Sketchbook Conversations -- jumping in this week and sharing my thoughts

I have some really great posts lined up for the coming weeks, but before I share those stories, I wanted to jump in with a few thoughts of my own.

sketchbook conversations, sketchbooks, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

One of the things I love about this series is seeing how different artists use their sketchbooks -- there's such diversity. Every artist is different and every sketchbook is, too.

sketchbooks, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Some of the artists who've shared their stories here are professional artists. Some are not, which doesn't make what they're doing any less valid, any less art. Maybe I'm showing my own hangups with this statement, but I have a feeling that the moniker of artist and what it means to be a real artist hold some people back from embarking on their own artistic explorations.

I wish that weren't the case.

My goal with this series, with my Artist Interviews, with my Skillshare classes and with my blog in general is to encourage you to shatter those obstacles, to be curious and playful and to embrace creating for its own sake, in whatever way brings you joy. Your voice and your vision are valid. Trust them.

I also want to inspire you to explore new avenues, to try things you've never tried before, to ask the question what if? Before I embarked on my creative journey I would never have dreamed that it would be possible for me, a non-artist, to start painting, but when I saw that other non-artists were doing just that, I began to start dreaming and eventually doing.

watercolor, watercolors, painting, paint palette, colors, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I know that it is all too easy to look at what other people are making and creating, whether it be on blogs, Instagram, Pinterest and to feel overwhelmed or deflated, as if what you're doing (or even just dreaming) isn't enough -- good enough, interesting enough, big enough... whatever.

There's not an easy solution to that. All you can do is just keep going. Still your thoughts and pick up a paintbrush (or pen or camera or crochet hook or whisk...) and create. That is the important thing. To create. To bring something into the world that wasn't there before. It's certainly good for us when we do it and I think it's good for the world when we do it, too.

A sketchbook is an easy arena for creating. It's small. It's contained. It can be private. It can be a springboard into other projects. It can be a meditation. It can be a pep talk. It can be a playground. It can be a collaboration. It can be whatever you want it to be.

This is why I want to share other artists sketchbooks and their stories with you here.

With next week's Sketchbook Conversations post I'll be back to sharing another artist's sketchbook and story, but until then I want to encourage you to try something new today. Maybe it's a sketchbook. Maybe it's not. I know there's something that's been whispering to you. Listen. Listen and take the first steps in making your dream into a reality.

inspiration, fortune cookie wisdom, watercolor, studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

p.s. this is my 800th post! It's amazing to look back and see how far I've come since the first nearly six years ago.


  1. looking forward to every one of the next 800, Anne. Congratulations.
    love you

  2. Wow! 800 that's a big deal. Congrats. I love those fortunes. Thanks for all the good reminders. xo

  3. Happy 800th post! Your blog just gets better and better Anne! I feel rubbish if I compare my work with anyone else. I still create though because it makes me feel good to make something out of nothing! Maybe my ideas will generate something fantastic in someone else too? :)

    1. Thank you, Simone! You're so sweet and such an encouraging cheerleader. So glad to know you think my blog is improving. Sometimes I have doubts, as do we all.

      "Comparison is the thief of joy" (or so, supposedly, said Theodore Roosevelt). I think it can so often be true. I'm glad you still create for yourself. Plus, you never know who you might be influencing. Putting your good energy out into the world is a wonderful thing!

  4. Congratulations on posting so many joyful ideas and artistic musings! You are quite the blogging powerhouse :) Happy "800" and cheers to the years to come.

    1. Thanks so much, Sharon! It's been a joy to have had our paths cross and to be there watching each other's journeys and cheering each other on.

  5. Dear Anne,
    I have been off in my own world lately, but have visited your blog many times, enjoying your sketchbook conversations, your photos, your writing and your always beautiful paintings. I was delighted to see your video a while back, to hear your voice and to learn that you are teaching classes! Your blog looks so professional and I love all the areas you are expanding into. I'm a bit wrapped up in my sister's situation, but wanted to touch base with you and tell you how much I admire what you're doing. BTW, I bought some of your beautiful fabric on Spoonflower and hope to use some of it soon!
    Congratulations on 800 posts!!!

    1. Hi, Judy, thanks so much for your note. I think about you often and your challenge of finding joy and creativity during this time.

      You've been with me on this journey just about from the very beginning. It's been wonderful to have had you along for the ride cheering me on and encouraging me in the beginning when I took those first tentative steps. You have been such an inspiration, too, with your beautiful art and joyful perspective.

      Your kind words about how far I've come mean so much. And thank you for purchasing the fabric! I'll love to see what you make with it!

      Sending thoughts of peace and light and joy and love your way.

  6. 800.
    So glad you are here, with your lovely, light filled aesthetic, Anne.
    Congratulations on your successful and creative journey and thank you for sharing it with us. xo

    1. Post by post.

      Thank YOU, Karen for being here, too. Your words of encouragement mean so much to me. Your creativity and the beautiful corner you've created in the world (and in cyberspace) inspire me every day.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!



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