Back in the Studio Painting Orchids

It's been a while since I've been in my studio painting a "real" painting. By real I mean something that's not just a sketch or playing around with paint. The last painting I finished was this butterfly collection and that was at the end of January. It's been even longer since I've done a painting of flowers.

Oh, there are many reasons for it. This discombobulated life I've been leading since the end of January is probably the biggest. Focusing on fabric design is another. But there are other things as well.

One reason I didn't even want to acknowledge was the fact that I was a bit scared to start a new painting. I kept avoiding it. Not consciously. I'd just distract myself with other things or convince myself I didn't have time. I felt antsy. Unfocused. But I also began to feel pulled. Pulled to paint.

And so, finally, I did.

Choosing to paint an orchid was easy. The plants by the side window of my studio are filled with flowers right now.

orchids, phalaenopsis, houseplants, flowers, flowering houseplants, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've painted orchids before (Here, too. Plus there's this painting and this one). I like painting them (I guess that might be obvious by now).

I mixed colors. I painted test swatches. I played a bit in my watercolor sketchbook, testing out the colors a bit more and the next day I jumped right in.

It felt wonderful to be putting paint to paper, again. To be painting flowers. To be in my studio. I mentioned that on Instagram while I was painting that first day.

In my studio was surrounded by flowers. The orchids, and others, too. The air was scented with cyclamen and jasmine.

My painting progressed with such ease. No fear. No hesitation. I don't remember ever painting with so much confidence. Usually there's a bit of nervousness. There's a bit of critical chatter in my mind. This time, even when I made mistakes, I simply rolled with them. I kept painting, knowing it would all come out in the end. And it did.*

orchid, watercolor orchid, botanical painting, botanical watercolor, houseplant portrait, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I wish I hadn't put off painting for so long. But maybe I needed some time away from it to fully appreciate painting again.

Is there something that you've been avoiding or putting off? Maybe today would be a good day to start.

*This painting is now available in my shop.


  1. Love your milk glass pots - they make me think of my mom.

    1. Thanks, Madeline. I do love them, too. I have a small collection of milk glass vases and pots found over the years (cheap) at thrift shops. I can never resist!

  2. I am glad you are back in the studio again Anne, doing the thing you love to do most of all. :-)

    1. Thank you, Simone! It did feel great! :)

  3. Lovely! I would love to know how you care for your orchids. They are beautiful.

    1. Hi, Carla!

      It's really pretty easy. They're in a south facing window (though many people suggest less strong sunlight for them). I keep them in plastic pots (I prefer the clear kind so I can keep an eye on the roots) within other more decorative containers. About once a week or so (it's not a strict schedule, I just check to see if the moss or bark is still damp or feeling dry) I fill up the bathroom sink and submerge the pots in the water, letting them soak until the bark or moss is completely saturated. I pick them up out of the water, let the excess water drain from the pots and then put them back in their decorative containers. Occasionally I use an orchid or "acid loving plants" fertilizer, putting that in the soaking water.

      Best of luck!

      I also wrote about it here:


Post a Comment