Introspection, Ebb and Flow, the Changing Season and Recent Art

I write in my journal (nearly) every morning. It's a ritual for me. Time to slow down and think about things or to clear my mind of chatter or worries so I can move on and focus on my day. I've always been a journal writer* and over these last few months my journal has been especially helpful. It's been a bit of a hard year for me and I finally am coming to an understanding of why (sometimes I think I'm a slow learner).

That my choice of words for the year included the word "nourish" should have given me a hint of what I needed this year.

The ideas of ebb and flow and balance have been concepts I've been struggling with (here, here, here). It's hard to be at peace during the "ebb", but getting comfortable with rest as part of the process of creativity is so important. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I struggle so much with winter, the earth's season of rest.

garden, summer, autumn, zinnias, lavender, flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

So many of you are looking forward to autumn, but I never like to let go of summer and all its bounty.

dahlias, flowers, pitcher, Fiesta Ware, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

There's still so much going on in the garden and looking through photos from past years gives me hope that the frost will hold off and the flowers and vegetables will keep going.

squash, squash flowers, butternut squash, gardening, summer, autumn, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm surprised every day by a new discovery. Like this late poppy blooming among all the seed pods:

poppies, Lauren's Grape Poppy, breadseed poppy, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's ok to be a late bloomer.

It's ok to be a slow learner.

It's ok to go with the ebb as well as the flow.

Savor both.

watercolor, painting, heirloom tomatoes, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Those tomatoes might end up in my 2018 calendar. I finally got around to working on it and now I'm excited. Stay tuned!

I'm also excited to say that my marigold painting will be on exhibit at this year's National Heirloom Expo this week (starting today!).

marigolds, orange marigolds, watercolor, botanical watercolor, painting, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

My painting is one of about 25 paintings curated by the Hudson Valley Seed Company in an exhibition put together in partnership with Baker Creek Seeds. If you'll be in Santa Rosa, California this week, go take a look!

Thank you to everyone who voted for my design in Spoonflower's Rustic Fall Design Challenge. I truly appreciate your encouragement and support!

fabric design, watercolor fabric design, surface pattern design, autumn, botanical watercolor, moths, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

There's still (a tiny bit of) time to vote if you haven't yet.

In other news, I've finally updated my Etsy shop with notecards and notebooks.

Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, products, notecards, Etsy

There are six sets of notecards ranging from a collection of 8 cards to a mini-collection of two.

Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, products, notecards, Etsy

I had the cards printed for a special request from one of my favorite customers and I figured I'd order enough to restock my shop, too.

Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, products, notecards, Etsy

They're printed by Moo and are really lovely in person. They come with brown kraft envelopes.

Making my customers happy truly brings me joy. Right now I'm working on a commission for a new customer that's also helping me get back into the flow of painting fish!

watercolor, painting, goldfish, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The timing is perfect because my next Skillshare class, planned for October, is all about painting watercolor goldfish. I haven't painted any in a long time. It's so different from my botanicals and it's been fun.

Ok, that's enough news for now.

I hope you have a wonderful week, that you're able to go with the flow (or the ebb) and savor life's beauties and joys.

*the little peek I gave of my newly rearranged studio a couple weeks back shows my journals on the top shelf. I just started Volume 40. The earliest book, with actual words -- I have a couple from when I was VERY young and couldn't yet write -- is from 1988. It has a lock, the first couple entries start "dear diary" and it's filled with silly things, many of which are about "boys".