Celebrating the Ephemeral and Nudging Your Creativity

The peonies in my garden came and went in a flash. We had a crazy heat spell just as they were opening and they didn't last. Before they disappeared I cut some and brought them up to my studio to paint.

painting process, beginnings, watercolor, botanical watercolor, peonies, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I didn't realize how long it was going to take me to finish the painting, that the flowers themselves would be a distant memory by the time I was done. But sometimes that's the way things go. I totally missed my chance with the bleeding hearts this year. Maybe I'll get to them next year.

Not everything in the garden passes so quickly. All the time I've been spending out there getting plants in place and growing sets me up for lots more painting subjects later in the summer. It's an investment in inspiration!

Spending weeks with this painting made the peonies last so much longer for me than they otherwise would have.

peonies, painting, watercolor, botanical painting, botanical watercolor, watercolor peonies, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And in the finished piece* they'll keep blooming and blooming.

That's one of the most joyful things about painting for me. It's always a celebration of the ephemeral.

Being out in the garden celebrates the ephemeral, too.

gardening, container gardening, greyhounds, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This year I'm especially aware of how fleeting the spring and summer months can be. How fleeting each bloom and fruit. I'm trying to pay attention to everything and savor all of this sweetness.

roses, John Davis Rose, Pink Roses, garden roses, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

My creative attention has all been directed OUTSIDE. And that's as it should be. For me, at least. I don't need any nudging, either. Except, perhaps a nudge to pick up my sketchbooks. My hands are usually too dirty to sketch while I'm out in the garden, but once a few more projects are done I hope to have cleaner hands.

gardening, garden projects, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Until then, I'm letting go of any feelings of obligation or guilt (for stowing all my sewing things back in the closet for now, for leaving my sketchbooks untouched on the shelf, for taking weeks to finish a painting) and savoring every moment spent in the garden or in my studio during this magical time of year.

art studio, artist studio, My Giant Strawberry, Anne Butera

I hope you are finding joyful outlets for your creativity. I'd love to hear what you've been up to, or if you're feeling a need for a little nudge. Have you been savoring the days, too?

*Love the peonies and want them blooming on your wall? Find the painting here in my shop.


  1. Hi Anne! Your peonies painting is stunning! As you say, in the finished piece they will keep on blooming. Your garden looks very organized with all the pots and that is a beautiful rose bush at the back. I've not spent too much time in the garden but I have plans on re-energizing the space with maybe a seated arbor and some new plants. I have been tidying and de-cluttering the house - still need to get on top of my creative space but I am slowly getting there. I am glad that you have been savoring the summer days. I may have a barbecue this weekend! :)

    1. Thank you, Simone. I have to laugh about my garden being well organized. I guess things aren't too wild quite yet, but eventually it always gets quite jungle-y. :)

      Sounds like you have some lovely plans for your garden. They're always a work in progress, aren't they? I hope you had and enjoyed your barbecue!

      Best of luck with your continued creative organization. I know what a big job it can be. Take your time and go easy on yourself. You'll get it all figured out.

      Have a lovely weekend!


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