Celebrating 2017

Last week I encouraged you to celebrate the wins of 2017 before we close the year.

instagram, best nine, #bestnine, #instagrambestnine, watercolor, painting, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

My post was a bit of a pep talk about letting go of self-criticism and comparison. Perhaps I gave that pep talk in part because I needed it, too.

flowers, amaryllis, houseplants, indoor gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm proud of what I accomplished this year. Here's some of it:
Botanica, Uppercase Publishing, Uppercase Encyclopedia of Inspiration, Anne Butera, Watercolor Painting, My Giant Strawberry
houseplant portraits, watercolor houseplant portraits, botanical watercolor, houseplants, begonias, watercolor begonias, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And personally, too:
cats, rescue cats, black and white cats, studio cats, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry
  • I rearranged my studio and repurposed/painted a "new" desk
  • I grew butternut squash for the first time and have a nice harvest stored in the basement to eat this winter
  • I painted the front door and shutters of our home a fun, joyful blue
  • I went on a vacation for the first time since we moved here
greyhounds, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, beach, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

All of these are very good things!

This past year was also a challenge for me. I never did get into a daily habit of working in my sketchbook. There were some goals I didn't reach. There were projects that didn't work out. There were failures and frustrations. I also struggled with a long creative slump. Ebbs and flows are a natural part of creativity and coming to terms with (and being patient through) ups and downs is important and is hard.

cats, rescue cats, black and white cats, art studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

In 2017 it felt as if I finally started to find my footing, my inspiration and my understanding once the summer was over. Looking back, I mourn a bit for the summer. For wasted time. Wasted opportunities (all those flowers I didn't paint!).

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

But I think some years are like that. Some years, although they don't necessarily contain personal sorrows or tragedies, are tricky nonetheless (I'm looking back at other, more difficult years... compared with them, this past year was a cinch!).

Maybe they are years of growth and understanding. Sometimes growth doesn't happen in a visible way. Sometimes growth is internal, hidden, quiet. I'm learning to accept that. Accept the ebbs and the quiet, internal development that happen before other kinds of more visible growth can occur.

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

My words for 2017 were Create and Nourish. I feel like I didn't do a very good job with them, like I hurtled through the year and the days flew by too fast for me to be fully present. I'm looking at words for 2018 that will help me to evolve and grow and slow things down a bit (whether or not that is truly possible, I do not know!). I want a word that is more open. Looser.

I have high hopes for 2018. I have ideas and plans. Among other things (as I mentioned the other day), there will be changes for this blog. I'd love to be able to say I have it all figured out, but I'll be honest and admit that this is still a work in progress.

watercolor, botanical watercolors, orange lipstick plant, houseplant, houseplant portrait, flowering houseplant, watercolor houseplant, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Thank you, 2017, for the gifts of insight that you've given me. And dear friends, thank you for being here. Thank you for encouraging me and supporting me. Thank you for coming along on this journey.

I'll be back in 2018! Until then, I wish each of you a peaceful, joyous end of the year. A happy Solstice and, if you celebrate it, a merry Christmas.

poinsettia, flowers, winter, pink poinsettia, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry


  1. Great post! I'm a new reader, but it looks like you had a lot of great accomplishments in 2017. I definitely needed to hear a reminder that creativity has its ups and downs. It's been tough for me to get back on that artistic "wavelength" again, but I know that I'm growing and this will pass. Best wishes to you for 2018!

    1. Hi, Megan, Thank you for being here! I am glad to know that my words and thoughts resonated with you. Sometimes it's hard to remember that all phases pass eventually. Here's to a wonderful 2018!

  2. Hi,
    Anne, another great post. I needed this today. I was feeling down about a few things regarding my business. I just can not seem to get it to take off the way I want it too. I only received one customer subscription for a Christmas gift. I thought more people would be interested in a flower subscription. I wonder if I got the word out enough. My husband said I did. He reminds me "it takes time, Carla." I also live in an area where knowing where your flowers come from and food is not a big deal to many of the population.
    You inspired me.
    And I AM VERY GRATEFUL for the one subscription. I guess, I just thought there were would be more.
    I am rambling.
    I need to remember I am growing, and it will happen at the right time, maybe not at my time.
    Love to you Anne,

    1. Hi, Carla! I'm so glad that my words were just what you needed. It can be so hard to be patient with ourselves as we pursue our dreams. Everything takes time. We don't always meet our goals, but it also helps to look at what success means for us. Evaluate our goals not with numbers but with value (for ourselves and our customers). Be patient with your growth. You'll get where you need to go!

      Wishing you joy and a wonderful 2018!

      Love to you, too, sweet Carla!

  3. Happy Christmas Anne. I cannot wait to see how your blog evolves over the coming year. In my eyes you have had a year of great accomplishments. Work on that self belief and you will fly high! :)

    1. Hi, Simone! Merry Christmas to you. I am glad that 2017 was a good year for you as well. Thank you for still being here reading! I know you're very busy! I hope to get back to reading my favorite blogs in the coming days.

      Wishing you all the best in 2018!!

  4. You accomplished so much in 2017!
    (It will be fun to see where 2018 takes you (or where you take 2018!)

    1. Thank you so much, Karen! It always brings me so much joy to know you're here cheering me on!

      Wishing you a wonderful, creative and joy filled 2018!


  5. What a wonderful year you've had, full of accomplishments and fun. You've met challenges and made the most of them. I am looking forward to seeing what you do creatively in 2018. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Sharon. It's always nice to look back on the year with fresh eyes (letting go of any critical thoughts) and then we can see how much we really did accomplish.

      Thanks for being here. :)

      Wishing you a wonderful 2018! I'm sure you have some wonderful things in store for you!

  6. Happy New Year, dear Anne!!

    You achieved a lot in 2017, looking forward to seeing your creativity grow more and more in the new year!

    Wish you lots of happiness and satisfaction!

    1. Hi, Laura! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your sweet comment. It was so nice to catch up with what you'd been up to. Your 2017 was very full too!

      Wishing you a joyful, healthy and creative 2018!


Post a Comment