joy list monday and a prescription to do things just for the joy of it

Truth be told, I have not been feeling very joyful lately. My poor daily joy journal has been sitting on my table, neglected. I think I need to take my own advice. The best time to write a joy list? When you're not feeling joyful.

  • the daffodils I planted in the fall around the birch tree in the backyard finally blooming
  • watching other things I planted and transplanted last year come back to life
  • moss
moss, green, mud, spring, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

  • the smell of a rain-wet spring morning
  • lilacs
lilacs, spring, milk glass, Anne Butera My Giant Strawberry

  • spotting my first hummingbird of the year yesterday
  • sketching
geraniums, sketching, pencil, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

That little geranium sketch fills me with joy for some reason. It's on a page of sketches I did in my sketchbook when I was warming up before starting my geranium paintings. It's a bit like the fuchsia sketch I did. Quick pencil sketch. Playing with layouts and designs, but no expectations. I think I need to do more sketching like that. Not just when I'm preparing for a painting, but just for the joy of it.

The other day I was playing around with gouache a bit. Testing some color mixing. Seeing how I could manipulate the medium. I need more practice -- the only painting I'd done at that point was for my 2x2 Sketchbook. I used watercolor paper scraps and just made marks. Blobs. Shapes. Not very pretty and not very exciting. And then, for some reason I took some black paint and painted a fish. And then another fish. And another and another. In black. Then orange. Then blue.

fish paintings, goldfish, gouache, sketching, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It had been a crap day, but this was pure joy. Sometimes I think I get too hung up on what the final result is going to be. I get too serious. I need more play.

What about you? Do you  make time for play? What would you put on your joy list today?


  1. That's a whole lot of shoal Anne! I wonder what made you paint fish? Could it be that you felt like a fish out of water with using gouache, or wanting to go with the flow or maybe something entirely different? I am sorry that you have not been experiencing much joy of late. Your blog is always a joy to me. I don't make enough time for play and when I do I feel guilty. Maybe we should both make more time for play and not get too serious or feel guilty. :-)

    1. Hi, Simone. I love fish. I used to keep goldfish and hope to one day be able to, again, perhaps in an outdoor pond. When I was in sixth grade I sketched a portrait of my new pet goldfish on a math quiz. Not sure why I remember that. I think these fish were just joyful for me.

      Hope you're finding some time to play this week!

  2. Hi,
    I love the FISH :-)

    Last week was so busy for me...I did begin to melt down by Sunday afternoon. AHHH and it was Mother's Day. I just see the TO DO LIST and go bonkers, not knowing what to tackle first.

    Joy...I am thankful we got our basement cleaned up and organized after the BIG construction project left it a disaster. I am thankful we had great weather for the project.
    I need to chill out about the outdoor projects and just realize we only have so many hours in a day.
    I need to PLAY and enjoy my little family.


    1. Thank you, Carla!

      Sorry you've been stressed and overwhelmed lately! You are so right. There are only so many hours in a day. We can only do so much. And some things, although they may seem important, aren't really.

      Hope you have a lovely week filled with plenty of play!

  3. I love the photos and list of good things. Those fish make me smile so much. I love them. I think you need to turn them into fabric.

    On my joy list today: cooler weather, laughing at myself, my kids still having chocolate leftover from Easter that I just have to help them eat :), lilacs, listening to some inspirational talks, pink toenails.

    Thanks for this reminder again. I needed it today. :)


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