This morning I painted this happy butterfly. One of my favorite teachers is Anna Koliadych DearAnnArt. I first found her on Instagram, where she shares watercolor tutorials suitable for painters of all levels–especially kind to beginners like me. She breaks each project into steps, even explaining whether to add paint when the paper is wet or dry. Anna has a great variety of subjects including plants, foods, animals, and objects. I appreciate her willingness to share her art while encouraging others. Thanks, Anna!

Now about the butterfly; I know it’s a cliche, but whatever. This creature is one of my favorite symbols of accomplishment and purpose. As you know, a butterfly starts out all wormy and gravity bound–a caterpillar. Don’t get me wrong, caterpillars are cool–they’re furry and interesting and they tickle the palm of your hand if you’re brave enough to let them. But those butterflies!

On a recent trip to Montreal, Canada, my husband and I visited the botanical gardens, which included admission to the insectarium. I was skeptical, because most insects make me want to scream, flail my arms, and start stomping stuff. But they had butterflies. TONS of them! Talk about WONDER. We marveled at the variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. I found myself overwhelmed by the beauty, and I felt right at home next to tiny children–gasping and pointing and exclaiming. I love how children are notice-ers, and we could all learn a lot from them about paying attention.

The Butterfly Site is where I went to learn more about butterflies, and here’s my favorite fact: Most butterflies only live about a year–many of them less. Just think of all the hard work and beauty-making these creatures do in such a short time. Surely I have enough time to try a little beauty-making myself.

So I will.


I’m inspired by butterflies today, but I’m also encouraged (and amazed) by the work of an author and artist I’ve recently discovered, Lisa Congdon. Her book, A Glorious Freedom shares not only her own story–how she didn’t really get going on the career she loves until after she turned 40–but also the stories of many women (all over 40–some WAY over) who found their passion , and the freedom that goes with it, a little bit later in life. If you’re a woman, or really anyone who needs some inspiration, I highly recommend it. The words are uplifting and the artwork is a colorful reminder that if “over the hill” is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!

“And so here I go–here we all go–leaning toward our 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, hair graying, wrinkles gathering, experiences accruing, insights accumulating, joy abounding.” – Lisa Congdon, A Glorious Freedom




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