fast and slow

I've been feeling a bit discombobulated. Last week Matthias' dad was visiting with his greyhound (it's always fun to have the three dogs together!). Matthias and I were both working, while also trying to savor the days.

Potosi, travels, Wisconsin, Breweries, summer, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

On top of that I had a headache that just wouldn't go away. It hung around for about five days. By the time Monday rolled around I was exhausted.

If I had been fully paying attention I would have realized that my body was telling me to slow down. I'm not always so good at listening.

poppies, breadseed poppies, garden, gardening, flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Last week I also kept trying to work on paintings of bachelor buttons and I kept getting frustrated as the paintings "failed."

bachelor buttons, botanical sketches, sketchbook, watercolor, paint palette, color swatches, process, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've talked before about sticking with a painting that doesn't seem to be "working". Sometimes the middle stages of a painting don't look right, but it's only part of the process and if I stick with it, things will turn around.

Sometimes, though, when a painting (or any endeavor) isn't working it's time to step away and do something else.

Again, a message to slow down. Again, I'm not always so good at listening.

greyhounds, rescue dogs, sunshine, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

So what's the answer?

I don't know if there is an answer. I think it's always a process. I've been thinking about Meda's comment about letting go on my post from the other day and Liz's perspective from her interview last week that "you don't find a balance, you just live". I've also been pondering what Ria Sharon said in her latest Secret Sketches email. Her prescription for July: "Drink lots of water. Take lots of naps." She suggests that we're more productive if we schedule some time to do nothing, whether it's napping or daydreaming.

roses, Aunt Honey Rose, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I think she might be right. Sometimes when I go out to the garden with my sketchbook, I find more inspiration just sitting and being, than sketching.

sketchbooks, markers, Tombow Markers, Koi Watercolor Brush Pen, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Listening. Watching. Smelling. Touching. Tasting.

garden, summer, peas, snap peas, Cascadia Snap Pea, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Noticing the joys of summer. Discovering little bits of magic. The first cicada song of the year. A garden friend in a flower pot.

toad, garden, container gardening, basil seedlings, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The promise of the first cherry tomatoes.

gardening, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, summer, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I took some time on Sunday to stare up at the sky and watch the clouds.

I need to do more of that.

More being.

More savoring.

More slow.

I also took some time on Sunday to reorganize some of my paints in a new palette box. I took some time to paint swatches of color in my current watercolor sketchbook.

sketchbook, watercolor, paint swatches, color charts, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's slow work. And satisfying.

When I came back to my painting table yesterday, although I was tired, the painting came easier.

watercolor, botanical watercolor, botanical painting, painting process, bachelor buttons, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's a process. It's always a process.

I hope your week is filled with more slow than fast.


  1. I have another word to list to the five senses - absorb. I have been doing more absorbing recently. My new job leaves me tired so during my leisure time I try to just absorb a sense of what is around me and act accordingly. I may sleep or decide to clean the fridge even! I am not putting myself under any additional pressure. I hope that your head feels better now. It is debilitating to have a headache that lingers on. Your bachelor buttons paintings are wonderful observations. I love all the hues of blue and the intricate delicacy of the petals. Your paint swatches are works of art in themselves! Have a great satisfyingly slow week Anne. :)

    1. Love that word, Absorb. Such a good intention to add to my thinking.

      It's hard to flip back and forth between work life and real life when your job is depleting. Glad that you are finding relaxation and ease in your free time, Simone.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  2. And I hope that you will listen to your body, Anne. Headaches are terrible - I got them all the time when I was younger, but haven't had one in years. I learned to slow down, stress less and enjoy life more.
    Your drawings and paintings are exquisite and I love the way your gardens and nature bring you such joy. Savor that, dear friend. xo

    1. Thank you, Judy. I tend to just plow through, but I am trying to be better. I've gone through various periods of more frequent headaches, but not recently. Slowing down, stressing less and enjoying life sounds like a perfect prescription. :)

      Hope to do some (extended) garden savoring this weekend.

      Enjoy your weekend my friend!


  3. I had an awful headache a week ago. It was a killer for me. I could not function with out telling myself what to do. It was that crazy. And I had to keep going. That is the hardest part. I am not able to stop because of a deadline, just not a good mix.
    I was able to go to bed early and that is what I needed. REST!
    Summer is so busy for me with the garden. I love every moment, but I do need to listen to my body, it gets tired. More water and rest, especially on HOT days.

    1. Yes, we all need rest and water and we need to remember to listen to our bodies. Sometimes it's not possible to give ourselves complete rest, but there are always ways we can nurture ourselves.

      Glad to know you're enjoying your garden and this wonderful season!

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by here!

  4. I hope you are feeling better now Anne. Moments like that always come but they always go away too. I think it is important to let them be and let them go, do a bit resting in the meantime. Big hugs to you!

    1. Thank you, Aga. I do feel better. You're right that all things eventually pass in time.

      Big hugs to you, too. I hope you are having a lovely summer, delighting in your sweet family and finding time for creativity.

  5. Very true there is no perfect balance but we must remeber to live. The resting is so important. At times more rest than we think we need is necessary

    1. Thank you, Priscilla. You're right. I think I can get too impatient to rest and to renew my energy, but it is so important. LIVE-ing shouldn't ever get sidetracked, either.

      So glad you stopped by.


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