 and have filled it every day since then, I have about 20 full sketchbooks now.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I find my inspiration everywhere. Taking a walk, seeing spring flowers blooming, a crowd of people, a color combination. I try to open my eyes and see what is happening around me and use that as inspiration for my paintings. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

Its the little everyday things I come across that show up in my paintings. That said it isn’t always easy. Some days I’m just not in the mood, I’m busy or I don’t feel well. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I do make myself start, just the act of picking up a brush gets me going. I don’t love every piece I make but as a large body of work it becomes something else.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

I love painting with gouache the most. It’s something I learned to do very well when I began as a textile designer after college so it feels very comfortable to me. I also use watercolor fairly regularly.


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

My advice if you're just starting out is be yourself. Practice everyday or as much as you can, it can take years to develop your style, make marks, use colors and paint subject matter that excites you, your style will emerge from that over time. 


sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren

If you look at others work for inspiration close it down when you’re doing your own work so it is really yours and not a copy. Don’t worry about the final outcome during your creative playtime. That's where you discover the most about yourself.

sketchbook, Sketchbook Conversations, painting, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, August Wren


Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your sketchbooks with us today! 

Dear readers, you can connect with Jennifer:

http://augustwren.com/

https://www.instagram.com/augustwren/

https://www.facebook.com/Augustwren/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/augustwren





Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.

And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews





*Photos in this post ©Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Used with permission.

Monday, May 15, 2017

On Joy Lists

Ever since I read the comments from last week's post I've been thinking about Joy Lists. Why I write them, why I started writing them, what they mean.

I started writing Joy Lists when my life was falling apart. I was overwhelmed by everything that was not joy. My thoughts were flooded with negativity, with pain, with fear. I started writing Joy Lists to try to turn that around. To find light in the darkness. To regain hope.

spring, garden, roses, Above and Beyond Rose, May, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

At that time, and even after life began to move forward again, I needed the practice of keeping Joy Lists. It might have been work, but it was important work.

hearts, hearts in nature, messages from the universe, garden, sweet alyssum, flowers, spring, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When life is more joyful, it's easier to see the joy. It doesn't take the practice of writing Joy Lists to be able to see it.

While I was working in the garden this weekend and thinking about joy, Joy Lists and gratitude, Anne Shirley kept popping into my head. In particular I kept thinking about her initial thoughts on prayer:

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”
                               --L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
garden, fuchsias, flowers, spring, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I love her idea of feeling a prayer. I am not a religious person and talking about spiritual beliefs isn't really part of my blog (except, at times, when I talk about messages from the universe), but talking about gratitude is. Gratitude is a form of prayer, no matter your beliefs. Being in tune "with the Creator" as Nancy put it and "being open to joy" as Karen put it, are both ways of "feeling a prayer", don't you think?

strawberries, spring, garden, flowers, strawberry flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I certainly don't want to make anyone uncomfortable with this post, or to misinterpret or trample anyone's beliefs. But I do want to encourage you to find your joy. If you're in a joyful time of your life right now, that might be easy for you to do. If you're in a darker pace, joy might be a bit more elusive. I know both places. And I know how hard it is, sometimes, to slow down enough to appreciate the joy even when it is abundant.

clematis, Aliana Clematis, flowers, spring, pink flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I haven't made up my mind about Joy List Monday, yet. I haven't yet formulated the new plan for my blog. What I do know is that joy, a focus on joy and my encouragement for you to daily discover it, will remain at the heart of what I do (no matter what form that may take).

I hope you are taking the time to notice and experience life's many beauties, graces, magic and joy, today and always.


p.s. If you need a little extra joy today, take a look at this short film which premiered today on Shorts of the Week. It's a documentary by Yoko Okumura sharing her mother's love of strawberries. I'm not obsessed with strawberries, but I do believe they represent joy and I do agree with Yuko that joy can save the world.

Strawberries Will Save The World🍓 - Short Documentary from Yoko Okumura on Vimeo.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Gone Fishin'

The sky is blue and without a cloud. The birds are singing and the air is warm. I can't spend the day inside, even as much as I love my studio.

gardening, spring, traveling studio, sketchbook, wagon, radio flyer, plants, flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

So, if you need me, I'll be in my other studio, playing with flowers and plants and dirt. I've packed a basket with art supplies and my sketchbook, too, just in case.

I hope you'll make some time today and this weekend to fill the well.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shani Nottingham -- a Sketchbook Conversation

Today's Sketchbook Conversation is with Shani Nottingham.  Here is her story:

HIYA! My name is Shani (rhymes with rainy). I am a creative/blogger, living in rural Central West NSW Australia. 

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I try to live a creative, happy, content life. I regularly exhibit, am quite partial to doing challenges on Instagram, I do commissions and collaborations, create content for social media, host creative workshops (mainly watercolour and drawing), blog sometimes (not as often as I should), and am generally always creating and making. I am currently wrangling with technology, and refreshing my website and updating my little online shop… and learning photoshop.

I am a bit sporadic with my sketchbooking. I will use one lots and lots, and then not so much again. I tend to work directly on each piece with no idea what I am doing a lot of the time! I should probably use sketchbooks more often, I might make less mistakes!



sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I mainly use my sketchbooks when I am traveling, because without something to draw in I feel a bit insecure and naked. It is like a protective blanky, knowing I have it with me to use at any moment. I draw everyday, so if I do not have paper and sketchpads at hand, then naturally, the sketchbook is the next thing I grab.

I often stick things into my sketchbooks too…bits I pick up, random stuff.


I like the story of my whole life, not just my creative journey, that my sketchbooks tell. They are a real insight into the times in life when I have been short of time (studying, breeding etc) and what has been influencing me. 

sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I have been keeping sketchbooks for as long as I can remember. Since High school!

I used to go camping with my family, and traveling, and I always had a cheap little visual art diary to draw in. At the end of year 12, when I went traveling, I took one with me. When I went overseas for a few years, backpacking etc, I was never without one.

I feel like they are things, along with a camera, that I have ALWAYS lugged around in a bag, backpack, handbag…. 



sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I completed a Sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project based in America last year, and this revived my joy in the process of sketchbooks, and then I did one on Instagram. And I was hooked again. It keeps happening! Cannot imagine that it will stop anytime soon.

I find inspiration in my garden, where I live, Pinterest, other people on social media, old books... I am a real bowerbird. I collect images like crazy. My walls in my studio are COVERED in visual imagery I love. There is art all over my house… I am really needy when it comes to stimulation. I need fresh input all he time. Luckily, I am easily inspired. It is actually the filtering and editing of ideas I find much, much harder.



sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I work predominately in watercolours, with ink and gouache sometimes, or pencil. But I also collage (I am the Founder of a group on facebook called The Collage Club) sporadically! I majored in Photography at uni, along with plant and wildlife illustration, and I still have a huge passion for photography.


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

I actually struggle a lot with knowing what it is I should be doing, what is my style, because I jump all over the place with my mediums and my styles. When I am having fun with it, I choose to think, oh well, Picasso had lots of styles too! People tell me I DO have a style, but then when I go and do something different..like neutral soft colours… I get lots of WTF! kind of comments! So it does sometimes worry me. As I have been on social media longer, lots of “experts” tell me that when you are so varied it confuses your audience and muddies your message. That it is better not to be so random. Unfortunately … I just get bored doing similar things, and cannot help myself. If I am honest, I think I will always be this way! 


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry

In sketchbooks though, I admit I am pretty old school. Pencils, lead, inkpen!

If you're just starting out, have faith in yourself. Keep practicing, keep experimenting. Try not to be too influenced by what others are doing. Turn off the phone, the screen, and get back to the base kinesthetic joy of drawing. Draw anything and everything.


sketchbooks, Sketchbook Conversations, Shani Nottingham, Rare Pear Studio,  My Giant Strawberry


Thank you, Shani, for sharing your story here with us today.

Dear readers, you can see more of Shani's work and connect with her on her:
Blog
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
Shop
Email: rarepearstudio@yahoo.com




Missed the other Sketchbook Conversations posts? It's easy to catch up at the series web page.


And for even more inspiration, check out my Artist Interviews


*Photos in this post © Shani Nottingham. Used with permission.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Joy List Monday -- Spring Joy

One of the things I asked in my survey was whether or not you keep Joy Lists. None of you who responded said that you write them every day. About 40% keep them sometimes. The rest either don't write Joy Lists or mean to but never get around to it.

spring, flowers, bulbs, tulips, red tulips, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I get it.

Lately, the only Joy Lists I write are here on my blog. It makes me feel a bit of a hypocrite. Writing Joy Lists, practicing gratitude, is important. I encourage you to write them, to make a practice of writing them daily. I used to write them daily. Now I keep meaning to, but...

It's just another symptom of this fast pace I'm on. That I don't want to be on. I'm finding messages every day to SLOW DOWN. And yet, it's hard.

maple tree, spring, maple flowers, maple leaves, blue skies, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I don't really have any answers. All we can do is just keep trying. All we can do is try to make the best of each day. To savor each day. To be grateful for life's joys and beauties, for life's magic.

maple tree, spring, maple flowers, maple leaves, blue skies, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Something as simple as the trees leafing out in the spring is magical. It deserves our attention. I don't ever want to be too "busy" to notice it and be grateful for it.

I've been thinking about cutting these weekly Joy Lists from my blog. Half of you who responded to my survey count them as some of your favorite posts. I started including them as a weekly feature, in part because I thought they'd be quick (they often sprawl into something other than that) and in part to encourage me (and you) in the practice of keeping Joy Lists.

Whether I decide to keep going with Joy Lists as a weekly feature on my blog or not, I'm encouraging you to write one today.


Joy List Monday: 

a weekly ritual
a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day

Today's list:

  • spring weather
  • a perfect weekend
  • celebrating my Dad's birthday with two special dinners and a breakfast!
  • the first farmers market of the year, now back in place in the middle of town (just a few blocks from our house)
  • time spent gardening
  • recent customer feedback (including these reviews and another email from a customer with a photo of her 9 prints hung in her home)
  • a trip to Decorah, Iowa for the Seed Savers Exchange Spring plant sale
  • taking the scenic route
  • laughter
  • plans to garden shop at some of the Amish greenhouses with my mom today (our area has so many of them!)
I hope your list is long.

sketchbook, watercolor, color swatches, paint, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry