Contemplating Creativity, Beauty, Joy -- and sharing Day 25's Painting

I've been having a bit of a rough time lately. It's a complicated story and I won't get into it here. I'm not mentioning it for sympathy or to complain, but because it's been on my mind, front and center, eclipsing other things when I let it (and sometimes when I don't).

But then my own problems and worries and fears are thrown into sharp relief by stories of worldly horrors (like the plight of child brides, tackled by this organization), corporate greed and inanity. Matthias has been studying World War II and sharing facts and statistics with me and I wonder at how uncivilized we can be. Still today. Have we learned nothing? Has society moved forward at all? The last two books I read confront, among other things, racism and I wonder, yet again, how far we have not come. I could go on and on and on, spiraling off course, weighed down by ugliness after ugliness.

Sometimes it does feel so very heavy.

nasturtiums, milkmaid nasturtium, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And yet the flowers keep blooming and the hummingbirds and chickadees and bees visit my garden each day.

ruby throated hummingbird, sunflowers, garden, autumn, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I wonder at the futility, or maybe just puniness of art-making or blogging and then stumble upon this article and this one, too, I'm reminded that every little thing we do counts.

cosmos flowers, garden, honeybees, bees, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Each bit of beauty in the world, whether in nature or wo-manmade is valuable. It makes a difference. Beauty, love, kindness, generosity, art, music, literature, gardens... it all helps to tilt the scale away from ugliness and horror, from brutality and hate.

garden, mint, bees, bumblebee, autumn, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Maybe I can't do large things.
"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
                              --Mother Teresa*
But I can keep making art. Keep writing about my experience. Keep encouraging you to do it, too.

Sometimes I need a reminder to help me keep the faith. Faith in the world. Faith in my path. Faith in joy.

Does my painting for today matter? 

watercolor, houseplant portraits, rubber plant, rubber plant painting, daily painting, 30 Days 30 Paintings, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Yes. Yes, it does.

watercolor, houseplant portraits, plant paintings, watercolor plant paintings, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Maybe it feels puny sometimes. Maybe it is puny at times. But imagine the opposite. Not making paintings. Not planting gardens. Even something as seemingly insignificant as smiling at strangers makes the world a better place.

Maybe you are feeling weighted down by negativity (in whatever form). If you are, go spend a bit of time outside (or even just look out the window) and notice the earth's beauties. And please don't let the world's ugliness or your own seeming insignificance dissuade you from adding your unique beauty to the day. The day needs it.

*this quote may be misattributed to Mother Teresa or simply paraphrased from something else she said... I could not find the definite story.


  1. May you find comfort in one of my favorite Wendell Berry poems...

    You can find it here

    One of my favorite lines
    "Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection".

    1. Thank you, Karen. Yes. "be joyful even though you have considered all the facts..."

  2. "When the world wearies, and society ceases to satisfy, there's always the garden." Minnie Aumonier. Flowers and books are my fall backs when I am tired of ugliness and ignorance. I'm glad to see you have a safety net of flowers too :)

    1. Thank you, Sharon. Flowers and books never fail to help. You're right about that. Maybe that's why I have so many of both around me all the time!

  3. thank you for sharing this--and those articles, too. it really hits home with me right now!
    and I, for one, am grateful that you write and paint because it has brought joy into my life. :)

    1. Thank you, Laurie. As creative people I think this struggle can be harder for us sometimes. Some days it's easier to shrug off the doubts and fears and worries than others.

      It makes my day to know that I've brought you some joy. Thank you.

  4. Pet the bumble bees on the furry part between their wings. They seem to like it. And they're fuzzy.

    1. I've never pet a bumble bee, just watched them (and photographed them). They do seem like friendly guys. Fuzzy is always good. :)

  5. I am sorry that you are going through troubled times Anne and hope that you can move forward in whatever ails you. There are people that being ugliness to the World and others that bring beauty. You are in the latter category. If we all create beautiful things hopefully it will outweigh all the ugly. :-)

    1. Thank you, Simone. Yes, creating beautiful things is a good aim. Hope you've been finding the time end energy to do so, too!


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