Doing Good

Hello! How are you doing today? I think so many of us have been frazzled and disheartened lately. I hope that you have been able to find the joy in each day.

garden, summer, late summer gardening, container gardening, raised bed gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Maybe you were somewhere that you could see the eclipse yesterday? It was a bit cloudy and hazy here (and we were only at about 85%).

I've heard some people say that the eclipse was overhyped, but I think a celebration of something awe-inspiring is just what our country needed (just look at these photos).

In any case, I've been thinking a lot about joy and beauty and antidotes to the ugliness that this world has been continually seeing. Last week, the same day that I posted about feeding our souls with beauty and joy, Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE sent out her newsletter with a very moving call to action. She stated her values and the values of her company, a message of inclusivity and of love. She also created a list of 10 Things for Good which she was going to do to help battle the ugliness in the world. The call to action? That each of her newsletter readers create their own lists of 10 Things for Good.

10 Things for Good, UPPERCASE, Janine Vangool, #10thingsforgood

If each of the newsletter readers were to do this, we'd be releasing a quarter of a million good things into the world. And if each newsletter reader asks their friends (and followers and coworkers) to do 10 Things for Good... that number will grow and grow and grow.

I'm still working on my list, but I know I want to include you.

Here is a bit of what I'm doing:

Giving: Last Friday I sent out the gifts to my giveaway winner, but I really wish that I could give something to each of you. And so I am.

watercolor butterflies, desktop background, repeat patterns, surface pattern design, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I created a desktop background for my own computers with my butterfly pattern, but I'd like you to have it, too. You can download your own copy here.*

Teaching: My newest class is now up on Skillshare. I love encouraging others to create and I think all of us are creative and capable of making. My new class shares my technique for painting watercolor viola flowers.

This is my 10th class on Skillshare and I've really enjoyed learning some new skills and sharing what I know. Skillshare is an affordable way to learn and you can try out a premium membership for two free months (no strings attached). There are many thousands of classes on many different topics.

Inspiring and Promoting: Last Friday I shared my 38th Sketchbook Conversations post. Like with my teaching, I enjoy encouraging and inspiring you with these posts. Sketchbook Conversations was a spin-off from my Artist Interviews (next Friday I'll be sharing my 25th!) and my sketchbook collaboration with Dana Barbieri. I'm always delighted to be able to introduce you to such creative inspiring people. I started sharing these posts not only with the intention of inspiring you, but also with the desire to support other artists. I can't afford to purchase art (or books or products or classes) from every artist I admire, but my hope is that my little corner of the internet will push some business in the direction of people who are releasing their good into the world.

Are you an artist working in sketchbooks? Have you been reading my series and secretly wishing to be included in the conversation? Don't be shy! Reach out and let me know!

Scattering Joy: I call myself a Joy Collector, but that title isn't really the full story. I don't collect joy and hoard it away. I want to share it.

I keep a notebook with ideas for blog posts and other blog related scribbling. It's from Katie Daisy and the cover says "Scatter Joy" (a quote from Emerson). I chose it because that's what I intend to do with my blog, scatter joy.

joy lists, gratitude, thankfulness, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Earlier this year I stopped doing Joy List Monday blog posts, but I still think that keeping Joy Lists is a wonderful way of cultivating gratitude and increasing the good in this world. If you haven't downloaded my free Joy and Gratitude Lists you can get the link when you sign up for my JoyLetter. Already signed up, but didn't get your lists? Let me know and I'll send you the link. If you don't want to subscribe to yet another newsletter, but would really like to download the lists, I'll send you a link if you contact me.

Small good things: Sometimes I unintentionally do something that ends up being good. I have a lot of mint in my garden. I kept forgetting (and not getting around) to harvesting it. It's begun to bloom, and in fact, is filled with flowers.

mint, mint flowers, orange mint, herb gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I thought I'd harvest it anyway, but then while spending some time outside this past weekend I saw that it was FILLED with bees and butterflies (how there are none in this photo, I do not know). I leave seed heads on my plants at the end of the summer to feed the birds. I try to always leave plenty of flowers for the hummingbirds who visit the garden and now I'm going to leave the mint (and other herbs) that are blooming in my garden as food for the bees.

Pass it on: There are other things I do and will be doing with the intention of Doing Good. Some of what I'll be doing I won't share here. But I do want to encourage you to think about what you are doing and what you'd like to do to tip the scales in favor of good and love and beauty and joy.

And finally, Gratitude: thank you for being here reading my words. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you to those of you who have taken my classes or purchased my art. I couldn't do what I do without you. But thank you, also, to those of you who silently sit at your computers (or tablets or phones) and read my words week after week. That you are here means so much to me.

Now go. Do some good.

dahlias, summer flowers, erlenmeyer flask, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

P.S. If you were moved by the beauty of the sunflowers from last week's post, you'll be even more moved to know that these flowers were planted as a tribute to a family's daughter who died in a car crash. This year's sunflowers are planted in a maze that's configured in Haley's signature.

*In one segment of my new Skillshare class we visit my garden looking for inspiration for our viola paintings. If you want a closer look, you might want to check it out.

**This is for personal use only. Thank you for respecting my artwork.


  1. Yes. I saw Jenine's post on Instagram and finally took the plunge and subscribed to Uppercase. Her values are so in synch with mine that I could no longer risk missing out on any more inspiration! I loved the link to the SPLC action list included in her #10thingsforgood. August continues to challenge me with a yellow jacket infestation in our house and the deer helping themselves to my indigo plants, (not to mention the news), but I am persisting. It's really the only thing I know how to do right now. Thanks for being here Anne. xo

    1. So glad you're now a subscriber and I do hope you enjoy the magazine. I always find it interesting and inspiring.

      Some days, weeks, months seem piled with challenges. Too bad we can't spread them out a little more evenly. I know that you're persisting, but I hope the scales tip back the other way soon.

      Sending gratitude and love your way.

  2. Hi Anne,
    Thank you for this post. Yes, this month of August listening to the news is not something I like to do. One thing after another. I do not listen to the news very often. We were away for a weekend and I saw the TV. ;-( Why ?? so much hate??
    Thank you for the inspiration.
    Thank YOU for the giveaway as well. I loved my package.

    1. I try to avoid the news, too, Carla. Can't even remember the last time I watched the news on TV (not having a TV can be a good thing), but I hear you about being away... sometimes it's unavoidable. I hope other than that you had a good time away. Why is a good question. Why can't we heal this broken world. Hate is never the answer.

      I'm so glad you loved the package. I loved sending it to you.

      Thanks for being here!


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