Odds and Ends Halfway Through January

This month is going by so fast. For you, too?

The year has been off to a good start. First there was the resolution of a situation that had been the cause of much stress and worry for a long time (you may have noticed me hinting at it) and then there was some unexpected good news (I can't wait to share it with you later this year!!). I've been excited about my new word for the year and energized by organizing for the coming year.

I've been painting, too. I finished off this fiddle leaf fig painting*:

watercolor, houseplant portraits, watercolor painting, fiddle leaf fig, watercolor houseplant, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And these butterflies**:

watercolor, watercolor painting, watercolor butterflies, watercolors, butterflies, butterfly painting, butterfly collection, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've been slowly re-learning Illustrator in order to kick my fabric designing into gear.

I recolored a design I created last year:

nasturtiums, surface pattern design, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

 and digitized this sketch:

alder seeds, black and white sketch, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry
and this new drawing:

orchid sketch, orchid drawing, phalaenopsis, black and white art, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

both for a contest on Minted. (I'd love for you to vote for me there! I've also submitted my favorite nasturtiums painting. You can click on the images or text above or on the badge in my sidebar to find where to vote).

And yet, even with the good news and the progress, I wasn't feeling sunny.

geraniums, red geraniums, geranium cuttings, cuttings in water, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It bothered me that I wasn't feeling sunny.

And then I realized something. I seem to feel this way every January. There's the pull between wanting to get everything done RIGHT NOW and the impossibility of the task. There's a bit of a let-down after the initial fresh start of the new year. Maybe you feel it, too?

In my studio I have a little "clothesline" hung beneath a shelf. It's really just some string tied to a couple brackets. I use mini clothespins (less than 2 inches long) and hang little bits that inspire me or bring me joy. Lately it's mostly paint splotches and mini paintings. And fortune cookie fortunes.

watercolors, clothesline, inspiration board, fortune cookie fortunes, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I have a thing about fortune cookie fortunes. I can't help it. They're fun. And sometimes the fortunes are interesting or thought provoking.

Back in December Matthias and I brought home Chinese takeout and got these two fortunes:

watercolors, clothesline, inspiration board, fortune cookie fortunes, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The way to get to the top is to get off your bottom.

It isn't our position, but our disposition, that makes us happy.

Motivation and food for thought, both good for the new year.

After I made my realization about my January mood, I started thinking about that second fortune.

Having a good start to the new year, receiving good news, being in a better situation than I was a month ago aren't going to make me happy. I am the only thing that can make me happy.

A newly opened orchid flower on a plant on the windowsill or the swoop of an eagle above the road or a morning of freshly sparkling snow won't bring me joy unless I take the time to pay attention, notice them and truly see their beauty.

Intention is my word for the year. Intention is not just about action. It's about thought. It's about meaning.

Yes, I plan to get off my bottom plenty this year. But I also plan to spend a lot of time thinking.

What about you? How is your new year going?

*Original painting available here and prints in two sizes available on Etsy.
**Original butterfly collection painting available here and print available alone or part of a set on Etsy.


  1. Anne, I truly appreciate your insight. You are wise beyond your years, my friend. I do believe that each of us will be just as happy as we choose to be. I know that must be the case, because I have friends who deal with serious health issues (i.e. lupus, ms, cancer) who lift up others with their cheerful outlooks. They have chosen not to be defined by their illness. I don't know if I could ever live up to their examples, but I hope so. Now I'm off to vote for you. Hugs, Nancy

    1. Thank you, Nancy. For your words and your votes.

      Often I feel neither wise nor young. Though, I guess, the second is only a state of mind, right. :)

      I know people, too, who have serious health issues and yet are so positive and cheerful and the opposite, too, some people who just can't seem to ever be happy. I know I struggle, but I do choose joy (sometimes I just need to stop and remind myself).

      I always appreciate your thoughtful comments. They really mean a lot to me.

  2. Your work is so beautiful Anne and yet I am running out of adjectives to describe it! I have signed up to the minted website to vote for you Anne. I found it hard to navigate around the site but managed to comment on your stunning nasturtium painting. I wish you well in all you do. Your latest fabric design is stunning - modern and yet retro at the same time. I could picture it anywhere. :-)

    1. Oh, thank you, Simone! You're so sweet.

      I really appreciate you signing up to minted and commenting on my designs and voting for me. Sorry it was hard to navigate. I get a little lost there, too!

      Your encouragement and support mean so much to me.

      Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

  3. It seems like 2015 was a rough year for a lot of people and I'm glad to hear 2016 has been kinder to you in that you finally have that resolution you've been waiting for. Your work is so lovely and I see so much growth in your artistry. Thank you for sharing your process and your thoughts with us and I agree with Nancy, you are wise beyond your years!

    1. Yes, I'm glad to be getting on to 2016. I hope that 2016 is better for you than 2015! It's good that you'll soon have your daughter with you, again!

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement (and I still say that I don't feel so wise or young!).

      I always enjoy visiting your world and your flower (especially rose) photographs help me get through the winter and through missing my roses!

  4. Hello,
    I totally agree with Nancy. I love my visits with you on your blog. You are encouraging in the way you write and you are honest.
    Thank you!
    I LOVE the butterflies.

    1. Hi, Carla. I am so glad that you enjoy stopping here. I enjoy your visits, too, and my visits to your blog! Thank YOU for that.

      Thanks for your sweet words of encouragement and support!

  5. Beautiful and inspiring post! Thank you Anne

    1. And thank you, Aga! For stopping by and for your kind words!


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