on growth (and taking time to savor)

I've been thinking about growth lately. It's been a strange summer. Some things are thriving in the garden. Some things are S-L-O-W.

sweet peas, flowers, garden, gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I planted my sweet peas before I planted my snap peas. We've been eating snap peas every day for over a month. The sweet peas only just started blooming.

I planted my cucumbers at the same time I planted my beans. My bean plants, scrambling up the arch are probably 8 feet tall. The cucumber plants barely reach my shins.

The sunflowers I grew from seed are spindly and nowhere near ready to flower, but the self-seeded sunflowers started blooming a month ago.

garden, gardening, raised beds, container gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Things grow at their own pace.

That's not just true of gardens.

I've been thinking about the growth of my business and my growth as an artist. I feel as if this year I am finally making headway with my business. Until this point things felt so S-L-O-W. In truth, I was frustrated that it wasn't growing faster. That I wasn't growing faster.

heliotrope, garden, flowers, gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When you're in the thick of things it's hard to remember that each of us has to grow at our own pace. In a society where everything moves at light speed and instant gratification and "overnight success" are glorified as the ideal, it can be hard to move more slowly.

It's also tempting, if your growth is more like my sweet peas or cucumbers, to compare yourself to the snap peas and beans. But how can you compare a sweet pea to a snap pea or a cucumber to a bean?

You can't. And you certainly can't compare the maturity of one sunflower started months before another sunflower.

So why do we do it?

Peach Drift Rose, roses, garden, gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm not asking for an answer. But I do hope that you'll remember that everything grows at its own pace, whether you're growing a garden, a business or yourself.

garlic, harvest, summer, gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

One of my words for this year is "Nourish".  We need to remember to nurture ourselves and our endeavors. It can be all too easy to disparage ourselves if we don't measure up, when what we really need is time and nourishment.

I've been realizing lately how nourishing it is to take the time to savor my days. I've been very busy, but I've been trying to incorporate little bits of slowness into my days. Prioritize them. A morning tour through the garden first thing each day. Writing in my journal. A long walk with Matthias and the dogs. Visiting the farmers market on Saturday mornings and enjoying thoughtful cooking with farm (and garden) fresh ingredients. I've also been letting the cats remind me to take breaks.

cats, rescue cats, studio cats, adopt don't shop, studio, work table, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When they jump up on my table I put my work away for a few minutes and take the time to scratch and snuggle them.

After all, what's the point if we don't take the time to enjoy our days?

Oh, and what have I been busy with lately?

In between commissions I finally finished my bachelor button painting:

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

It's now available in my shop.

I also decided that I'm willing to part with this little coleus painting.

watercolor, coleus, botanical watercolor, coleus painting, coleus watercolor, Etsy, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's available now in my Etsy shop.

What have you been busy with lately?


  1. How did you know I needed to hear this? Thanks so much. I'm so glad all of your S-L-O-W time in your business has now lead to busy times. What an inspiration. :)

    1. I think a lot of people need to hear about how slow the process can be. I think we often are inundated with so much noise about how to be a success (with the implication that it is quick and easy if you do this certain thing). In reality it takes time and work and lots of periods of slowness and failures and getting up again. That link I shared about "overnight success" is eye opening and there are so many more examples... just google overnight success.

      Anyway, thank YOU, Dana. I'm so glad that my post was inspiring for you. One of the best things about my creative journey has been the connections I've made. So glad you're here!

  2. Lovely post, Anne.
    But your cats.
    They are "the bee's knees"!
    Please give them a scratch from me and Wilma.

    1. Thank you, Karen.

      And yes, they ARE the bees knees. We are so smitten with them and I can't imagine that I ever hesitated to bring them into our lives. They've fit in so well and make each day sweet. I'll give them some scratches from you and Wilma and send some back from all of us.


  3. I love this post. The past few years I've been running my ft business I felt I should be advancing faster. This year things stalled and I freaked but then reassessed and decided to take a break and go back to the simple things. I was so focused on working and business that nothing else was fitting in. I've been so much happier taking that break and just taking things slow. Nice to hear other artists deal with this too. It's so easy to read an artists blog or their Instagram and think they are just super human and doing awesome at everything all the time.

    1. Oh yes, I think a lot of artists deal with this (and similar sorts of things). Most of what we hear and see can be misleading (we never know the full story). Have you read Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic? One thing that was eye opening for me was when she talked about not putting pressure on yourself (and your creativity) to make your art pay the bills.

      Thank you for reaching out, Priscilla and for sharing your experience. Wishing you all the best as you navigate your way!

  4. Thank you Anne, this is what I needed, a reminder, it will come in time. Thank YOU!!

    1. Sending you big hugs, Carla (and cheering for you and the little garden that could!!). You're right, it (or something even more amazing!) will come in time.

  5. A beautiful post, Anne, filled with beauty and wisdom. Your paintings are exquisite, as always, and I'm so glad your business is blooming. And those cats - too sweet!

    1. Thank you, Judy. So glad to have had you along nearly from the beginning of this journey. The connections and friendships I've made along the way mean so much to me.

      And yes, these cats... I can't get over their sweetness myself! :)

  6. You garden looks most abundant Anne! Sometimes we think things are moving slow - but just look how far we have come! I bet things aren't too slow with your kitties around the place! :)

    1. You're right. It's all in perspective. My garden is doing pretty well this year. There are always things that flourish and other things that don't. Sometimes it's hard to remember that it's all part of the process.

      The kitties can be very slow and sleepy, but you're right, when they're awake and ready for action, watch out!


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